Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Lineups, Reply Guys, and the Return of Drance

So much has been made of the need to get Bo Horvat a winger for the past couple of years that I find it difficult to imagine Miller starting anywhere other than on his wing. Long-term, I think the team will see more success with him as the third line centre, allowing the team to finally join the rest of the league in the 21st century and get scoring from their entire top nine.

Here’s what I expect the opening night lineup to look like (assuming Eriksson is either traded or waived and no additional trades are made):

Ferland – Pettersson – Boeser

Miller – Horvat – Pearson

Baertschi – Sutter – Roussel

Motte – Beagle – Leivo

Here’s what my opening night lineup would look like:

Goldobin – Petterson – Boeser

Baertschi – Horvat – Pearson

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Ferland – Miller – Roussel

Virtanen – Beagle – Leivo

Yes and no. The comparison is fair, (both were perceived as being good at scouting, but not much else,) but the circumstances are different. For one, Benning’s Canucks made the playoffs in his first year as GM, and the Wild didn’t last season. The attitude surrounding both men in their home markets has differed, too. Minnesota is seen as a team spinning their wheels, with no direction, while the disposition of the fans and media in Vancouver is much sunnier and optimistic. That matters just as much, if not more than the actual decisions that were made by the two men during their tenures as GMs of their respective teams.

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The only players I know for certain I couldn’t turn down in trade for Elias Pettersson are Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, Jack Eichel, and Rasmus Dahlin, because they are the only players I can say with some level of certainty should be both likely to be demonstrably more valuable than Pettersson over the course of their careers and young enough to still be in their prime when the Canucks finally round the corner towards playoff contention. There are other players out there, but these are the only players I would feel confident saying “yes” to without much thought.

I think a lot of people like JD, it’s just that he’s a polarizing figure and the most vocal people you see are always going to be the people who dislike someone. He also says a lot of things he knows will piss a lot of people off, and the mob responds about the way you’d expect them to. The fact that he’s landed himself a full-time gig as the managing editor of Elite Prospects should be an indication that he gets plenty of love.

It depends on the parameters. Do we have to factor in age, position, or health? Are we talking “best” as in “most talented” or “most valuable”? What I can say is that, when healthy, these are the three players that I think are the league’s biggest difference-makers:

  1. Connor McDavid
  2. Sidney Crosby
  3. Erik Karlsson

Considering how much he’s raised his profile over the past few years, and the fact that he already had a gig as a contributor for Rogers Sportsnet at the time of his departure, I’d say returning to CanucksArmy would be a massive step down for Thom, much as I’d love to see it happen. My guess is he takes a full-time media gig, perhaps returning to Sportsnet or joining the Athletic; but I haven’t heard anything.

What I would go with:

Edler – Myers

Hughes – Stecher

Benn – Tanev

What will actually happen:

Edler – Tanev

Hughes – Myers

Benn – Stecher

To be honest, even if something like this would be fair value, (I really, really like Ty Smith as a prospect,) trading Quinn Hughes would completely defeat the purpose of getting rid of Eriksson’s contract. Making sure there’s enough cap space for Pettersson and Hughes extensions is the whole reason fans are so concerned about Eriksson’s contract in the first place.

Jake Virtanen is far and away the most obvious candidate, considering how much of an overlap their is between reply guys and DM sliders, and the fact that a bunch of his most recent tweets literally are replies. I also get serious reply guy vibes from Quinn Hughes, though I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Adam Gaudette is a possibility, too; although I’d say he’s more of a “create dozens of alts for the purpose of harassing and/or doxxing people you don’t agree with” kind of guy.

What I can say for certain is that Alex Edler is definitely not a reply guy. He has almost certainly never used twitter and probably doesn’t even reply to people when they talk to him in real life.

  • arjay

    I see you have Roussel in both of your opening night roster lists, Jackson. I understand Roussel is likely to be placed on LTIR reserve to start the season and likely not to play until December.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    Jackson, I actually mostly like your lineups, but would remind you that Roussel is hurt to start the year. For all the flak Goldobin has taken, it’s worth seeing if a year of hard knocks and a summer of hard work could get him to a place where he finally takes the next step. The chemistry he had last year with EP was real and worth trying to duplicate. I think it would also be worth testing out Baertschi with Miller and Virtanen on a 3rd line, and seeing where Baer and Ferland find the most chemistry. I strongly agree that Miller as a 3rd line C is an excellent idea, in that it ends this ridiculous concept of sending out half of your forward corps without much expectation of scoring. Sutter can be the 4th line C with Beagle and Leivo or whatever if you need to have a “checking” line.

  • J-Canuck

    Miller needs to be on the top line with EP and Brock. His passing ability will take their one timers to another level.
    That will give Canucks a true first line. Ferland would be good in the corners and in front of the net, but Millers passing is the big difference

    • DeL

      I’d like to see Gaudette with Virtanen and possibly Leivo. Play them awhile together see if there’s any chemistry. Gaudette wants to be better and is willing to work for it unlike Goldobin who doesn’t seem to have the drive or the defensive acumen to be anything more than what he already is.

  • Kanuckhotep

    It’s great now to have the option of having either Miller or Ferland line up with Petey and Brock, advantages such as the Canucks have not had for many years. Miller is a playmaker type more and Ferland a grinder so the choice is Coach Green’s to make. For scoring it should be Miller but to stop people manhandling Petey Ferland would serve a valuable purpose too. I lean towards J.T. but in any event there is much to look forward to in the fall.

  • J-Canuck

    As far as JT playing 3rd line center???
    Don’t think the Canucks gave up a #1 pick for a third line center. It was to make a true #1 line.
    Millers flexibility adds depth. Hopefully Gaudette starts in Utica and can come up later if and when Sutter gets traded or hurt and show more offense.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      The whole point is to have actual good players on your “3rd” line such that you don’t need to bury them. Miller as the C there means you can roll 3 lines that have the potential to score. That’s been a recent formula for success that most teams that aren’t the Canucks have stuck to. The idea that your 3rd and 4th line are checkers and grinders is hopelessly old fashioned and went out of style around when Travis Green retired. Coincidence…you decide.

  • bobdaley44

    You lost me at Karlsson being third best. Sorry but he isn’t even in the top three D in the league. Doughty is way better. Where’s MacKinnon? Not trading Petey for Matthews or Eichel. Eichel’s a cancer and Matthews doesn’t play near the 200 ft game Petey does.

    • Cageyvet

      I’m not trading him for anyone but McDavid, which isn’t going to happen. Trading for Dahlin just opens up yet another hole in top line center, why bother? I’m not convinced Dahlin will be better at his position than Patterson is at center. The rest are not even worth considering, if he continues to live up to his early potential, they are lateral moves and I love Petey’s drive and compete level. You just don’t move this type of player, you lock him up long-term and build around him. The kid’s a winner.

  • crofton

    “He also says a lot of things he knows will piss a lot of people off, and the mob responds about the way you’d expect them to.” That’s the most Trumpian thing you have written (that I have seen). Because the only ones that disagree with Burke are part of the mob….in other words…idiots, or low lifes. There you go…from some one from the mob.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      Go grab a beer with J-Canuck the newb and Gino’s 4th sister and you can all gripe about ‘realists’ in the media who despite their apparent slanted views contrary to Bennings army of delusional sunshine, rainbows and unicorn tools, are somehow respected enough to earn praise from other media and move on up to the Eastside. Sheesh…