Jackson McDonald continues his journey into the depths of hell—or Florida, as it’s more commonly known—this week, and this author is back for another Chris Levesque-style emergency fill-in.
Speaking of inadequate replacements, we’re here today to talk about the pressbox. Specifically, how the Vancouver Canucks should handle their extraneous roster players in the 2019/20.
Previously, the Canucks employed a standard of having two extra defenseman and one extra forward on their 23-person roster—something that has been necessitated by the team’s oft-injured blueline—but that could change.
The Canucks have a glut of forwards already, and Jim Benning and Co. could avoid a difficult decision up front by running a roster with two extra forwards and only one extra defenseman—though that’s not great news for one of Oscar Fantenberg and Alex Biega.
A handful of teams around the league will even run 22- or 21-man rosters in 2019/20 in order to beat the cap crunch—though that’s likely not a factor for the Canucks after Brock Boeser came in under-market.
What would you do with the Canucks’ 2019/20 pressbox crew?
Two forwards and one defenseman?
Two defenseman and one forward?
Or something else altogether?
Last week, we asked: What would you do with Chris Tanev’s expiring contract in 2019/20? Offer an extension, seek a trade, or wait things out?
My ideal scenario for Tanev is that he has an injury-free first few months, put up some sold defence while partnered with Hughes, and then is traded around Christmas. Draft pick would be good, but I think JB will hold out for either a drafted player or one who is stuck behind because of team depth.
Tanev didn’t have as bad of a season as it appears. He and Edler were the shut-down defensemen, playing against the best opposition lines. And Tanev had 62.5% defensive zone starts.
So, he’s still got it—and if the Canucks want to make a run at the playoffs then they’ll need him for the entire season. But for Gaud’s sake, bench him if he ever tries to block a shot side-on again.
Where’s the Tanev we knew and loved? I would have traded him for a first rounder back when that was an option, but that ship has sailed.
He’s not that old, so I think you have to play him this season and see what you’ve got. If he stays healthy and regains his form, I think you face a very difficult decision—but this time you pull the trigger if your top-4 has shown that they don’t absolutely need a healthy Tanev to try for the playoffs.
If we wait until the Trade Deadline, don’t be shocked if he’s hurt again. If he can string 30 good games together, I think you have to trade him and look to the future.
I would do nothing at the moment. I still believe Tanev can get his game back together. Maybe not to “prime” Tanev levels, but to his usual solid “taking away pucks and preventing scoring chances” ways.
It’s always about measuring values. If his value is as low as everyone is claiming, then there is absolutely no point in trading him because the value he will provide to the team is higher than what would be returned. This is the same as when people were saying that he should have been traded for a single first round pick two or three years ago. Nonsense. Two or three years ago he was worth more than a single first round pick and that would have been a stupid trade to make in my opinion.
Let him get his game together the first half of this season and then reassess. If a trade offer come sin that is worth the value he’s providing at the time and looks like he could give over the period of an extension, then trade him.
If the trade value returned is low ball or insulting then re-sign him. Should be easy at this point to get him at a reduced rate which could end up being a huge win.
And if he continues to struggle and gets passed on the team by someone better—unlikely—then simply take what you can get or let him walk as a UFA at the end of the year.
I don’t think the Canucks will have the cap space in the coming years to sign Tanev. I would likely trade Tanev at the Trade Deadline if he has value on the market. I can see that not happening if they are in a playoff race and have injuries.
In an ideal situation, Tanev has a good and healthy season approaching the Trade Deadline so he has value. A healthy D-corps and Juolevi’s play/development justifies making room to call him up from Utica. I believe Benn had better stats playing the right side than left in Montreal last year. Then Benn switches sides and plays with Juolevi. Injuries by Tanev or other D, poor play by Juolevi, and/or a playoff race may make all this a moot point.
Move Sutter for a RHD on a similar contract—one or two years at $4-5 million. Then ship Tanev out for a depth center with one year left on his $2-4 million contract. I don’t see teams willing to take a shot on Sutter for two years but might have positional need and too many contracts on D. Tanev, on the other hand, is a useful player at a premium position.
For example: send Sutter to Edmonton for Russell. Then send Tanev to NY Rangers for Namestnikov.
Chris Tanev has been one of the unsung heroes on this team during the quagmire years of this rebuild. He has saved games time and again, and has been “the” guy to point to when coaches want the team to play defense. Having said that, it seems we Canucks fans see that—and yet the value he brings seems lost on other teams. Perhaps we haven’t moved him due to the gross lack of RHD depth we have lived with for years.
So, we really need to see how things unfold this season to properly answer this question. Will other people step up and be a defensive anchor? Will this lead to a better/ healthier season for Tanev? Will he have and what value will he have on the market? Will that be worth as much/more than we would get by keeping him?
We know his value is low due to his injury history. I’m very curious to see how he plays with Hughes. His game is the perfect complement to Hughes’. Suggest Travis Green plays the two of them together. If Tanev stays healthy and his value increases, move him at the deadline for picks. If his bad injury luck continues, play the season out and attempt to sign him to a contract in the low $2 million range.
Tanev provides a steady—albeit underwhelming—game that could pair well with any of the current D on the roster. I don’t think the trade return would be enough to justify trading him at this point. If he delivers his steady play in the first 20 games, it would be wise to re-sign him instead of overpaying to find his replacement.
Tanev is a situation in which you have to see how things play out. If Tanev is healthy, Jett Woo has a very good year, and the Canucks are in a playoff race, I could see them keeping Tanev and letting him walk.
My philosophy has always been you never trade or let a veteran player walk unless you have another younger player on the team who is ready to take over the veteran’s role and minutes—or the return for trading said veteran is too good to walk away from. Even though Tanev’s game is starting to fall off as a result of the numerous injuries over the years, he is still a steady stay-at-home top-4 defenseman that will be a perfect partner for Hughes or any other young defender the Canucks have. Unless the Canucks are blown away by an offer, they should make every effort to keep Tanev in the picture.
Tanev has been my favorite player for many years now. Previously, it was Alex Burrows. So, it is with a heavy heart that I would say trade him now. He is healthy and has as much trade value as he’s going to get on the trade market. As the season progresses, I expect him to breakdown again and become untradeable. We can better use his cap space to complete a deal with Brock Boeser, and it would allow for other young players like Biega, Fantenberg, or Juolevi to play. Tanev has been a warrior but his skills are deteriorating and he has become too fragile. Hopefully, we can get a second round pick for him, but I would take a third round pick at this point.
Pair him with Hughes and see how the season goes.