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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag Part 2: Bargain Brock’s Bonus ‘Bag

Jackson McDonald makes his glorious return next week, and we want to give him a proverbial clean sheet of ice—so please enjoy this mid-week bonus mailbag featuring all the questions we didn’t have time to get to before.

The first part of this question is now moot, but let’s tackle that last bit. I’ve let it be known already that I think the Canucks are capable of snagging a playoff spot in 2019/20—though a lot will have to go right in order for that to happen, particularly when it comes to injuries.

As for leaving the first round, I think that might be a bridge too far as far as next season is concerned. Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but I just don’t see them going into a series as anything other than an underdog anytime soon.

Two very different players with two very different answers.

Loui Eriksson won’t be traded anytime soon. If he was going to be moved, it was going to happen in the offseason—nobody is adding him to the picture on the cusp of opening night. I could, however, absolutely see Eriksson being demoted at the conclusion of training camp—Travis Green has recently proven that he’s a man of his word.

Brandon Sutter will not be demoted, nor should he be. He’s probably not worth his current contract, but Sutter is still a competent NHL player. There are rumours that Jim Benning is exploring a trade to move out salary in the bottom-six—and that has Sutter written all over it. There’s still a lot of old-school general managers out there, and the Sutter name still carries some serious cachet—who knows, there could be a market for him.

I’d take the under on this one. I believe both that Loui Eriksson just doesn’t have it in him anymore to outplay the many other wingers he’s competing for a job with and that Travis Green will keep his promise to demote underperforming veterans.

That being said, the Canucks brass would absolutely love if Eriksson performed well enough in training camp to justify a roster spot.

First and foremost, the team would suspend Loui Eriksson without pay. This would remove Eriksson’s cap hit for the length of the suspension, which would be indefinite. The team could also choose to void the contract and Eriksson wouldn’t have much incentive to contest it—after all, he wouldn’t be receiving money from that contract at that point.

Not sure if Zack MacEwen still counts as a dark horse, but he’d be the best pick. MacEwen looked great in the preseason game against Edmonton, and he brings a lot of unique attributes to the table that are perfect for a fourth line assignment.

Beyond MacEwen, let’s go with Landon Ferraro and Brogan Rafferty. With Ferraro, I just think he has a better chance of earning a contract with Vancouver than most would assume—though I think he’d be signed and then sent down to Utica. Rafferty, on the other hand, has played his way into the discussion for the 7th or 8th blueline spot with his performance thus far—and he might just unseat Alex Biega.

I think the strategy this training camp has been to take a bit of pressure off Olli Juolevi by discussing his demotion as if it were a foregone conclusion due to his recovery. Jim Benning was talking about Juolevi starting with Utica before he even arrived in Victoria, and now it sounds like he won’t be appearing in any preseason games—and maybe that’s for the best. There really isn’t a spot for Juolevi on the blueline at the moment, and he’ll go straight to the Comets’ top pairing.

 

17 forwards isn’t doable, but I’m quite sure you meant to ask about 15 forwards—as in the team carrying three extra forwards and no extra defensemen on their 23-person roster.

It’s an idea that has some appeal to the Canucks who will have to make some difficult decisions at forward regarding players like Zack MacEwen, Nikolay Goldobin, and Tyler Motte. Theoretically, the Canucks could avoid a painful demotion at forward by running with no extra defenders—but then you’re left with Jay Beagle on the blueline whenever Chris Tanev pulls up lame in warmup. It’s not a wise move for any NHL team, much less Vancouver.

I’d be quite hesitant to pull the trigger on this trade for three main reasons.

Firstly, I’m a bit more of an intangibles aficionado than some of my CanucksArmy colleagues—and Brock Boeser is doing laps around Patrik Laine when it comes to character. Laine is the superior player at this juncture—though the gap isn’t as large as some might say—but he’s clearly got some personal baggage. Boeser, on the other hand, is about as fantastic a teammate as one could ask for.

Secondly, Laine has already demonstrated some serious consistency issues early in his career, and I’m not entirely convinced he can bounce back to his previous production levels. I think there’s a decent chance he’s already had the best goal-scoring seasons of his career.

Thirdly, Jett Woo is awesome. He’s tracking toward being a top-four defenseman for the Canucks, and I for one can’t wait to see him there. He’ll be a new fan favourite just as the Rogers Arena faithful have started to take Elias Pettersson’s majesty for granted.

Great question, thanks for asking. I’ve heard a lot of folks in the fandom referring to the Canucks’ newest signee as “Bargain” Brock Boeser—and I think that’s the kind of moniker that has at least three years worth of staying power.

There’s been a big push from the Okanagan to get “Bogopogo” Horvat going, but I just don’t think it’s got legs.

Two of the new guys actually come off pretty well in terms of traditional hockey nicknames—Micheal “Ferby” Ferland and Jordie “Bennder” Benn. “Millsy,” on the other hand, just sounds ridiculous.

I Googled it, and it looks like they do. If you’re wondering why it looks like they’re waddling around, it’s because their knees are hidden by their feathers. Turns out, penguins are way leggier than you knew.

I’d like to take this opportunity, however, to segue into a rant about how people don’t talk enough about the role current Penguin Evgeni Malkin played in shortening Willie Mitchell’s time in Vancouver—or how Malkin is low-key one of the dirtiest players in the NHL. Malkin should still be getting booed regularly at Rogers Arena.

That’s right, we’re ending the Bonus ‘Bag with a non sequitur shot at a future Hall of Famer—and we stand by that decision.