Welcome back on this historical day to CanucksArmy What Would You Do Wednesdays. We like to think that every Wednesday is a special one, but the October 9, 2019 edition promises to be even more special than the rest—because it’s the day on which Bo Horvat will be named as the next captain of the Vancouver Canucks.
Horvat’s ascendency marks the first clear direction for the Canucks’ leadership cohort since Henrik Sedin retired in 2017—and it will likely be the first of many changes to the team’s overall assemblage of captains. While Horvat is presumably sticking around for the long-haul, all three of his current alternate captains—Brandon Sutter, Chris Tanev, and Alex Edler—don’t project to be with the organization any longer than two more seasons at the most. That means that—sooner rather than later—Vancouver’s leadership group will soon be on the lookout for some fresh recruits.
The fanbase was more-or-less united in its desire for a Horvat captaincy, but it’s expected that picking out the next round of “A”s will be a more controversial process. With that in mind, this week we’re asking:
What would you do with the Canucks’ leadership group moving forward?
Who would you select as alternate captains once Alex Edler, Brandon Sutter, and Chris Tanev move on?
Last week, we asked:
What would you do with Sven Baertschi now?
(Following his passing through waivers).
Reading between the lines a bit—okay, a lot—it may be that management could not in good conscience play Baertschi at the start the season. They have a responsibility to ensure that players are physically and mentally prepared for the NHL. If they think a player is tentative and spooked due to past injuries, placing him in the AHL until full confidence returns is the proper course.
If that is what happened then keep Baertschi in Utica until he seems like his younger self, chomping at the bit to step on NHL ice. Then see about assembling a true scoring third line.
Look, Benning says he tried to trade Sven but there were no takers, if that’s the case then he probably knew he could squeeze him through waivers. The most alarming thing in all of this is Green looks to be running the bottom-six as two defensive lines and not the one scoring, one checking line that was a popular choice with this site. If the offence struggles out of the gate and the bottom-six look like the last four years, maybe Benning and Green shake things up and send the underachievers to Utica.
Baertschi is a goal scorer and could probably play on the top two lines, but, with the addition of Ferland and Miller during the off season, he’s the odd man out. Yes, they could put him on the 3rd line but Green wants a line that can score and also be grinders. He wants a line that he can put out against the other team’s top line. Baertschi is not a grinder and his defensive skills are, at best, average. Once again, he is the odd man out. Part of the problem may also be his history of concussions which has made him a bit tentative.
At some point during the season, a forward on the top two lines will get injured and he will be brought back up. Hopefully, he will impress other teams and this will allow him to be traded. Unfortunately, I don’t think Baertschi will remain with the Canucks long term and once a lot of teams iron their cap issues out he will be traded.
With the Canucks’ injury history, he rates to be back in Vancouver soon enough and should regain his timing and be effective if healthy.
The team can hope to get value out of him either on the ice or by trade. If he stays relatively healthy, including being free of further concussion symptoms, and plays well he might gain enough value to be worth trading at the deadline in 2020 if the Canucks are in a position to be sellers. With his concussion history he isn’t likely to be in the Canucks’ long term plans but might be worth something to a team looking to improve their chances of success in the short term.
His contract may make a trade for value next to impossible until the 2020 deadline, when he could have some value as a rental.
I was against the demotion at first, but clearing waivers presents an opportunity to for Sven to play big minutes and really get his game going.
Once the injuries hit, he will hopefully rejoin the big club with a fire under him.
Right now, who would you take out of the top-six to make room for Sven? There is an argument that he is an offensive fit on the third line, but that is it. He won’t get PP minutes and he doesn’t kill penalties. Reduced third or fourth line minutes are best reserved for a player that can play special teams.
The team is better off having a player in Utica that can step into the top-six immediately. Sure Sven’s pride was hit, but work your way back to the big club and produce. The spot will be yours.
Be patient. If his health proves to be a non-issue, he will be back in the NHL by November 15, either with Vancouver or another NHL team. Here’s to hoping his health prevails and he makes it back soon.
I think Baer will either be dominant for the Comets then get called up and be a difference maker for the Nucks…or he’ll have another concussion and retire.
I wonder if Sven getting sent down perhaps means they want to run with two more defensive lines, and if so, now that we have the players in the stable to actually run with 3 offensive lines, if that means they are still a little worried about the defense being a little loose in our own end, thus needing a little more help from the forwards. Ultimately, if this is the case, Sven still seems like a better choice to keep up than Jake right now, but, y’know, asset management. But, I guess it would still make sense to send Gaudette down. IDK. I think it is a lost opportunity to see the awesome chemistry blossom between him and Gaudette on the third line, and y’know what? I’d put Loui on it, too, just to add in some of the little things!
As the team gets deeper at different positions those who did an okay job before will be challenged. Sven has been good for the Canucks but isn’t a big winger who can skate, battle hard in the corners, and use their body to wear down defensemen. Fans wanted the Canucks to get bigger and that is what is happening.
Call him back up immediately. Send down Schaller. Scratch Sutter. Play the following top-nine:
Ferland – Pettersson – Boeser
Pearson – Horvat – Miller
Baertschi – Gaudette – Leivo
Eriksson – Beagle – Virtanen
Then rejoice that your team has more than two lines that have the potential to score goals.
Many people think Baertschi is a good player even a top-six. If that was the case ,he would’ve been snapped up off of waivers in a heartbeat. Come on, a top-six forward at $3.3 mil. What a bargain, and any team would take that, if it were true. The problem is that he has always been weak in the corners, easily pushed off the puck, and only produces with Horvat, but Horvat does better with all other players. He is Gagner 2.0, decent on a powerplay, but nothing else. He is the typical player that disappears in the playoffs. No need to be wasting time building chemistry when he will be scratched in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, it means that Baertschi isn’t tradeable without either a reduction in salary, or additional enticement. However, so long as he is not injured, he is a decent player. So, you keep him and do the call up once someone gets injured. Simple … keep him.