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Photo Credit: © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

WWDYW: Jay Beagle

It’s no secret that the weakest link on this current edition of the Vancouver Canucks is their fourth line. As a unit, the Canucks’ bottom-three forwards have been getting buried at five-on-five – something that the team has been able to hide for much of the season, but that becomes painfully obvious in situations like the recent two-game Florida debacle.

Much of the fourth line’s woes come down to the man at the literal center of it all – Jay Beagle.

There are only four regular skaters in the entire NHL that have worse possession stats than Beagle – rocking a 37.21% Corsi For as of this writing – and three of them play for the Winnipeg Jets. The other is Micheal Haley.

Last season, this author made the argument in Beagle’s year-end assessment that certain numbers backed up the notion that his contributions were underrated, but it’s become almost impossible to make that decision in 2019/20.

With Brandon Sutter due to return sometime before the Trade Deadline, the Canucks might have the option to shuffle Beagle right out of the lineup if they so choose – but that would create controversy given Beagle’s salary, and there’s still his importance to the penalty kill to consider.

With all that in mind, this week we’re asking:

What would you do with Jay Beagle?

 

Last week, we asked:

What would you do with Chris Tanev? Extend, trade, or let go?

And your responses are below!

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Killer Marmot:

(Author’s note: This appears to be written in some sort of programming code, so the wonky grammar is kept intact)

If (Eriksson & Baertschi contracts unloaded)

{ Offer to re-sign Tanev for three years at $4 million / year with NTC; }

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else

{ Thank him for his services; }

 

bushdog:

Same deal as Edler. These two have basically been all the D we’ve had for years. Hughes is dynamic because he can trust Tanev. Tanev is healthy because he’s no longer asked to face the top line every shift.

Does anybody record blocked shots? He has to be near the top. The same fools screeching about dumping Edler are the same ones screeching about Tanev. Hey! Great idea! Let’s dump our two best D and gut the back end…to be replaced by whom? Two B-grade ‘maybe’ players? Ever notice who wears the ‘A’ on this team?

 

Jabs:

This is pretty tough because if the Canucks are still in the playoff hunt by the TDL then they will most certainly want to keep Tanev. This kind of thing was what plagued the early-2000s Canucks, as they were often a fringe team back then and chose to hold onto expiring contracts and trade assets for rental players (Eric Weinrich, ugghh).

Hopefully the team looks deep into themselves and decides to trade Tanev at the TDL. They need the cap space badly. Albeit, I recognize that Tanev is still a useful player but will he still be in a few years when this team really starts to look like a contender? I would make a trade and try to capitalize on a deal that will help this team when they need it most, as opposed to trying to squeak into the playoffs now.

 

argoleas:

(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)

Since, as a Canucks GM, I would be facing the same pressure to make the playoffs as the current one, then I can’t just default to “sell him!” But, I would push back hard on just using him as an own-rental. So, if the idea is to extend him for another four years having internal information that his current healthy play is legit and sustainable, then sure. I like his synergy with Hughes, and this pair could be a very good one for years. Whatever Hughes needs, he gets.

 

speering major:

(Author’s note: What are you going to write about for “WWYDW Troy Stecher?”)

Offer him a three-year, team-friendly deal

NMC for the Expansion Draft and limited-NTC for the remainder.

I think the team should move on from Stecher. It’s not that I don’t like him or that he’s not good, he’s just a decent third pairing guy that they don’t need to commit to and that has market value. The org needs to make room for guys like O.J., Rafferty, Tryamkin, Woo, Rathbone, etc. Guys like Benn and Fantenberg can always plug a short-term hole left by Stecher if the prospects don’t emerge. Stetcher isn’t much of a gap up from proven guys willing to take a one-year deal, etc.

Stecher should fetch a decent extension, but I don’t think that fits the Canucks situation so it’s probably best for both sides to move on, IMO. I’d actually like to see JB swap Stecher for someone like Hainsey/Bogosian at the deadline, who won’t hurt the team depth but provide roster and salary flexibility at the end of this season

There are questions around Tanev’s ability to stay healthy, but his level of play suggests he’s a top-four D and should stay that way for the next three seasons. If his play drops off to third pairing in his final year, it’s not the end of the world.

 

Hockey Bunker:

A reasonable deal at current money, maximum for three years.

But if the team is tanking in early February, then they will trade Tanev and Stecher for picks or the elusive top-six winger.

 

truthseeker:

I’ve never wanted him traded, unless it was such a ridiculous offer, obviously. I would for sure bring him back. He’s got many good years left in him – easy. Especially as the team improves and he doesn’t have to be the guy who’s constantly, in Kevin Bieksa’s words “Eating Ovechkin one-timers”. As mentioned in an article here that I can’t remember, I don’t think it’s a coincidence his healthy play has come with the team being better.

Letting Hamhuis walk was a mistake. I can’t say it was Benning bowing to the constant fan pressure to “clear out the veterans for picks” crowd, but he did ultimately make that choice and it was wrong.

And trading Tanev for anything other than a very good return, would be a similar mistake.

Plus, I believe the Canucks could re-sign him for fair term and dollars. Three years with a slight bump up to $5 million per seems fair for both sides.

 

Defenceman Factory:

I don’t think the Canucks really have a choice but to re-sign Tanev and beg for a hometown discount. Tanev is still a very good defenceman. With their sights set on the playoffs this year and next, I don’t see options to replace Tanev with anyone of his calibre for close to what he is likely to cost.

It didn’t have to be this way. Last summer, Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju both got moved for relatively low costs. I was disappointed the Canucks didn’t land one of those guys. Having some organizational depth at RD could have allowed Tanev to be used as a very valuable trade chip.

 

Dirk22:

If the Canucks have visions of becoming a contender in the next few years, there will have to be bold moves to acquire some D-men. Despite the value they bring right now, continuing to rely on an aging Tanev and Edler is not going to do it. This should have been addressed three years ago.

 

J-Canuck:

Given the injury history and team cycle, a shorter-term team-friendly deal is the only play. Tanev has played well and there is no immediate replacement. Jett Woo is a few years from contributing and Troy Stecher hasn’t gained the team’s confidence enough to replace Tanev. Seems to me, Troy will be traded and Tanev re-signed, a la Ben Hutton for similar cap reasons.

 

Burnabybob:

I always said they should have traded Tanev a few years ago, before his limited-NTC kicked in and his value was higher. But don’t think it’s really worth trading Tanev at this point, given that the team is fighting for a playoff spot and he’s playing good hockey. I guess it depends on how much it will cost to extend him, though. If they can sign him for a reasonable amount (comparable to his current salary) prior to the trade deadline, I would do it. If they aren’t likely to extend him, I would at least explore the trade market for him. It would be tough to lose Tanev for nothing.