A year ago, the Vancouver Canucks’ greatest weakness was probably their defense corps. Flash forward to 2020, and suddenly the blueline is looking a little crowded.
— Randip Janda (@RandipJanda) January 20, 2020
Fans and management have made it clear that they want to re-sign Chris Tanev. None of Quinn Hughes, Alex Edler, or Tyler Myers are going anywhere. Oscar Fantenberg has been a revelation, and there’s even talk of the impending return of Nikita Tryamkin.
All of which might result in Richmond’s hometown hero, Troy Stecher, being on the outside looking in.
At one point in the not-so-distant past, parting with Stecher would have been unthinkable – what with his local connections and meteoric rise from undrafted free agent to top-six defender. But Stecher’s performance has leveled off of late, he doesn’t seem to have the full confidence of coach Travis Green, and he’s in line for a raise that the Canucks might not be able to afford.
With all the chatter surrounding Stecher’s departure, it’s almost become a question of when – not if – he leaves Vancouver. There’s even been talk of him being traded for an upgrade at the 2020 Trade Deadline, but an offseason move seems more likely. It’s also entirely possible that Stecher is allowed to walk without a qualifying offer in the summer, just like Ben Hutton last year.
But that’s not for us to decide, that’s for you to decide! Because this week, we’re asking:
What would you do with Troy Stecher?
Last week, we asked:
What would you do with Jay Beagle?
Your responses are below!
I think Beagle could use Sutter on his wing. Yes, both of them have salaries that won’t make anyone happy, but if they are more effective? Sutter was playing well before the injuries. Also, when Ferland comes back a better player can be dropped to shore up the fourth line. Might be a salary cap nightmare, but dropping Loui back down with Sutter and Beagle will tighten the fourth line up.
Clearly, the rope-a-dope strategy is not paying off for the fourth line. But Gaudette’s strong play on the third line and the Canucks’ current depth opens up possibilities, so exploit that…
- A) Move Schaller to the press box and replace him with Baertschi, Boucher, Goldobin, MacEwen, Jasek, or especially Ferland when he returns.
- B) Make Sutter the fourth centre when he returns and move Beagle to the wing. Beagle can still take faceoffs. His 59% average will still be useful.
I think Beagle must be playing with an injury. It’s not like he’s an Eriksson-type player whose goal-scoring has fallen off; he was brought in to be a fourth line energy guy who is defensively responsible and can win faceoffs. He was generally that player last year. I think he’s come back too quickly and is playing hurt. His speed is down, but more importantly he’s making poor decisions inside the defensive zone.
As a group the fourth line is looking so much worse the last 10-15 games, not because they’re not generating shots (they’re not) but because they are spending extended periods in their own zone. They keep reversing it or throwing it into the corner where they really should just put it off the glass and out.
I think Beagle needs a break; if/when Sutter ever comes back he should be rotated out. It’s really hard to tell with all the Pacific teams bunched together what we’ll actually look like at the TDL, but if we’re at all significantly out of it and if there’s any market for fringe players we should offload them for whatever cap relief we’d get. I’d imagine Sutter, Beagle, and Tanev (who isn’t obviously fringe) would fetch a decent return because of reputation, if not play. Baertschi and Goldobin much less.
I believe Beagle is playing through an injury. When Sutter returns, I suspect the team will announce Beagle is having surgery. His play is indicating that something is wrong, but like a good pro he is playing through it.
The team can’t afford a fourth line which is not producing up to its contracts.
So, Beagle, Sutter and Schaller are all expendable….and Benning should not hesitate in trading whichever one or two or three provide the best return. By best return, I mean anything at all. Shedding salary is valuable at this point.
When the team is a contender they can load up with a specialist fourth line, but for now it should be a value-priced development line like the third line. When you are a building team, the second half of the season is where you bring in some younger farm hands.
When Graovac was healthy he looked more than adequate as the fourth line centre. Beagle joins a long list of players (NHL and AHL) the team could trade to add picks and prospects for the future. Given Benning’s drafting ability, I would say picks would be great.
Puck N A:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence/simile use)
Ideally, fire Beagle and his $3 mil per, partial-no-trade abomination of a contract (thanks again, Jim) into the sun. But since that would reflect poorly on the Canucks org, besides being illegal and even more costly, sit him out until he is able, again, (hopefully) to skate. He’s just ridiculous out there right now, moving like a Saint Bernard against whippets. If he’s still unable to skate after a rest (whether or not he’s nursing an injury), then sit him some more, and add another player to the growing list of abysmal contracts that Benning will have to get super-creative about unloading in the off-season.
The real question is what do you do with the guy who signed him and also signed Eriksson, Benn, Ferland, Schaller, and Gagner?
Roussel seems to be the only decent free agent.
One thing is undeniable, Beagle has been terrible at 5v5. He needs to come out of the line-up as soon as possible. Sutter is a more-than-adequate replacement and should take the fourth line centre role when he returns.