0
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: And The Award Goes To…

You’ve heard of Backup Bob Essensa, but now it’s time for your Essential Backup Blogger to take over the CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag for a week.

 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I’d try putting Tyler Myers in front of the net more often on the second powerplay unit. It’s a tactic that has worked for other teams around the league, and it’s the sort of chaotic maneuver that could do wonders for a powerplay that has often been too predictable.

If I’m allowed another change to the top unit, and it’s my article so I am, let’s go with allowing Quinn Hughes to skate the puck directly into the zone more often. Everyone does the drop pass, but not everyone has a Quinn Hughes.

 

I have not, but not because I’m opposed to the idea. I think pineapple in beverage form is highly underrated, and honestly superior to the solid food variety.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

 

Well, one of the ways to keep both past the 2021 Expansion Draft is for one or both to start struggling, in which case Seattle won’t want them – but that’s not a very fun scenario to discuss, so let’s skip it.
If both continue to provide starter-quality netminding through the 2020/21 season, it’s going to take a lot to convince Seattle not to take one of them. Expansion teams love to center their marketing on goaltenders – see Marc-Andre Fleury in Vegas – and who better for that than a goalie who’s already had success a few hours up the coast? It’s also not likely that there’s going to be many, if any, other goalies of Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko’s pedigree available.
I have to imagine that it costs a first round pick or more to keep the non-protected of the two, and that’s probably a bit too rich for the luxury of carrying two starters. If the Canucks find themselves in this situation come 2021, they should just ship one of Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko off to team elsewhere in the league for a sizeable return.

 

If the question was meant to be why do I hate the Hurricanes, it’s easy to answer because I don’t. I think they’re a fun, plucky franchise just trying to do their best in a flighty market. The Storm Surge is kind of neat in that it bothered Don Cherry, even if it is significantly cheesier than most are willing to admit.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I think the question was meant to ask who I hate on the Hurricanes, however, and I’ve definitely got an answer for that.

Justin Williams.

Sure, he just came back from semi-retirement, but that’s all the more reason to dislike him – taking half-a-year off just to come waltzing back in and boot some other guy into the pressbox. “Mr. Game 7” always has this smug look on his face that says “I’ve scored a bunch of clutch goals in the playoffs because of some innate x-factor that makes me a winner, and not just the fact that I’m a statistical anomaly”  and that really grinds my gears.

He’s also one of those sneaky-dirty players.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

 

The same success? Almost certainly not. Whatever one’s opinion on the Sedin twins might be, there’s probably not a person out there that doesn’t believe they each made the other one better. If I had to pick, I’d say that Daniel might have benefitted a bit more from Henrik over the course of their careers than vice-versa, but only because Henrik was one of the best playmakers of his generation.

If Daniel would have ended up on another team with a different elite playmaking center – a Joe Thornton or a Nicklas Backstrom – he could have theoretically had similar success. A more likely scenario for Daniel-without-Henrik is that Daniel develops into a top-line winger all the same, but doesn’t approach Art Ross status.

 

This season, it’s got to be Jake Virtanen. Like any good Supporting Actor, Virtanen doesn’t quite get the screen-time to be considered a lead, but he still draws the eyes of the audience to him whenever he does make an appearance. Shotgun Jake is the kind of character that fans secretly like just a little bit more than the more prominent protagonists – and that’s what makes him Oscar material.

 

This one has a pretty clear answer, as first reported by Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada. The Habs were kicking the tires on Sven Baertschi as a potential bargain-bin solution to their anemic top-six, but then Los Angeles decided to terminate Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract, opening up an even cheaper option.

Given that Kovalchuk has since put up 12 points in 15 games for Montreal, it’s safe to say that they made the right choice when they signed him to a $700K deal instead of offering up assets for Baertschi. Still, it is heartening to know that there may be a tiny market out there for Sven.

 

Great question, and I’m going to answer both parts.

I think two of the five in question are fairly close to locks – Tyler Madden and Nils Hoglander. Both look ready to move on from their current leagues and join the Utica Comets for the 2020/21 campaign, with Hoglander perhaps making a run at the Canucks’ roster while he’s at it.

Will Lockwood is a maybe. He’s having a so-so season with the Quinn Hughes-less U. of Michigan. Vancouver will effectively give up on his rights if they do not sign him this offseason.

Nikita Tryamkin could count as one of the five if he is signed, but he’s pushing the bounds of what is considered a “prospect.”

Linus Karlsson is one that might surprise a few people. He’s already 20 and producing well in the Allsvenskan, so it might be time for him give North American hockey a shot.

Carson Focht is in his fourth full season in the WHL, and I’d lean toward the Canucks offering him a contract in the summer.

Jack Rathbone could jump, but probably won’t.
That’s already more than five prospects, and doesn’t even take into consideration any players drafted at the 2020 Entry Draft or signed as undrafted free agents. Which leads into your next question…

 

Room is definitely going to have to be made.

There are some obvious players to let walk, like Tim Schaller, Richard Bachman, David Pope, and Zane McIntyre.

Some less obvious “dead weight” in the forms of RFAs like Nikolay Goldobin or Ashton Sautner could also simply not be qualified to open up further contract space – as well as spots on the Utica Comets roster.

I don’t think the Canucks are going to run short of contract slots anytime soon.

 

That’s all we have time for today, folks. Tune in tomorrow for Part Deux!