Welcome back to yet another edition of WWYDW, the only hockey column in which your opinion doesn’t just matter — it’s the star attraction!
Amidst all the talk of the NHL potentially resuming and the Vancouver Canucks finally returning to finish out the 2019/20, one member of the organization has been under intense focus and scrutiny on social media this week — and they haven’t played for the team in years.
In fact, they’re not even under contract as of this writing.
That’s right — we’re talking about Nikita Tryamkin.
All indicators seem to be pointing toward a 2020/21 comeback for the enormous Russian defenseman after his three-year self-imposed exile.
It’s news that, at one point, the Vancouver fandom had been yearning to hear. But now that it’s on the verge of arriving, an interesting debate has broken out — do the Canucks even want him back?
And if they do, are they willing to shell out $2.5-3 million on a contract for him? That is, after all, his reported asking price.
As it stands, Tyler Myers is the only right-side defenseman on the roster signed beyond this year, and that’s where Tryamkin prefers to play despite his left-handedness. But is he really the best option there, or is someone like Brogan Rafferty more deserving of a look?
Tryamkin has made it perfectly clear that he will not be spending any time in Utica, so it’s an NHL roster or bust for him.
And that’s exactly what we’re asking you to decide this week:
What would you do with Nikita Tryamkin? Would you bring him back next season and, if so, for how much?
Last week, we asked:
What would you do if you could only re-sign one of Jacob Markstrom or Tyler Toffoli?
Your responses are below!
(Public Service Announcement: You have to at least attempt to answer the question to have your comment included!)
North Van Halen:
Honestly, this really depends on what both players want. All things being equal, Marky is more easily replaceable on the open market. There should be a multitude of quality veteran goalies to team with Demko, while signing a street free agent to replace Toffoli would cost huge money and term if you could find one at all.
That said, Markstrom was amaze-balls for us last year, so every effort should be made to retain him, but the term can’t be too long and the cap hit has to be reasonable. If both players wanted five years and $6 million, I take Toffoli for the reasons above. If Marky is coming in at three years @ $5mil, and Toffoli wants six @ $7mil, I take Markstrom.
While I would like to see the club sign both of them, if only allowed one I would sign Markstrom before Toffoli. Markstrom is a leader on the team and a heart and soul kind of player.
For the sake of continuity, I’d sign Markstrom, only because they may not be able to keep a fine player like Toffoli in the mix. It’s hardly news that the half a dozen braindead UFAs Benning has signed will actually see this team go backwards. Never wanted Ferland or Myers from the get-go, but how much Francesco has had a hand in some of those may never been known by the fanbase. And they’ll lose some good players because of it but, then again, the cap seems to wreak havoc on all clubs now.
This would be much more clear if we got to see Demko for another season. Will Demko be a true #1 goalie? When might he reach that potential? There’s a line between starting goaltender and a guy like Marky, who for the past two seasons has been very good and stolen points for the team. On top of that, it took Marky until 29 to emerge as a quality starter. If Demko can be that guy, when? Really hard to tell and it would be a big gamble at this point
Sign Markstrom and sort out the long-term plan for the tandem before Seattle expansion
Toffoli is a nice piece but the easiest to replace. Quality wingers are available every summer and every deadline. They’re important but they aren’t a top-two center, top pairing D, or #1 goaltender. Goal-scoring wingers are on the market all the time. Not only is Toffoli less valuable than Markstrom, there’s short term alternatives on the market along with prospects in the system as a longer-term solution
Long story longer, sign them both. Ship out those expensive depth contracts to make room.
A quality starting goalie can reduce the number of goals against by perhaps 10%, whereas no second-line winger is going to have that much impact on the goal differential. Offer Markstrom three years at $6 million per year, the steepness of the price compensating for the shortness of the contract. If he demands more, then thank him for his services.
Toffoli’s a good, but not elite, player who doesn’t deserve a raise. If the Canucks can’t sign Markstrom, then make Toffoli an offer of four years at $4.6 million. Otherwise pass on him. He’s replaceable, particularly if the UFA market is depressed this summer, as I think it will be. It will mean that the Canucks gave up Madden and a second rounder with nothing to show for it, but that’s spent money.
I would go with Markstrom.
The gains that this team has made with Markstrom in net cannot be risked by potentially handing the reigns over to Demko too early. Demko only has a 13/10 win-to-loss ratio and has faced much weaker opponents this season (his first full one). I think our depth in net with Demko and DiPietro in the wings is strong, but that is the future of the organization.
I think we are much more secure on the wing, especially RW, with Lind and Podkolzin coming. Further, for most of the season, Canucks have been a playoff team without Toffoli. There are options available for players to climb up the depth chart to take a second line spot from Toffoli, like Virtanen.
Toffoli is a nice luxury to have, but Markstrom seems to me to be a necessity to maintain the present gains, IMO.
I keep them both and move Boeser for a RHD. Virtanen, MacEwan, Roussel or Baer fight for the top-six winger spot.
I don’t want to lose either Toffoli or Markstrom. If I have no choice, whichever one can be had for the best deal, I keep.
Goaltending is the most important position in hockey. It’s gotta be Marky.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
I’m going to buck the trend and go with Toffoli. Age plays a part, the sunk cost factors in, but the primary reason is that this team is still only a fringe playoff team with amazing goaltending.
I think Demko is ready, and while he will be a notch down from Markstrom out of the gate, the results will be more indicative of the overall team play. Since the blueline and team defense are lacking, give me a five-star offense to outscore some mistakes and keep the other team honest with a potent powerplay. Ian Clark will bring Demko up to his potential over the course of the season.
I don’t expect a PPG from Toffoli, but his overall game is what you need more of on this team. He’s a smart player at both ends of the rink and has decent size. Keep Demko and get him a veteran backup who plays 35 games to ease him in, and solve the expansion problem now and be done with it. Keeping both Toffoli and Markstrom would be optimal, but the question was if you had to choose one.
I flip-flop in this one because of the rate that Markstrom contributed to wins his year. However, trade Markstrom, sign Toffoli (assuming it’s reasonable), and trade Boeser and parts for a top-pairing young D.
If you had to chose one or the other, I would have to go with Toffoli. Tyler was a perfect fit on the first line. Dropping Brock down with Bo gives the Canucks a legit top-six forwards!
Marky has played great the last two seasons, but is on the wrong side of 30. Add in both Demko and Mikey D in the pipeline, goaltending isn’t a weakness. There are a lot of vets on the FA that could be signed to split games with Demko.
Ken Priestlay Fan:
Thanks for my award from last week!
I’d preface this with another question; who is more easily replaceable from either one within the organization or in free agency?
I don’t think there’s anyone currently signed who can replace either of them RIGHT NOW; there are guys on the way (Hoglander, Lind, Podkolzin) you’d expect could replace Toffoli as a top-six forward in a couple of years, but is there anyone who can step in next season? Leivo perhaps? Virtanen? Ferland, if fit? No one there is going to provide the scoring TT can provide. TT could probably be replaced in free agency, but cost-wise it makes no sense.
With Markstrom, there are two players likely to be hitting FA who could replace him; Holtby and Lehner. But are either available for less money than Markstrom? Lehner maybe, but Holtby will want to be paid.
So, the conclusion of this ramble is “who knows?!” Gun to my head, I keep Toffoli; the Canucks have a brilliant top-six with him in it and with the wingers coming though, it gives them more flexibility to make trades than betting the house on Markstrom for the next 4-5 years. If they can get Lehner for a good price for 2-3 years, him and Demko sharing the net with DiPietro coming through sounds good to me. If not keep your fingers crossed that Demko can do it over 82 games plus playoffs (I think he can) and get a cheap vet to back him up
(Author’s note: You’re welcome! You almost made it two in a row with this one!)