Hello, and welcome back to another exciting edition of What Do You Think Thursdays!
Debate is the lifeblood of online hockey punditry, but we like debate even more than most here at this particular column. And if you’ve been paying attention to the mediasphere of late — specifically, our sister podcast Canucks Conversation, hosted by the intrepid Chris Faber and the incendiary David Quadrelli — you’ll know that the arguments are out in full-force right now when it comes to one year-end team trophy: the Cyclone Taylor Award for Canucks’ MVP.
In years past, picking out Vancouver’s most valuable player was a relatively simple endeavour — but no longer in 2019/20. Now, there are at least four strong candidates for the award, and no real wrong answers…just a whole lot of right ones.
Elias Pettersson had such a good season, there have been whispers of Hart votes in his near-future.
Jacob Markstrom is the reigning champ, and performed even better this year than last.
JT Miller led the team in scoring, transformed the offence into a truly elite unit, and made everyone forget about a first-round draft pick.
And Quinn Hughes had perhaps the greatest rookie season in franchise history, and may already be the most talented defenseman in franchise history, too.
Good news, Canucks fans! You don’t actually have to pick between these players. For the time being, you get all four! (And we’re just a Markstrom contract extension away from KEEPING all four!)
But for the purposes of this thought exercise today, we’re making you pick by asking:
Who do you think was the Canucks’ MVP in the 2019/20 regular season? And why?
Last week, we asked:
Of the Canucks’ ten black aces, who do you most want to see in the lineup this postseason? Who would be at the top of your list to insert into the roster when injuries strike?
And your responses are below!
Beer Can Boyd:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
If he’s 100% healthy, it has to be Juolevi. Let’s finally see if the kid has what it takes to be a top-four NHL defenseman. After that, Baertschi. Still only 27, and eminently moveable, if they give him a chance to show he can play. Which he can. Neither scenario is likely, though. I think Green still feels he is coaching for his job, so he’ll ice the most conservative lineup possible. Can’t blame him. I doubt any of the 10 will see ice time, barring a rash of injuries.
With many of the Canucks’ injured now ready to go, MacEwen — while not technically a Black Ace — may find himself quaffing coffee. I want to see what the big guy can do in the playoffs.
MacEwen gives the Canucks an edge they’re missing. Kinda makes Ferland redundant.
Clearly, it’s Baertschi. He’s no longer in the organization’s plans and needs to be moved in the offseason. Raise his value and clear cap space. After that it’s Rafferty to see whether he’s a legitimate NHL player (and not just an older high-scoring rookie defenceman at the AHL level).
Thanks for putting in a good word for me to GMJB…
As far as the Black Aces go, I guess I don’t really want to see any of them in the playoffs because that would mean that there was an injury and any of these guys likely weaken the existing lineup.
That said, Rafferty is the most enticing. He tore up the AHL against younger players and it would be awesome to establish if he really is all that. Can he score in the NHL? Can he hold his own defensively? Is his skating good enough for the NHL? etc.
I am hopeful that Rafferty is more than a placeholder and can really become an impact player for the Canucks.
Lotto Line Forever:
Top three, in no particular order, would be Baertschi/ Juolevi/ Rafferty. If the offence sputters and is lacking scoring depth I’d like to see a combo like Sven – Sutter – Roussel thrown together, since they’d have a good mix of skill, two-way play, and grit to counter Minnesota’s balanced lines. Same with any injuries up the lineup — the team should give him chances to succeed in order to trade him.
Rafferty when either Tanev/ Stecher goes down, and while I don’t see Juolevi making it with the left-side D depth (not sure he makes it over Fantenberg or Benn) I’m down to be pleasantly surprised, even if it means he gets his first crack at it with limited minutes.
Whether play-in series or playoffs, Sven has to be the first forward to be tapped given his experience and success alongside Bo.
RD would probably be Rafferty and, it might be controversial, but I would take a chance with Olli in the case of LD, if he is healthy. There are safer picks, but if a Black Ace LD were to play limited minutes, Olli’s offensive upside would be useful.
The list of Black Aces isn’t a surprise.
That said, I don’t really think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell we see a guy like Lind slot in. The Canucks have a ton of forwards. If Ferland is in, and Leivo is still out, we have MacEwen, Motte, and Eriksson competing for the last spot in the lineup.
Next call on wing is easily Baertschi, IMO. I actually really like Bailey as a dark horse. He’s 6’4, skates well, is 24 years old, and finished 4th in AHL goals this season. This is the kind of player that could be useful when intensity is ratcheted up. I still can”t justify him over a proven player like Baertschi, but the club has been leaning towards a heavier game and Bailey might look great in practice.
Rafferty is my first call on D. He’s earned it. If he’s shaky in his own zone, give him zero leash. Slot in a guy like Sautner. Either way those guys would be getting very sheltered minutes anyways.
As already mentioned, hopefully no one, as the team is healthy. After that it depends on who gets hurt. He may be the most talented, but Sven only makes sense in an offensive role. I am hoping the young guys tear it up in practice and force the conversation in training camp.
I counted the names five times and keep getting 11, not ten players.
(Author’s note: Guess that’s why they don’t call us CanucksAccounting)
Brisebois — who was the best Comets defenseman — Bailey, and Graovac.
See you all next week!