Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: All Canucks’ 2020 NHL Draft scenarios, Gadjovich and Lind’s potential, and the best trade in franchise history

Another week, another mailbag. What a week it’s been! Let’s take a look at what you wonderful people asked this week.

Friday’s NHL Draft Lottery balls gave a placeholder team the first overall pick, and the best chance at landing two-time CHL player of the year winner Alexis Lafreniere. That means a team that loses its play-in series after the NHL returns to play will be selecting first overall at the 2020 NHL Draft.

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There was a 2.5% chance of that happening, and chaos ensued among NHL fanbases everywhere.

Detroit Red Wings fans felt the pain that comes with enduring a dreadful season on the ice only to slide down three spots — the maximum number possible — which is a feeling Canucks fans are all too familiar with.

The LA Kings are going to be adding a very good player to what’s already far and away the best prospect pool in the league, and the Ottawa Senators are going to have an opportunity to add two very special players to their organization as well.

The Canucks on the other hand? They’re in a bit of a win-win situation, which is pretty rare for this organization, especially in recent years.

Here’s what happens in all of the play-in scenarios with regards to the 2020 NHL Draft:

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Canucks beat Wild, advance to first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is the one many fans are hoping for, and rightfully so. It’s been a long five years since the Canucks last made the postseason, and people are licking their chops to see what players like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and J.T. Miller can do come playoff time.

If this scenario comes to fruition, the Canucks will surrender their 2020 first round pick to the New Jersey Devils. This pick will not be included in the second Draft Lottery to determine who gets the first overall pick. In turn, the Minnesota Wild will be entered into the Lafreniere sweepstakes with a 12.5% chance — along with the other teams who lose their play-in series.

Canucks lose to Wild, get entered into second Draft Lottery. This is where #TeamTank comes into play. Fans were immediately throwing out line combinations of Pettersson with Boeser and Lafreniere lining up beside him, and talking about how huge it would be for the Canucks to be able to call his name.

And they’re not wrong. This kid is legit and he’s a special talent. Adding him to this team on an entry-level contract is the type of move that could take the Canucks from being a playoff contender to being bonafide contenders for the Stanley Cup for years to come.

The only problem is, the Canucks still have just a 12.5% chance of winning that second Draft Lottery. Landing Lafreniere as a consolation prize for losing to the Wild is far from guaranteed.

There are two more Covid-19 related scenarios, too — both of which seemingly work against the Canucks.

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Play in series can’t be completed due to global pandemic. Hockey fans are hoping this isn’t the case, but it’s not completely out of the question. If the return to play is unsuccessful and the play in series are incomplete, these are the teams that will be entered into the draft lottery as per Sportsnet:

The reason the Canucks aren’t included in this group despite technically being on the losing end of a tiebreaker between them and the Panthers — is because the NHL isn’t ditching East vs. West when it comes to determining their final standings — rather than going off of overall standings.

So in this scenario, the Canucks are technically above the playoff bar and will surrender their first overall pick to New Jersey, which again, will not be entered into the second Draft Lottery. The Canucks will also keep their 2021 first round pick.

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To recap, this scenario sees the Canucks get no playoff experience and no shot at drafting Lafreniere.

Canucks win play-in series but playoffs are cancelled due to global pandemic. The Canucks are hoping if this were to happen, it doesn’t happen right before the first round begins — after they’ve already beaten the Wild. This scenario would also see the Canucks get little to no playoff experience all the while giving up their 12.5% chance at drafting Lafreniere.

So are you #TeamTank? I’m of the mindset that there’s no need to pick a definitive side in this situation. I suppose I’m on team #WhateverHappensHappens. Playoff experience for this core would be extremely valuable, but so would adding a player of Lafreniere’s pedigree to it.

To answer the original question, yes, adding another top pick to this team would be absolutely massive.

The lasting impact the Sedins left on this organization is invaluable. As Kevin Bieksa said on their jersey retirement night, there will always be a Sedin flavour to this organization. Giving back to their communities, and being exceptional people both on and off the ice.

On the ice, they were franchise players who helped bring their team within one game of winning the Stanley Cup. The twins won Ted Lindsay Awards, Hart Trophies, Art Ross Trophies, and led the Canucks to back to back President’s Trophies as well. They were franchise players through and through.

The trade itself was also insanely difficult to pull off and I get a headache just reading about what Brian Burke had to do to make sure he was able to secure the twins back to back. For those that want a refresher, watch this video.

For those reasons, the Sedin trade will always go down as the best trade in Canucks’ history.

Two Utica questions, great. My cohost on Canucks Conversation and contributor to this very site, Chris Faber, has forced me to sit through some Comets games in order to have at least some first-hand knowledge of what these players can do. That being said, he’s watched a lot more than I have, so I’m tagging him in! Here’s what Chris has to say about both of these players:

Jonah Gadjovich is a tough one to crack right now. He has battled injuries over the past two seasons with the Utica Comets, appearing in 43 games last year and 38 this season. He is a very exciting prospect when he is healthy and in the Comets’ lineup. His standout skill is his strength. He’s a physical player who loves to get involved between and outside of the whistles. His fights were with some real heavyweights and he did more than hold his own in those battles.
The question is, does he have NHL potential and what role could he play if he gets there?
The role I see for him is a bottom-six player who would need to work his ass off every shift to keep his job. He could add some offensive help in a bottom-six role as he is excellent at being the first to get his stick on the puck. When there’s a loose puck around the net he seems to get possession of it first and doesn’t miss when the net is open. His shot looks to have improved over his two years in Utica. He had a couple of shots this season that were absolute snipes over goaltenders’ shoulders.
He is going to need to stay healthy before Canucks fans should start getting excited about him. Next season’s Comet’s team could feature a fire line that had Gadjovich and Kole Lind on their first line and powerplay unit. Speaking of Kole Lind…
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I have seen a lot of Kole Lind in the past 12 months. He looked good at training camp this past fall and I stand by the belief that right now he would make a bigger impact on an NHL game than Loui Eriksson.
This year Lind took a huge step and the thing that I kept hearing from those around the Comets was that his confidence was through the roof compared to last season. He plays a physical game but in his rookie season, we didn’t see that at all. This year he was a loudmouth on the ice and that helps him get emotionally involved in a game. When he’s invested emotionally, his game goes to another level. It happened in junior and it’s now happening in the AHL.
Lind has middle six potential, but with the other wingers in this organization, I would put him behind Nils Hoglander and Vasili Podkolzin. The thing that Canucks fans will love about Lind is the emotional involvement that I mentioned earlier. If he continues to play his game at the next level, he will be a fan favourite very soon.

Here’s another Utica question, but one I’ll take the reins on. The Comets have some players coming in that will help fill the void, but it’s certainly going to be hard to replace the points that Nikolay Goldobin and Reid Boucher brought to the lineup.

Kole Lind needs to take another step and have a Zack MacEwen-esque season next year. He has to catch the attention of the big club just as MacEwen did this year with his play. He’ll almost certainly have a bigger role next season and he’ll be a leader on this team.

A few players coming in who will help fill that void are Marc Michaelis and Will Lockwood, two relatively young and hungry players coming out of the NCAA. Michaelis can play left wing and up the middle, while Lockwood is mainly exclusive to the right side.

They’re certainly not going to match the point totals that Boucher and Goldobin reached this past season, but adding two players to the Comets and giving them a chance to potentially develop into something of use for the Canucks down the line can only be viewed as a good thing.

Here’s one that’s right up my alley.

As many of you know, Chris and I frequently open packs of hockey cards on Twitter live streams in our quest for Quinn Hughes Young Guns cards and other rare cards, thanks to our friends at Zephyr Epic.

We’ve pulled two Hughes Young Guns cards, which are currently selling in the $100 to $150 range.

Elias Pettersson Young Guns cards were selling in that same range during his rookie season, and the price has stayed about the same.

Then you look at Connor McDavid Young Gun cards, and you’re looking at price tags of well over $500. Quickly checking eBay, there’s a perfect 10 selling for close to $3,000. Yeesh.

If Pettersson wins a Hart Trophy and Hughes wins a Norris, then their Young Guns will likely go up in value, even if it’s nowhere near what McDavid’s is currently selling for.

So to answer the question, tell me what awards Pettersson and Hughes have won in three years then let’s talk.

That’s all for this week, folks! To ask a question in a future mailbag, be sure to follow me on Twitter @QuadreIli and keep an eye out for the weekly mailbag tweet on Fridays!