Welcome back to another episode of What Do You Think Thursday. Before you even opened up CanucksArmy today, you probably already knew exactly what debate we’d be tackling today.
In case you missed it — and thus saved yourself a week of intense dialogue about what exactly merits a “true fan” — the NHL Draft Lottery was held last week. With a mystery placeholder earning the rights to the 1st overall pick, that means that Canucks will now have a 12.5% chance of winning said pick in a secondary lottery — but only if they lose their play-in series to Minnesota.
Hence the debate. Which outcome is truly better for the Canucks, and their fanbase, long term? A loss against the Wild, and they’re back in an exclusive lottery. A win, and they’re in the playoffs, taking on the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.
On the one hand, a one-in-eight shot at Alexis Lafrenière — or the trade capital the draft pick would represent — is pretty tough to pass up. Going into the second lottery with an equal 12.5% chance to win would make for the first time since 1970 that the Canucks have had the best odds at the top pick, even if that’s a status they’d share with seven other teams. Getting someone like Lafrenière on an entry-level contract would make it a whole lot simpler to keep the team competitive even after handing out big contracts to Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. Plus, all the Canucks have to give up to get that 12.5% ticket is a first-round matchup with the Avalanche, which doesn’t look all that promising.
But as opponents of “Team Tank” will remind you, a 12.5% chance of winning is also an 87.5% chance of losing, and that’s not nearly as exciting. The postseason experience gained by two series against the Wild and Avalanche could have a major impact on the development of Vancouver’s young core, and that could end up being a lot more valuable than a pick that is statistically likely to end up somewhere in the early- to late-teens. And if you’re Francesco Aquilini, there’s also playoff revenue to consider.
It’s easy to see why a week of Twitter back-and-forths hasn’t solved this one yet, so now we’re leaving it to you by asking:
Would you rather the Canucks lose to the Wild, and enter the second Draft Lottery, or win and face the Colorado Avalanche?
(Note: We realize there’s a third option where the postseason doesn’t happen and neither does the second lottery, but let’s not muddy the waters any further for this hypothetical exercise.)
Which Canuck are you most excited to see play in the postseason? And why?
Your responses are below!
Miller and Markstrom are the deciding factors/ leaders during the regular season and going forward.
With injured players now healthy, he might not even get the chance to play, and if he does it likely won’t be for long minutes. But MacEwen had an excellent (if short) regular season, and he’s about as close to a power forward as the Canucks have got. His physical style will come in useful when the zebras forget how to call a penalty, which happens often in the playoffs.
Even if the Canucks don’t get far in the postseason, a strong performance by MacEwen will be considerable consolation.
I’ll go outside the box…
Ferland. Has a history of making a big impact in the postseason. His career might be on the line since his last two comebacks have lasted only a few shifts. He’s also a very nice piece for the team if he’s healthy moving forward.
I’m most interested in seeing how well the Canuck lightweights like EP, AG, and QH do in the playoffs when their talent and skill are tested by a more physical, aggressive game, and where penalties aren’t called in the same way as regular season. It could be a frustrating, but necessary, learning experience for the young guys. Canucks played pretty soft during the regular season and hopefully they will learn sooner than later that you get eaten up if you play that way in the playoffs.
Lotto Line Forever:
I’m excited to see Captain Bo actually. Since the days when he was toiling away on the fourth line, he’s been that strong, bullish driving force that the team has needed for postseasons like this, to literally put the team on his back as he drives the net. That style of play, along with a take-no-B.S. attitude from the “good Canadian kid” just might be what’s needed to will his team forward. After setting the example, we have enough big bodies and feisty guys (e.g. didn’t expect Gaudette to fight last year, and Pete has some edge in him too) to follow his lead. Of course, the other guys up front can also carry the load offensively, but when you wear the “C” I hope you’d lead the charge in all aspects (physical, scoring, two-way game) and I think he just might be ready for it.
HM’s of course to the usual suspects (Pete, Marky, Hughes, Miller) and also Gaudette and Jake (probably new fan favorites.)
Ken Preistlay Fan:
Virtanen. I’m a fan, but really the postseason is where he’ll show his value, so this is probably his time to shine. I think Shotgun Jake will change some minds.
Lots of good options. I’m probably most interested to see how QH gets targeted and whether he can play through it.
Toss-up between Quinn and Brock!
I want to see if Quinn can keep that cool demeanor during a playoff series and I want to see if Brock can dial up the scoring. In order to be a part of the Canucks’ future plans, I think Brock needs to come through when it counts.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
I can’t really pick one player I’m most excited to see in the playoffs. Watching playoffs and seeing how the Canuck respond as a team will be exciting.
There are, however, two people for whom these playoffs can help shape the rest of their careers. The first is coach Green. It is an opportunity for him to define himself as a solid NHL head coach. The second is Jake Virtanen. If Jake can thrive in playoff hockey, he can be a difference maker and he will be due a raise. If he isn’t in top shape or doesn’t find that playoff intensity, time to move on.
I’ve got to put my vote in Virtanen’s corner. He’s probably the player with the most upside that’s still in doubt. Does anyone really think Pettersson, Hughes, or even Bo or Brock have much to prove? Any performance that’s a little sub-par will be chalked up as valuable experience and lessons learned, but Jake’s performance could well determine his place in the club’s future plans, one way or the other. I’m among the crowd who has speculated that the playoffs may be when he shows his true value, so fingers crossed.
Another vote from me for JV18. I’m excited to see if Horvat brings the intensity again like in the series against the Flames, but I feel like this is Virtanen’s make or break moment. I’ve been optimistic about him for a long time, but if he doesn’t bring his ‘A’ game, I’m ready to “get off the pot,” if you will.
I’m looking forward to Petey’s *second* series or maybe second playoffs. He tends to experience something, go off, and then come back even better. He’ll be a beast, but probably not initially. And I hope he makes me eat those words. 😉
I’m most excited to see how every player that has an expiring contract performs in the playoffs.