Welcome back to another exciting edition of What Do You Think Thursday — the only hockey column on the internet that doesn’t just value your opinion, but craves it!
If all goes as planned over the next month — and, just to be clear, all is absolutely not going as planned as of this writing — the Vancouver Canucks will return to action in a play-in series against the Minnesota Wild, scheduled to kick off sometime around August 1.
If it actually happens, the series would mark the Canucks’ first trip to the NHL postseason since 2015. Four seasons outside of the playoffs has had a number of effects on the franchise — some good, some bad — and one of them have been the near-demise of any sense of rivalry the team had built up previously.
Think about it. Do the Canucks even have a rival team right now?
Sure, there’s the old stand-bys in Calgary and Edmonton, but Vancouver has always been the third wheel in that particular blood-feud.
There’s still some lingering disdain around for the Blackhawks and Kings, what with the likes of Duncan Keith and Dustin Brown still around, but it’s hard to drum up legitimate hatred when none of the teams involved are competitive.
Boston and Toronto always stir up ill feelings when they come to town — as do the Florida Panthers, of late — but matchups are far too infrequent to count as a real rivalry.
Maybe it will be up to the Wild to stoke those fires of enmity come August. Or perhaps it will be the Seattle TBAs who step into the void and finally make the “Battle of the PNW” a real thing.
In any case, that’s exactly what we’re here to ask you today:
Do you think the Canucks currently have a rival team? And if not, who will the next one be?
Would you rather the Canucks lose to the Wild, and enter the second Draft Lottery, or win and face the Colorado Avalanche?
…and it proved pretty controversial! Who knew? (We totally did.)
Your (extra-impassioned) responses are below!
For most N.A. professional hockey athletes, winning rounds with a shot at Stanley is their highest aspiration.
That will never change.
The idea of tanking for the chance at the number one pick is a thought that I feel filthy for actually having cross my mind.
But, and its a big but, this young team desperately should be in the playoffs and giving their all to create a winning culture. The Canucks seem to do well against Colorado and could take them to seven games, and possibly win, so I am not concerned about that. This year they split the series and the previous year it was all Petey against them.
On the other hand, tanking creates a losing culture that will be detrimental to this team.
When it comes down to it as a fan I cannot stand watching this team lose, therefore all I have to say is…Just win, baby!!!!!
I don’t care, and nor should any self-respecting hockey fan.
This whole dumbed-down playoffs idea, in the midst of a COVID epidemic where the NHL is now seeking refuge in Canada because the States are far too dangerous, are a farce, and the bogus lotto draw is almost as bad.
Seriously, in what world does a play-in/playoff team get the first overall pick over bottom-feeders like Detroit and Buffalo who are desperate to improve after years of fail… Oh yeah, I forgot, in Bettman’s warped world. Truly embarrassing in every way. Shut ‘er down.
Playing the Avalanche in the second round is probably a best-case scenario for the Canucks. Makes for some very exciting offensive hockey. Not to mention, we beat Colorado on a regular basis. The same can’t be said against a team like Vegas.
I’ll play along and ignore COVID and NHL stupidity. Playoffs, for sure. For several reasons.
I’m more interested in watching NHL hockey than prospect watching.
The key number, as you mentioned, is 87.5% against.
There’s always a “franchise altering player” every single year at number one and the vast majority of the time it’s not true. Frankly, media over-hyping of prospects is boring.
It would be great for this group to take their shot.
I think there is a better than 12.5% chance they can beat Colorado if they get by Minny.
The “rebuild” will be just fine either way.
It will anger all the self-loathing “fans” here.
Yeah…that about sums it up for me.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence [but not brevity!])
At one point, the Canucks were leading the Pacific. Hughes demonstrated he could QB an NHL PP at a high level. Miller showed he’s a first line player. Markstrom showed that last season wasn’t just a hot streak and was playing like a true #1. Then Markstrom, Boeser, and others went down. The team was clinging to a playoff spot. The optimist in me thinks that a healthy squad, with a big addition like Toffoli, can make waves in the playoffs. Any team can come back hot or cold. Marksrom can flat out steal games. Go Go Go!
On the other hand, the core is still young. There is a ton of cap anchors on the bottom half of the lineup. It’s going to take some work or cooperation from the league to clear that up next year. It looks like the right side on D is going to be a big hole next year. A lot of things need to go right, otherwise they aren’t really a cup contender next season. The best thing for the org is to lose to Minny, IMO. Not only is there a 1/8 shot at getting an elite talent, but the slot they will be drafting in if they don’t hit the lotto should have a good player available. This draft is deep. IMO another prospect the caliber of Podkolzin or better will be available at 12th or 13th.
Adding another solid prospect, letting the core mature, and bad contracts getting moved out is how this club will be better. I’ll be cheering for the team to win and hope for the best, knowing that if they lose it’s probably the best for them long-term. It stings to see your team lose when they’re in the “window” to win. IMO the Canucks “window” to win will be when Eriksson’s contract is off the books. Guys like Sutter, Motte, etc are replaced by competent prospects who are on value contracts and have upside. The hole on RHD this offseason has a proper longer-term resolution.
It’s possible all of that comes together this offseason, but it’s also a bit of a longshot at this point. Most likely, the team has guys like Podkolzin, Lind, Hoglander, OJ, Rathbone step in for 2021/2022 and that’s when the team’s window will open…. But there would still be a 1/8 shot or cap-clearing-Benning-magic (miracle) to fast track that next season. 🙂
Ken Priestlay Fan:
Lafreniere would probably make the Canucks serious contenders overnight, not just because he projects to be a superstar but because it’ll create the opportunity to trade a top-six forward for an upgrade on D. But I want to see them do it in the playoffs. I want to see EP v MacKinnon and Hughes v Makar when it really counts. I also don’t think that Vancouver are completely out of it in a playoff matchup with Colorado. If they lose and get Lafreniere? Well that’s just a pretty awesome consolation prize.
I will always land on the side of wanting the team to try their hardest to win and be successful. Lafreniere would be great to land (though by no means a guarantee, even if we don’t beat MIN), but I hope that we win our play-in series and see what this squad can do in the postseason.
This is a pretty easy choice: Winning.
Having a 12.5 % chance as a consolation prize is nice.
Given the Canucks’ abysmal draft lottery record over the years, there’s no chance they will win, so it’s better that they make the playoffs. They’re a talented young team and anything can happen.
If memory serves me right, the Canucks lost 5-4 in OT, and won 6-3 in Colorado, so we know we can compete and beat the Avs.
I would like playoffs, but would be totally stoked if we win Lafreniere.
North Van Halen:
It really is a no-lose situation. I’d love to see the boys play another round or two of playoff hockey. There are few things in the world that give me greater pleasure than watching Canuck playoff hockey – most years, few things make me sadder than when they’re knocked out. This year though, any game beyond the play-in would be a huge bonus since the best really does appear to be ahead with the youth of the key players.
That said, losing in the play-in would likely be a huge motivator for the kids moving forward, which comes with the bonus of another high-end prospect…and a 1 in 8 chance at Lafreniere. I’m honestly down with either scenario.
Every fan wants the Canucks to win. However, when you look at past performance, and the current lineup, it is unlikely this team will go far in the playoffs. Defence is sketchy, mentally fragile at times, and unable to hold leads. Team toughness is in question, and Markstrom won’t be anywhere near where he was before he was injured. Playing in an empty arena will not add much to playoff experience. The best outcome would be to lose to Minnesota in five games and gain some meaningful playoff-like games, as well as a 12.5% chance at a franchise player. But we all know that, as fans, the dream scenario won’t happen and we will be bracing for a one ‘n done playoff round, giving up our first round pick, turning off the draft for the first two rounds and hoping for a miracle in the third round. Go Canucks!
I want to see what the Canucks can do in the playoffs. I want to see a Quinn Hughes vs Cale Makar matchup to show who truly deserves to be the Calder Trophy winner. I want to see Elias Pettersson go all out to try and win because I know he is hungry to win. I want Boeser to play hard so his sick father can see him in the playoffs. I want to see Horvat get the chance to Captain the team through the playoffs. I want Markstrom to show the world that he deserves to be in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy. I want to see Tyler Toffoli play for the Canucks since he is a great player and we paid such a high price for him. I want the team to do well because that will make Vancouver an attractive place for players like Toffoli to sign during free agency.
So, in short, I want playoff hockey for my Canucks.
That said, when it comes to the draft, I don’t trust the draft lottery to be fair. It is held behind closed doors and the Canucks always seem to drop as far as is possible. So, I would never trust the Canucks’ ‘luck’ to win the first overall pick.
I’d like to see the team win a Cup. For that to happen, the path goes through Denver (and I kinda like the matchup).
Laf at an entry-level contract is what the Canucks need. They need Pod on an ELC, same with others. I salivate at the chance at the chance at #1. But then I always look for a glass-full. If only I live long enough. I root for the Nucks and if they win, I’m in a happy state. I want the Cup!
The best-case scenario for the Canucks is to make the playoffs and go as far as possible. The odds are slim to get the first overall pick this year. The pessimist in me believes there’s a better chance that they’d be giving away an unprotected lottery pick in 2021 if they miss the playoffs this year.
I think either outcome will give them what they need. If Minnesota beats them, they are still rebuilding and need the pick. If they beat Minny and show well against Colorado, they are farther along and will benefit more from playoff experience.
(Winner of the author’s occasional award for making some really good points)
Had the season completed as planned and had the Canucks not made the playoffs, they likely would’ve been picking somewhere around 13th-15th, with a 1-2% chance at 1st pick, maybe 3-7% chance at top 3. If they lose to MIN, it’s an 87.5% chance they pick somewhere between 9 and 15, and 12.5% they pick 1st. This boost to the odds is one hell of a consolation prize for losing the play-in round.
However, I’d prefer to see the Canucks make their own luck this year – go the distance or as deep as they’re able. “A bird in the hand,” “master of their own destiny” – pick your allegory. But I’d like to see them in charge of their own fate, and to own the results of that – whatever they might be.
On second thought, I’m going to vote twice – the cynic in me says there’s very little chance the playoffs complete, so why not get a chance at the draft pick. Imagine if they beat MIN only to have everything canceled part-way through the Avs series… no good draft pick, not chance at the cup, it’s lose-lose.
Of course, I wouldn’t put it past the league to wipe the draft lottery results and re-do from scratch if this happens.
Okay. Let’s say they can keep everyone safe in the hub city bubbles. I’ll play along. It’s simple, really. Fans should want the Canucks to go all the way and the Canucks themselves are in it for no other reason but to win it. Deal later with where you may draft. And getting Lafreniere? It’s nice to think about but don’t bet your Gretzky rookie card on it happening. This is Vancouver you’re talking about, not Edmonton or New Jersey.
Simple – there’s an 87.5% chance they don’t win the lottery and get Lafrenière. There’s only direction and that’s to try and win in the playoffs (and clean up their cap situation to sustain their growth). Hit a home run on one of their 2020 picks.
With the upcoming 2020 amateur draft, will this be the first year where hindsight is 2020?
In “WWYDW: Moving On From Loui Eriksson, posted March 11,2020, at 8:00 am”, I mentioned that the current NHL season was suspended and most likely cancelled. At that time, the Canucks weren’t in a playoff spot, so I thought they would keep this year’s draft pick.
When the playoff format was announced, and that the Canucks would play the Wild, I thought the Wild would take the play in series in five games, even though the Canucks would push a couple games to OT, in the end they would lose the series but grow as a team.
It wasn’t until reading David Quadrelli article on what the Canucks draft lottery fate was (would be), after which, I changed my opinion on the Canucks situation if the play in rounds commenced/completed.
Like many, I would love to see the Canucks make the playoffs and go deep, but then I asked myself, for what end purpose? “Just so they make the playoffs”; the teams CAP situation is still the same, if not made worse by the fact they need to sign UFAs and RFAs this off season.
If the current season is not cancelled (which it should be), and/or if there is no new draft lottery due to the season cancelling, then I’m with you Robby-D: come on play-in series, have fun boys, lose, learn and grow; and lets hope the Franchise finally wins it’s first number one draft pick. And they should immediately try to move the number one draft pick along with Loui Eriksson and contract to either Ottawa for their number three or number five draft pick along with one of Ottawa’s 2nd round draft picks, or to New Jersey for their number seven draft pick and 3rd round pick – also Jersey gives the Canucks back their first round draft pick next year (both Ottawa and Jersey have CAP space).
I may be alone here, but I believe all pro sport should remain on hold until the USA can get a firm hold on COVID-19. The health of us all, including the athletes is paramount at this time. The USA under the Chump has failed miserably at handling this virus. The restart of this season and playoffs tells me that the all mighty dollar is more important to the powers that be. Pay-per-view packages will be the only way owners will be able to recoup their losses. At some point we need to acknowledge that it’s only a game.
(Author’s note: You are not alone on this one!)