0
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag (Faber Takeover): Ferland’s brain, Mike’s blue freeze and sweep season

Another week, NOT another mailbag. Quads is too busy watching baseball and editing every single article on our lovely site (that was an Editor’s note, by the way) to do this week’s mailbag so I am taking over for this week. Though he probably is watching baseball right now, he’s been busy working on some things behind the scenes to set up CanucksArmy for a good run of coverage here as hockey gets back to action on August 1st.

So let’s see what we are working with, what did you wonderful Twitter folk ask this week?

My real expectations are a lot higher than most. I think the Canucks really match up well against the Minnesota Wild. The Canucks have a much stronger top six, a much stronger goalie and the top four defencemen can play a very well rounded game when Chris Tanev and Alex Edler are fully healthy.

I’ve gone out and said I think the Canucks will sweep the Wild.

I might as well double down with it here as I take over the mailbag.

After the play-in series, it’s really tough to see what the path looks like for the Canucks. They don’t match up well against teams like the Avalanche, Golden Knights or even the Blues.

The core of Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Jacob Markstrom have zero playoff games between them. These aren’t the players that I’m worried about, and the second tier of Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, JT Miller and Brock Boeser doesn’t worry me either.

The way that this Canucks team gets beat is if the top six is overpowered and their depth is matched. There’s almost a handful of teams in the Western Conference that fit that bill. The Canucks have the potential for a magical run with so much young talent and a top-notch goaltender.

We will have to see what happens when tempered steel hits frozen water.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Game one against the Wild, no.

Game one of the actual 16 team playoffs?

Sure.

Micheal Ferland has looked like the best forward on the ice for the Canucks at scrimmages and practices. He talked about his brain being in a very different spot than it was back in February. He mentioned that back when he made that one start in Utica–his head was not good, he was struggling with sleep, migraines and had anxiety. It was great to hear him say that his head feels “normal” on Saturday.

Advertisement - Continue Commenting Below

Ferland has a chance to be an impact player in the Canucks top six. He has been screaming around the ice this week and worked his way into the Canucks lineup.

There is a massive jump from scrimmage to an NHL game. Ferland needs to first prove that he can skate with Adam Gaudette and Antoine Roussel before we start talking about him jumping up to the Horvat line.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, it’s very possible actually.

If a top-six winger were to go down with an injury and the Canucks needed to pick a player to hop into that position right now they probably aren’t picking Jake Virtanen and I’d bet on Ferland being that guy. The big thing is going to be the pace of play. Even Ferland himself said that physical contact isn’t the problem. It’s the fast movements and his eyes having to adjust to it.

He said that back when he was recovering, the best way to describe it was that he felt “drunk”. We know what the eyes do after eight to ten cold ones. So it’s good to hear that he is feeling normal and Canucks fans should be hoping that the pace of play isn’t too much for Ferland because he could be a major x-factor in a play-in/off series. Just ask Kevin Bieksa.

That 2015 reason is a big reason why many Canucks fans are beginning to get drunk on Ferland.

The way this week has gone, I’d bet that people are going to think I’d say Thatcher Demko.

Well, they are right. With all the wingers coming into this Canucks team in the near future and with the current crop they have, it makes sense that Virtanen may be pushed out of this team in a couple of years when prospects like Vasili Podkolzin, Nils Höglander and Kole Lind arrive.

I don’t think the Canucks will shop the restricted free agent this offseason but with the bevy of wingers incoming and the logjam that they already have; we could see the Canucks sign Virtanen this offseason and ship him to a team in need of a top nine winger at next year’s deadline. There’s a lot of moving parts but it is possible.

As for Thatcher Demko, I really think this will depend on Jacob Markstrom’s contract. Demko has starter potential and his age fits the core of the Canucks for a long time. Goaltenders are so weird though, we will have to see how the expansion draft goes with the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks might try to work out a deal to have the Kraken pick a position player as there are plenty of good goaltender options around the league for the Kraken to explore.

Some would say Demko’s camp would want him to not re-sign with Vancouver and instead be a Kraken for their first season but would Demko get the start over one of the Pittsburgh Penguin goalies? I don’t know if he would start over Tristan Jarry or Matt Murray.

Two weeks ago I would say that Brogan Rafferty is a slam dunk answer for this question.

Now, not so much. Since training camp began, Jack Rathbone has signed with the Canucks, Olli Juolevi caught the eye of the coaching staff and Brogan Rafferty didn’t look like the all-star AHL player that he is.

Rafferty has been one of the quietest players at training camp. I’ve been a big supporter of him since watching him all season long but he did not step up like I thought he would at camp. He faded away like Lebron’s hairline, which has magically reappeared so maybe Rafferty will do the same at next season’s camp.

Right now I would still bet on Rafferty playing the most games for the Canucks.

It’s tough to be very confident in this answer. Olli Juolevi would be the pick to go overseas if there is no AHL next year as he would happily return to the Finnish Liiga to play at TPS with Sami Salo as his coach. I heard from Salo a few weeks ago about this.

So it’s going to depend on if some players go overseas to play or not but I see Rafferty being the answer for the likely loss of Chris Tanev to free agency. Rathbone could come in and surprise a lot of people but he is going to have to outplay Jordie Benn, Olli Juolevi and (insert free agent defenceman here) to get a shot on the left side. I don’t think Green is too confident in playing Benn on the right side, even though he should be. But I think Rafferty gets the inside lane into playing the most games in a Canucks jersey next year.

This is really fun, I’m going to keep going!

My lines won’t happen so I’m going to give you the lines I think we will see for game one against the Wild.

Miller-Pettersson-Toffoli
Pearson-Horvat-Boeser
Roussel-Gaudette-Ferland
Motte-Beagle-Sutter

Hughes-Tanev
Edler-Myers
Fantenberg-Stecher

Penalty Kill:
Beagle-Motte-Edler-Tanev
Sutter-Pearson-Fantenberg-Myers

Olli Juolevi did a lot this camp but he didn’t do enough to get a sniff at the starting lineup. Coach Green is not going to insert a defenceman with zero NHL games in his playoff lineup.

Juolevi got to show the coaches what he’s all about and Green liked what he saw. It will definitely help his cause in making this team in the future, just not right now.

Good, really good.

We are very thankful that the Canucks organization allowed CanucksArmy to be there every step of the way.

Who else would have made Quinn Hughes laugh like this?

Rumour is I am out 4-6 weeks from making jokes.

It was definitely great to be on the zoom calls. I think being at the first training camp and doing over 100 interviews on my podcast has kind of made me used to talking to someone virtually.

I just try to remember that these are just guys who are really good at hockey, they aren’t superheroes.

Except when I’m talking to Pettersson.

Then I am talking to a superhero.

Camping trips are about sipping slow during the day and gunning down at night.

Day one I recommend good tasty summer beer. I think a raspberry ale from Phillips or Longwood Brewpub are great. You’re going to have to get into the pilsner at night so I’d go with some Parallel 49 beer there.

From there you are typically waking up with a hangover for days two and three so I’d go with something sweet to numb the pain a bit. If you have an antacid for heartburn I would go with Mike’s Hard Blue Freeze. It tastes like a blue popsicle melted in your can. Otherwise, for the second and third days, I would go with Hey Y’alls.

If you’re just a beer guy, go with Lucky.

I’m an island boy.

Well, that’s it for this week! I hope I filled in for Quads alright. Be sure to follow @Quadrelli on twitter because he needs the followers and I guess to see his call for questions too.