Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet to successfully negotiate a No-Movement Clause.
And speaking of contracts, by the time we meet again next Thursday, we’ll quite literally be on the cusp of Free Agent Frenzy 2020, which kicks off on October 9 at 9 AM PST.
Thus far, the bulk of the focus has been on the Vancouver Canucks’ own free agents; with Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, and Tyler Toffoli rightfully earning most of the contractual headlines of late.
But if Jim Benning and Co. are unable to retain the entire trio — or, even if they beat the odds and do — the chances are high that they’ll be adding at least one new player through the asset-free magic of unrestricted free agency.
Before the Canucks’ pro scouts get to work, we’d like to hear from you, our amateur pro scouts. This week, we’re asking you:
Which unrestricted free agent on the market would you target this offseason?
(Feel free to pick more than one, of course!)
Which of the Canucks got ripped off the most by the 2020 NHL Awards?
Your (surprisingly even-handed) responses are below!
Beer Can Boyd:
No one was ripped off. Hughes and Markstrom are the only ones of consequence, and I feel that second and fourth are both fair and admirable results. The only one I have any issue with is Benning coming in at #6. Who gets to vote for ‘GM of the Year’ anyways? Player agents? If that’s the case, Benning should have won for sure.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Yeah, I don’t think any player was ripped off. Quinn should have been a little closer but the results are understandable. Makar had a big head start with voters going into the season because of his tremendous playoff debut for the Avs. I still believe Quinn had a much greater impact on the Canucks than Makar did, but my vote doesn’t count. Marky at fourth sounds about right. Most of these awards, outside Calder, are earned over a career unless the numbers are overwhelming.
Honestly, I think the biggest loser was the hockey fan collective. Allowing the media to just openly vote on these things is just plain dumb – the East is over-represented, the West is under-followed, the long-time media guys are often lazy and “go with their gut” or what they’ve generally heard through the echo chamber.
The NHL needs to have each team nominate an equal number of the best-educated or most-savvy reporters, who then would be able to publicly comment and debate on who should be shortlisted for a vote (i.e. in a protected forum or something). Get it all out in the open, let them make the cases for why they think a player is the best, no more of this “I saw Makar play part of a period once, and man he’s ELECTRIC! Hughes is too skinny.” Then short-list from the commentary, summarize why each player is shortlisted, and have the same nominated people vote from this shortlist.
For the record, I do think Makar probably had just the tiniest edge over Hughes; but I also think a lot of people didn’t vote for him out of an intellectual analysis of contribution, potential, difference-making, etc.
While the only Canuck that had any actual chance to win a major award was QH, of course Makar is an excellent blue liner. What doesn’t and has never helped is playing in this time zone. Guys I know who grew up in Ontario and Quebec admit virtually no one watches games from the west coast, and I believe this spills over to members of the press. It’s not really regional chauvinism, per se, just lack of exposure. If this has any bearing on award voting it would be quite understandable.
I have to say no one. The debate for Calder was too close to call, and I think the result would be fair no matter how it resulted. An argument could be that the Avalanche were already a great team and Hughes’ impact on the Canucks was far more significant, but I am satisficed with the result.
And to quote the great Forrest Gump, “That’s all I gotta say about that.”
I’d say Hughes. He’s only the third defenseman ever to lead the league in rookie scoring. That’s an incredible accomplishment. The other two are Orr – the greatest player to ever lace up skates – and Leetch – the greatest Ranger to ever lace up skates! (Admittedly, that’s a backhanded compliment, but his Conn Smythe still stings.)
Without Makar, the Avs are still a playoff team. Without Hughes, the Canucks are nowhere close. Maybe the notoriously lazy and myopic Eastern hockey media confused Quinn with his brother, Jack?
None of the Canucks got ripped off in this year’s awards. The voting was pretty fair and, in my opinion, in one case way-beyond-fair to the Canucks. The only one with a realistic argument that he might have won an award was Hughes, who would have been a deserving winner, though the same can be said of Makar.