We are back with another look back at the week that was in Canuckland.
Once again, there has not been a ton of news but there have been some prominent media members throwing the Canucks name into the hat on some trade sweepstakes.
Let’s get right into it.
Yes, the Canucks have been tied together with trade rumours surrounding the Arizona Coyotes’ captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 29-year-old left shot defenceman has a no-move clause in his contract but according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Ekman-Larsson has Vancouver on his list of teams he would accept a trade to.
Friedman also reported that OEL has the Boston Bruins on his list.
The big problem in this deal is the money. OEL did have a down season last year, he was a guy who typically had incredible advanced stat numbers.
He's bad now and his contract sucks, but 2016 OEL really had no chill pic.twitter.com/SeeHzfKfBc
— Andrew Harris (@andrewharris_97) October 1, 2020
A lot of people hate the idea of trading for Ekman-Larsson.
Personally, I don’t hate the idea, I just don’t see how the Canucks can do this. Once again the rumours about players like Alex Pietrangelo, Aaron Ekblad and now Ekman-Larsson are too tough of a move to pull off when you have committed to Tyler Myers for six years at six million dollars and have Quinn Hughes about to sign a mega-deal that will kick in at the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
The logistics of adding Ekman-Larsson and his 8.25 million dollar cap hit just doesn’t really fit with what the Canucks are doing with their roster.
I think Ekman-Larsson would be a real upgrade to their defence core and that he would make the Canucks a better team.
I just don’t think they can pull off a deal that makes sense to me.
Surprise me Jim.
Nikita Tryamkin is back on my radar
I’ve said that I don’t believe that Nikita Tryamkin is an NHL defenceman. I watched enough of him last year to say that signing him to the Canucks for the 2020-21 season would be a mistake.
I stand by that.
I occasionally tuned into Tryamkin’s first couple of games of the KHL season but now have become fully invested in watching his games. He really looks to have made some improvements to his game since last season.
He has always had brutish strength and you can see that in every game that he plays. The thing that I didn’t see enough of last year was his reactionary decisions. It seemed like every time he was pressured he would just ice the puck and reset with a defensive zone faceoff.
There’s some serious improvement in that part of his game this year. He is making clean zone exit passes and does have upside in his game due to his size and skating ability.
He is in a great spot to have a developmental season in the KHL. He is being coached by former NHL coach Bill Peters and is getting a ton of ice time. Tryamkin is playing first pairing minutes while contributing on the second powerplay unit and being the first defenceman over the boards for the penalty kill.
It’s a strong start to the season for Tryamkin and he has earned another look from me. I’ll keep updates coming on his season as it progresses.
It’s that time of the Friday round-up to talk about Vasili Podkolzin.
Podkolzin had two assists in his game on Wednesday. He played 15:01 in that game and finally was able to get some production out of the COVID ice time that he is receiving with half of his team on the IR with the virus.
Vasili Podkolzin (#92) with a good poke check in the neutral zone that leads to a 2-on-1 where he sets up his teammate for the goal! Primary 🍎assist🍎 for Podkolzin. pic.twitter.com/4EnpVphLTW
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🤙🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) September 30, 2020
The added ice time is good for Podkolzin. He is getting more scoring chances and regularly being used on special teams units.
With the added ice time has come added signs of some flaws in his game. He is still an absolute beast in puck possession but now that he is getting more scoring chances, he is showing that his finishing is lacking just a bit.
His shot needs to be a few inches closer to the corners and that will come. For now, it’s good to see the kid get some ice time and he did produce two points in his game on Wednesday.
Vasili Podkolzin with another scoring chance.
Ok goalie, sick flex. pic.twitter.com/tOIRayOLSW
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🤙🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) September 25, 2020
You guessed it! It’s time for a Nils Höglander update
After a tremendous first two games of the season, Nils Höglander did not register a stat line in his third game of the season on Thursday. He played 14:09 and was excellent in his defensive zone.
In those 14 minutes, he was only on the ice for two shot attempts against and had a Corsi of 84.6% in the game.
It was a quiet game but he looked solid in his time on ice.
The biggest takeaway from his game this week was how good Elias Pettersson’s brother Emil was.
Emil Pettersson scored a goal and set up another one in the win for Växjö. I know it’s not really Canucks news but it was cool to see brother Emil have a good game.
Here's a look at Emil Pettersson's primary assist and goal. pic.twitter.com/Dyg2aax9O1
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🤙🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 1, 2020
Question from Twitter
What's the most important move to build a cup contender and how do you accomplish building towards it in within Elias Pettersson's prime years?
— Michael Chew (@MThrillerChew) October 2, 2020
This is a fun one to answer. Obviously, Elias Pettersson is an elite talent and will be one of the top players in the NHL for the foreseeable future. The question is how do you build around him to not have a Connor McDavid situation.
I think it began with the emergence of Quinn Hughes. Having a top tier defenceman is a key piece on teams that compete for the Stanley Cup. The Canucks hit the jackpot when Hughes fell in their laps at the 2018 NHL draft.
From there, I look at the top line and the depth scoring.
The Canucks have one of the most potent first lines in the NHL. Pettersson is the driving force on that line but surrounding him with a player like JT Miller — who is excellent at controlling puck possession and being a playmaker — is a great start. There is chemistry with Brock Boeser on that line as well, so the top line is not something you need to worry about for a few years.
As for their biggest need, it seems to be depth scoring. We saw in this past playoffs that the Canucks need to get more scoring from their bottom six. In the games where they got goals from the depth guys, they won games.
There are prospects coming that can help bolster that group and I look to players like Kole Lind, Zack MacEwen, Podkolzin and Höglander to help fill that need. One of Höglander or Podkolzin will likely be a top six player. The other one could be the driving force on an offensive third line.
With Adam Gaudette as a centre on that third line, it does create the chance to build a bottom-six line with a real scoring threat every time they are on the ice.
Management needs to be better in the coming years as they look to round out the bottom six. No more big money deals to replacement-level players. They have to be better with their salary cap and are about to see why when Pettersson and Hughes’ new deals kick in.
I like the prospects that this team has but they will need to keep replenishing the cupboards when their current prospects graduate. Entry-level contracts will be their friend over the next few years and if you can find some contributors to the team on low money deals it will only help this team become a contender for a long time.
Thanks for checking out another Friday Round-up, we will see you next Friday!