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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: What Madison Bowey would mean for the Canucks, Warzone, and what can Olli Juolevi do next season?

Another week, another mailbag. Let’s see what all you wonderful people asked this week!

Stephan Roget is working on a list of potential third pairing defence targets that could fit nicely on the Canucks. As it stands, the Canucks’ third pairing will be hard-pressed to be better than they were last year, and Chris Faber recently broke down what it could look like as things stand.

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One name who some believe could help move the needle in the right direction is Madison Bowey, a right-handed defenceman who spent the last two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

I am not one of these people. In talking to a few people who have seen more of Bowey than I have, the book on him seems to be that he could be a nice depth addition, but won’t be any better than Jordie Benn in a third-pairing role. If the Canucks are looking to improve, Bowey isn’t the answer, but if they’re looking to strengthen their depth and take a flyer on a guy who could benefit from a change of scenery, sure, why not?

His underlying profile isn’t pretty, but again, he could benefit from a change of scenery. I would not mind this as a depth signing at all, but that being said, the contract would have to make sense to the point that it’s a no-risk signing for the Canucks.

After signing Jake Virtanen, the Canucks activated a window in which they could have bought out the contract of Brandon Sutter.

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They chose not to, and now the only way to move him and his contract is via a trade. Sutter has one year remaining at $4.375 million, so if the Canucks were to trade Sutter and retain half the salary, the acquiring team would be adding just $2.188 million onto their cap. To me, that’s a movable contract.

Sutter can still kill penalties effectively and can hold his own defensively at 5 on 5. His offence may have dried up almost completely, but paying just a little over two million for a veteran player who can hold down a defensive fourth line doesn’t seem like a terrible idea.

It’s movable, sure, but I don’t think the Canucks will be getting anything better than a sixth-round pick in return. And at that point, is it even worth moving the player? Jim Benning sounds pretty happy keeping Sutter. This, from The Province’s Ben Kuzma:

The general manager believes the financial relief of Brandon Sutter clearing unconditional waivers and being bought out of the year remaining on a contract that carries a US$4.375 million salary cap commitment —a two-thirds contract formula spreading the buyout over two years and resulting in a $2.333 million saving next season — are trumped by his versatile value as a centre and winger and locker-room presence.

“We have to be careful that we take everything into consideration before we start buying people out,” stressed Benning. “With Sutter, we talked about different scenarios for leaders in our group. And there are things that people see on the ice in some of their thinking, but to lose him would be a big void in our room.”

This is a tough one, and obviously every situation is different. For the Canucks specifically, signing Brock Boeser to a bridge deal seems like a good idea, as he’s not quite a “superstar” but is still a very talented player.

In the case of Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, however, the Canucks should be trying to lock them up for as long as possible and for as low as possible.

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When we examine Pettersson’s abilities and what he’s been able to do over a two year sample size (not to mention an exceptional performance in the playoffs) it becomes clear that he’s only going to get better from here.

As the Canucks begin to improve, so too will Pettersson, and the Canucks should try to keep him for as long as possible. That being said, signing a deal that keeps him RFA eligible at its expiry could also be a smart move, but then again, who knows how good he’ll be by that time?

Bridge contracts have their pros and cons, but for the Canucks, there are likely more cons than pros when it comes to locking up their two superstars next offseason.

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If you’ve read my work for a while now, you likely know that I’m a believer in Olli Juolevi’s ability to lock down a spot on the third pair out of training camp.

He was exceptional at the second training camp of the 2019-20 season, and looked comfortable in the limited minutes he played during his NHL debut.

If he can come in and have another strong camp, I have no doubt in my mind he can be an effective third pairing defenceman next season. He kills penalties, blocks shots at a high rate, moves the puck well, and has a strong defensive IQ. It will be up to Juolevi to earn the spot, but I currently have him pencilled into the opening night lineup, given how high the Canucks’ management group is on him.

I actually have a scenario in my mind where we see Juolevi in the top four, but more on that later this week…

And now for some non hockey-related questions.

For those who aren’t familiar, Call of Duty Warzone is a battle royale type game where the last team standing wins. You drop onto a massive map alongside 100+ other players, and try to be the last team alive at the end of it all.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty okay at this game, as is Chris Faber, who I play with quite often. The subject of Wyatt’s tweet stems from a game I played with him in which I purchased a UAV (radar device that shows enemy position for about 30 seconds) instead of buying Wyatt back into the game for the same price. It was an honest mistake, but one I know I will never live down.

This also doesn’t look good on me, but Wyatt, JD, Faber and I were playing together, and I suggested buying an armour box (which gives the whole team full armour) without realizing JD was in need of being bought back. I didn’t end up purchasing the armour box, and JD was bought back into the game, everybody just relax.

That’s all for this week! Thanks to everybody who sent in questions, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @QuadreIli to ask a question in a future mailbag!

Have a great week folks!