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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Rathbone’s readiness, Klimovich’s arrival date and checking out fourth-line centre options

It’s been a busy week with the NHL draft, the Jake Virtanen buyout, the OEL trade, and the expansion draft.

There are a ton of topics we can get into this week and we are going to do that as we field this week’s batch of questions.

No funny stuff this week, let’s get right into this week’s questions.

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Though it was originally reported that the Canucks’ 41st overall pick was going to be reporting to the QMJHL, it looks like he will end up in the KHL next season as he will compete in the second-best hockey league in the world.

This is a blessing and a curse. He may get an opportunity to practice and play in a very strong league but he has only signed a trial contract with Dinamo Minsk. In the past, Klimovich has indicated that he was planning on coming over to North America as he was selected by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the 2020 CHL import draft.

Either way, there are some positive takeaways. If he heads to the KHL, he will play in a men’s league with some very good players and if he is able to score at that level, then Canucks fans should be excited for a quick path to the NHL. If he goes to the QMJHL, he is coming to North America and is very likely to sign in the AHL after his time with the Huskies is up.

The negative part to the KHL path is that if he is a star, a big organization like SKA or CSKA may attempt to offer him a very lucrative contract to try and keep him in the KHL.

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The negative part about the QMJHL is that he won’t get a chance to play against men. It’s not the worst situation, as he will be able to score a ton of goals, develop his game with a good organization, and be relied upon to play a ton of minutes.

I’d prefer if he went the QMJHL route and we will have to see how his trial contract goes with Dinamo Minsk.

To answer your question, he’s at least two more seasons away. I’d expect to see his name in the AHL for 2023-24 and then work his way up to the NHL from there.

There’s definitely a spot for Jack Rathbone on this Canucks roster. If they can find a Travis Hamonic type of veteran right-shot defenceman, you are looking at a third pairing that can move the puck and bring a bit of offence from the point. After seeing the way that Hamonic played with Hughes last season, he feels like the perfect option for the Canucks to have with Rathbone on the third pairing.

You don’t want to give a defenceman too much to handle in his rookie season and having Rathbone on the third pairing will help ease him into the NHL. Travis Green doesn’t have to shelter Rathbone as much as he did with Olli Juolevi, as Rathbone is much more advanced in his development than Juolevi was last season. Canucks fans should feel comfortable with Rathbone playing 10-14 minutes of five-on-five time while potentially getting some added ice time on the second power play unit.

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Re-signing Alex Edler doesn’t make a ton of sense anymore for the Canucks. I’d love to see Edler go to a cup contender and hopefully be a third pairing defenceman on that team. Edler playing 22 minutes a night and leading his team in penalty killing minutes just isn’t a recipe for success anymore.

This is the way I see the Canucks’ defence pairings looking like.

Quinn Hughes Nate Schmidt (Trade for cap space for defensive RD?)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Tyler Myers
Jack Rathbone Travis Hamonic

Yaroslav Busygin (LD), Jiri Tichacek (LD), and Trevor Wong (C) are a few names I was surprised to see go through the draft this year. Wong was a real shocker. That kid has game, he’s just short.

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Nope, I have no idea how to scout goalies.

Quads spoke with Ian Clark about Aku Koskenvuo in this article here.

We are working on our new rankings right now.

It will be coming to CanucksArmy over the next few weeks!

I’ll give a couple of options for some cheaper fourth-line centres who likely only sign for a one or two year deal.

Riley Nash is coming off a season where he only had two goals and five assists in 37 games. His offence has fallen off over the past three seasons but when it comes to the defensive side of the ice, he is an analytic darling.

If you’re looking to win the goal share battle with the top-nine and be even on your fourth line, Nash looks like a great option and his down season last year will likely drop his cap hit down from $2,750,000.

I can also see Sean Kuraly being a cheap option as he comes off a season where he only had nine points in 47 games with a 57.4% faceoff percentage.

Finding fourth-line centres shouldn’t be hard and with the Canucks fast-forwarding their roster into what looks like a playoff team with young stars, you’d expect to see more free agents listen to those one-year deals to come play in Vancouver.

I’d like to see the Canucks lock him in for three or four years in the range of $3.9-4.7 million, depending on years.

If they can get him on the lower end of four million, I’d be happy with it and if they can somehow get him in the three-million dollar range, I’d be ecstatic.

Well, that wraps up this week’s mailbag. We have a ton of work to do on the new prospects and will have the website jampacked with content throughout the week. On top of that, free agency opens on Wednesday morning and the Canucks will be looking to make some additions while potentially shopping Nate Schmidt to teams who can’t land a big fish defenceman in free agency.

The offseason is trucking along and it will be a fun couple of weeks before it all slows down in late August.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Monday Mailbag call for questions on Twitter and we will see you next Monday!