Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet that experiences a breakout performance on a weekly basis.
Speaking of breaking out, hockey players do it every year. But by their very nature, breakouts are unexpected and surprising, so the real trick is identifying which players are going to break out in any given season.
Between now and the start of the 2022/23 campaign, the Canucks are going to undergo some substantial changes, with several players leaving and several others coming in to take their place. Today, however, we’re focused on the holdovers; those players who will stick around for at least another season — and, specifically, those players who we think are going to produce (a lot) more in 2022/23 than they did in 2021/22.
This week, we’re asking you:
Which Vancouver Canuck is going to break out in 2022/23?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Which former Canuck(s) would you add to the organization in an off-ice role?
You answered below!
While I don’t like just bringing back old players for roles they have no experience in, I’d like to see somebody like Hansen come back as an advisor to management.
Chris the Curmudgeon:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
The former player I would most like to see brought back in a managerial role isn’t a fresh face to the front office. It’s Trevor Linden. Linden’s hard-won reputation among the Canucks fans took significant damage from the messy split that ended his tenure as the President of Hockey Operations. It is possible that he was miscast in that role, but it’s also pretty clear that the acrimony stemmed largely from his and Benning’s visions of the team not being well-aligned. Specifically, rumor has it that Linden was an advocate of a deeper rebuild, whereas Benning sold ownership on the ability to right the ship more quickly. It’s clear that Benning’s vision was deeply flawed, while Trevor was probably correct, given the benefit of hindsight (or even without it, as many others shared that view at the time). So, I think a public facing position with a lot of community engagement would be a strong fit for Linden, and would also give him the chance to rehabilitate his legacy in the eyes of the fans.
Burrows as a head coach in-waiting behind Bruce. Bruce and Burr.
They probably can’t afford him now because of the big bucks he’s getting paid on HNIC, but bring back Juice! He does know defence, and has an analytical mind.
In theory, Sutter is still on the team. His contract lapses in a few weeks.
His stint with the Canucks wasn’t a success, mostly due to injuries and illness that he could never shake off. But his professionalism and knowledge of the two-way game is beyond dispute. At his peak, he was also good at faceoffs and penalty killing.
He might well make a fine scout or coach.
I would love a return of Malholtra as assistant coach/ eye in the sky role.
May not be room for him, but always thought he was underrated: Craig Heisinger. While with the Canucks-affiliated Manitoba Moose, he found Burrows and has been an excellent GM with a good eye for talent.
While it’s nostalgic to think of former players in off-ice roles I don’t think it’s particularly useful. Why would any team limit their search for talented people to former players of that team? There are former Canucks demonstrating some off-ice skill, so you certainly want to consider them.
One ex-Canuck I’d love to see build a career in hockey management is Biega. With an MBA and an unimpeachable work ethic, he could have some real potential. I used to joke about who was more in awe of Biega; Goldobin watching him on the bench press or Virtanen listening to him explain macroeconomics?
Purely an emotional thought, but I’d like to see Kirk McLean more often. He appears to enjoy pulling on the ‘90s gear and bringing back some fond memories. He makes himself pretty visible anyway, so why not bring him back in a more formal way?
Sami Salo as defense coach. And Tanev when he retires in 3 or 4 years.
Kevin Bieksa as a defense coach.
No one really. Remember the Oilers OBC? Why repeat that same kind of process here? Say no to franchise legends counting paper clips.
None, unless they earn jobs on merit, after thorough job-screening processes. We already have Sedin x2, Samuelsson, Higgins, King, and RJ. How many ex-Canucks do we need?
Funny, before this season I would have said Scott Walker. Now I would say that I would like to see Trevor Linden back in some capacity (will never happen). One thing we know is that he was right in the assessment and direction he wanted to take this team. Have to be honest, no one really comes to mind. TL won’t happen, so let’s get someone who knows the job and can help the group regardless of where they came from.
None, if there is not a qualified candidate. I would like to see prospective alumni put in the time in learning from the ground up with other organizations, and not expect to be handed a position.
The front office seems to have plenty of people to run the team, but there are some coaching positions to fill, and maybe more if Brad Shaw is hired as an NHL Head Coach as recently rumored. I’m not positive, but I think Kevin Bieksa has a young family and might not want to be away all the time, so I’m thinking of Sami Salo. A very underrated NHL defenceman that I believe is coaching in his native Finland currently. Could be a fit as an Assistant Coach.
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