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JPat’s Monday Canucks Mailbag: A discount for Lindholm, wingers for EP40, NHL games for Lekkerimaki next season?

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Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
With what felt like the first weekend of summer in these parts, it’s no surprise Cody Severtson abandoned his role as Monday Morning Mailbag guy here at CanucksArmy. Oh sure, he claimed something about having to prepare for the pending birth of his first child, but we all know he ditched his duties and spent the weekend basking in the sunshine at the beach. That’s fine. Others here at CA will pick up the slack and push on in his stead. After all, things are about to heat up on the Canucks’ offseason, and there are mailbag questions that must be answered.
To Cody’s credit though, he is committed to the bit. He even submitted a question to the mailbag to support his ruse. So let’s jump in, shall we?
To the best of my knowledge, it is IMPOSSIBLE to fail pre-natal courses. Of course, the final test doesn’t happen until this baby Cody keeps talking about actually enters the world. Love it, feed it, change its diapers; the rest will come naturally, albeit sometimes awkwardly. Trust me, I speak from experience on this topic (twice).
What won’t flow naturally is Elias Lindholm’s level of satisfaction with a contract offer under $7M per season. With little supply at centre hitting the free agent market next month, Lindholm will be in demand on July 1st. Even if he likes it here in Vancouver, he’d be selling himself short to jump at an offer with a lower annual average value than $7M. Maybe the market will tell him otherwise, but it seems short-sighted on his part not to see what’s available to him if the Canucks can’t get their proposal over the seven million threshold. 
This feels like a trap question from PJ. And if I devote too much time to researching past mailbag producers it will cut into the time I can put into answering far more thought-provoking questions for the readers. Sticking to today’s theme, I’m going to say the CA Mailbag is Cody’s baby and therefore the list starts and ends with him.
There’s that theme again. I don’t really have an answer to this question other than I don’t really believe it to be the case. Then again, this may be from Quadrelli’s burner since I do throw occasional tantrums behind the scenes at CA when Quads tries to assign me stories I don’t want to write. Editor’s note: Great question @TheIceBagKing!
It was clear from the moment the team broke training camp with Phil Di Giuseppe as a top-six winger that there was a need for more in that area of the depth chart. And that was with Andrei Kuzmenko on the roster at the time. So an elite finisher for Elias Pettersson would be at the top of the list. But one scoring winger isn’t enough. This team could benefit from the injection of a couple of proven finishers it can count on to bolster its attack. And obviously getting top end offensive talent to level up at playoff time would go a long way to helping the Canucks take that next step. The Oilers have four point-per-game (or better) performers in the playoffs, while the Panthers have three. The Canucks had one in Brock Boeser, who finished with 12 points in 12 playoff games. Oh, and a fully healthy Thatcher Demko would help, too.
This question flows nicely from the last one. Both Ehlers and Necas would address the Canucks needs on the wing. Ehlers has one year left on a deal that pays him $6M while Necas is an RFA needing a new contract. Ehlers is 28 and is more experienced while Necas is 25. Ehlers is more of a proven commodity with seven 20+ goals NHL seasons on his resume. Necas is more of a wild card with perhaps a higher goal-scoring ceiling. I’m going to say Pettersson would benefit more from a steady, predictable, veteran presence like Ehlers after cycling through a number of wingers this past season. Now, it’s about making that happen that’s a bit of an issue.
While I think the Canucks will still have interest if the veteran winger makes it to free agency, it takes two sides to make a deal. And even if the Canucks put an offer on the table, they won’t be alone. The two-time 40-goal scorer will attract all kinds of attention on July 1st. There have been rumblings out there that the Omaha, NE native wants to remain in the United States.
Unless the Canucks can bend the border, that’s going to make things difficult for them. Also, Elliotte Friedman lofted the notion of Chicago being a team to keep an eye on with all sorts of cap space and a young phenom looking for a finisher to play with. If the Hawks throw the bag at Guentzel, the opportunity to ride shotgun with Connor Bedard for years may be too enticing to pass up. I’m going to say it’s highly unlikely Jake Guentzel is playing for the Vancouver Canucks next season.
Without applying any additional pressure on the youngster, I’m going to say the chances are pretty good that he gets a look at the NHL at some point next season. With where the Canucks are as a team, they don’t need to use Lekkerimaki as a gimmick or a PR ploy. He has to hold up his end of the bargain in his first full season in North America. But given that the Canucks don’t have a lot of high-end prospects in the system Lekkerimaki won’t have to leapfrog a bunch of guys to put himself in consideration for a promotion.
Maybe he has a really strong camp and preseason and is rewarded with an early-season taste of the NHL. Or perhaps he goes down to Abbotsford, does what he does best which is use his shot to create offence and earns a look somewhere along the line. Without knowing what kind of roster moves the Canucks will make in the weeks ahead, it’s impossible to draw up any kind of depth chart just yet. But to answer the question I think it’s fully conceivable to think Jonathan Lekkerimaki plays some NHL games next season.
Well, they could always adopt the Black Skate full time. But beyond that, finalizing and announcing plans for a much-talked-about practice facility would be a big step. It’s so long overdue and has been discussed since the day Jim Rutherford arrived. It’s time for the hockey club to get a shovel in the ground on this project – whatever form it takes. It may not mean much to the fan base, but it would signal to the players that there is a vision from the top and that it is being acted on.
The organization could also extend Rick Tocchet, who has a year plus a club option on his current deal. It would reward the recently named Jack Adams winner for a job well done and would add more stability throughout the franchise. I’m not a season ticket holder, but I’d like to see the Canucks bring back the old summer Town Hall where team executives put themselves front and centre before their paying customers and took unscripted questions about the state of the franchise. It always made for an eventful night. Bring back the Town Hall!
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