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Monday Mailbag: Canucks third line centre targets, evaluating the Arshdeep Bains addition, and Motte’s max deal

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Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
Faber
By Faber
8 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks find themselves on the outskirts of a playoff spot with 22 games remaining to make up the ground they need to clinch a postseason berth.
As the team pushes for the playoffs, it is becoming the season of NCAA and European free agents. The Canucks took advantage of the occasion when they signed local kid Arshdeep Bains last week. Once Bains’ WHL season and playoff run conclude, he will be able to join the Abbotsford Canucks on an amateur tryout contract and contribute to their middle-six forward group.
That is where we start the mailbag as we evaluate Bains’ place in the Canucks’ prospect pool.
Even though Bains is leading the WHL in points, it doesn’t immediately jolt him into the Canucks’ top-five in terms of their prospect pool. The Canucks need to add this type of player but it’s not necessarily only about the quality when it comes to NCAA or CHL free agents — it’s as much about the quantity. Bains is a great addition to the prospect pool because he is free and has some NHL skills.
Bains’ hands are at a very high level, and are likely the main reason why the Canucks wanted to sign him. He can stickhandle and receive passes at full speed with no problem at all. On top of his hands, he has a shot that is quick and can beat goalies with consistency at the WHL level.
The question for these types of additions is always about how they can adjust to the next level. For Bains, he needs to now prove himself in the AHL. He isn’t going to get special treatment because of how high his point totals were in the WHL.
I really like the signing of Bains and I think after a look in the AHL this year and next, we may then be able to discuss him making a case for a top-10 prospect in the system. For now, I’m going to need to see what he can do in pro hockey before evaluating where he ranks in the prospect pool.
Be excited about this kid but be excited to see what he can do in the AHL next year, not the NHL just yet.
It has been a tough 2022 for Arturs Silovs.
There was so much promise about the 20-year-old goalie playing in the backup role out in Abbotsford. That changed once the Canucks found that they may have a diamond in the rough with Spencer Martin.
Now, Silovs is practicing with the Abbotsford Canucks and getting a lot of time with goalie coach Curtis Sanford, but he hasn’t played a full game since January 17th. He has one start since then and was pulled on January 30th after allowing four goals on 21 shots.
Silovs is the third-wheel in Abbotsford and it is part of the win-win-win situation that can occur if the Canucks trade Jaroslav Halak. Silovs’ current situation is a bit of a worry but even if he is moved into the backup role next year, it is still ahead of schedule for a goalie who will be 21 years old next season.
The Canucks seemed to have found a goalie that they like with their 2019 sixth-round pick. I am not too worried about this season because he’s already gotten 10 games this year and for a 20-year-old, that’s a good step in the right direction.
Expect to see Silovs play 20+ games next year and the goal should be to challenge Mikey DiPietro for games. The raw talent that Silovs has should excite fans and he is the type of lengthy 6’4″ goalie that goalie coaches want to work with.
The top centre for the Canucks to target is right-shot centre Vincent Trocheck. If the Canucks were to spend in free agency, it’s clear that Trocheck should be top of their list.
There are some cheaper free agent options like Nick Paul, Victor Rask or take a shot on Curtis Lazar being a bounce-back candidate.
As for restricted free agents centres, there could be a fit with Pavel Zacha out of New Jersey. It feels like he isn’t going to want to return to the Devils this summer. It could be a fit for the Canucks in a trade involving someone like Travis Hamonic, Tucker Poolman or Jason Dickinson.
On a two-year deal, the max I’d like to see is $2,300,000.
As for a four-year deal, that’s a lot of term to give to a guy who plays in the bottom part of your lineup. I’m sticking it at $2,000,000 on a four-year deal.
I don’t believe that John Marino is worth more than Brock Boeser or Conor Garland and if I’m forced to move on from one, it’s likely Boeser.
Garland is on a great contract and brings so much to the Canucks at five-on-five. There’s just a feeling that Boeser makes a lot of sense as a Penguin and you can say the same for Marino with Patrick Allvin and Jim Rutherford being the two who are at the top of Canucks’ management.
This trade is so complicated because you are dealing a right-shot defenceman for an RFA who has their contract expiring and needs a new deal. I’d think the Penguins need to send picks back and take either Poolman or Dickinson’s contract back. If it’s Dickinson, you may be able to get an even better pick back because the Dickinson experiment may just not work in Vancouver. I’d imagine he’s a player with a profile that many teams still believe in.
I’ll rock with Gonzaga but I’m not letting go of my Spartans over at Michigan State.
Though the AHL is an option for Nils Höglander, it doesn’t feel like a real possibility. There are no better options than Höglander in the AHL and though Boudreau is hard on him, this tough love likely helps Höglander on his way to reaching his top potential.
Höglander has offensive skills but needs to work on his play defensively. I remember the offseason before his second-last SHL year, Höglander wanted to work on his defensive game. His coaches were blown away with his work ethic in the offseason and during practices. He wants to be the best player possible and he will work as hard as anyone to get there.
A stint in the AHL crushes too much confidence for a 21-year-old who fits into the NHL game. I’d stay away from a demotion because it could hurt his confidence too much and doesn’t make sense when it comes to icing the best NHL team.
Well, that wraps up another Monday mailbag! As always, thank you to all the great people on Canucks’ Twitter for asking their questions. We will be back next week with another installment of the CanucksArmy Monday mailbag.

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