Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
Monday Mailbag: Canucks trade targets, Boeser’s 30th, early awards frontrunners, and more!
2 months ago
Eh, it’s another Monday drag, which means another CanucksArmy mailbag.
A rollercoaster game against the Chicago Blackhawks followed a snoozer of a game against the Minnesota Wild.
You had questions; I had answers!
Let’s get into another Mailbag following a BIG Canucks victory over the Blackhawks.
During which specific game does Brock Boeser score hsi 30th goal of the season?
As of now, Boeser is on track to score 59 goals.
Boeser would hit 30 goals within the next 9 to 11 games at his current scoring pace.
The Canucks’ schedule over their next 9 to 11 games includes matchups against Nashville, San Jose, Ottawa, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.
This is the list of upcoming opponents with Brock’s historical goalscoring pace beside each.
If I were a betting man.
And I am. Bad at it! But I am, yes.
Assuming he doesn’t score eight goals against the Sharks on the 23rd, I would bet on Boeser to hit 30 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
His best goalscoring results have come against the Penguins, so it would be fitting for him to crack 30 then.
If the season ended Monday, who are your picks to win the NHL awards?
- Hart: David Pastrnak
Did you know Pastrnak has 15 more points than the second-leading scorer in Boston, Brad Marchand? Nikita Kucherov holds a 17-point gap over the next leading scorer in Tampa, but Boston leading the Eastern Conference with a plus-22 goal differential secures him his first Hart.
- Lady Byng: Jaccob Slavin
Considering his usage in Carolina since his 2015-16 debut, it’s wild that Slavin has four seasons under his belt with fewer than ten accrued PIMs. Given how poorly things have gone for Carolina this season, he’s due for the second of his career.
- Vezina: Adin Hill
I mostly just picked this to see the steam blow out of Quads’ ears for not choosing a disciple of Ian Clark.
- Calder: Connor Bedard
A 7-point lead over Marco Rossi while leading the Blackhawks in scoring, with an 8-point lead over teammate Philipp Kurashev? Yeah. This one’s locked up. Don’t bother telling me the underlying metrics. What Bedard is doing is unreal for a kid who won’t even turn 19 until July!
- Norris: Quinn Hughes
He’s due. Singlehandedly stirring the drink for Vancouver. Without him, the house of cards collapses.
- Masterton: Brock Boeser
- Jack Adams: Paul Maurice
- Selke: Aleksander Barkov
The Panthers have outscored the opposition 23 to 5 with Barkov on the ice at 5v5. That’s after the club spent most of the season without Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad. Barkov will have to contend with legacy Selke nominee Anze Kopitar, who is having a phenomenal year with the Kings at 36 years old. But I think this is his year.
- Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award: Rob Blake
As much as I believe Patrik Allvin has this locked up if the Canucks make the playoffs and make some noise. It’s hard to ignore what Rob Blake has done since stewarding the Kings through a firesale rebuild back to contention. I have to believe this is his year, especially after turning most of his rebuild-phase draftees and draft capital into players like Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidsson, Erik Portillo, and Vlad Gavrikov. Blake’s bold trades, pipeline management, holding tight on Quintin Byfield and Brandt Clarke and showing confidence in rolling out a tandem featuring Phoenix Copley and Cam Talbot after all those moves should earn him this year’s award.
Then there are the boring awards that are based on raw stats:
- Jennings: Phoenix Copley and Cam Talbot for the LA Kings
- Art Ross: Nikita Kucherov
- Rocket Richard: Brock Boeser and Auston Matthews
Which young defenceman has progressed the most this year?
Firstly, thanks to Satiar Shah for entertaining my goofy reply to his call for questions with a call for my own.
Secondly, the easy answer here has to be Hunter Brzustewicz, whose omission from Team USA’s World Junior roster had every scout in the hockey community shaking their head. Brzustewicz has almost matched his draft-year points totals in half-as-many games. If his production keeps up, he will be the first defenceman to crack 100 points since Ryan Ellis did it with the Windsor Spitfires back in 2010-11 in his Draft+2 season. Ellis was, of course, a first-round pick for the Nashville Predators who’d go on to play 32 NHL games in each of his first two seasons with the team after turning pro. Yes, Brzustewicz is playing on a stacked Rangers squad.
Credit to Sawyer Mynio, who had a great showing at training camp before signing his entry-level contract ahead of his Draft+1 campaign. Mynio is on pace to quadruple his previous season-high in goals.
If we’re expanding “young d” to include those on the AHL Farm, I’d give an appreciative nod to Filip Johansson, who has overcome a rocky start and has settled in quite nicely as the season has progressed. A volume shooter, Johansson leads all defencemen in shots on net with 34 total through 20 games. In addition to playing heavy minutes on a pairing with Matt Irwin, Johansson has been a second unit power play feature as the club’s one-timer option on the left side, as well as a prominent feature on Abbotsford’s penalty kill, which presently ranks 6th-best in the AHL. While his production and skating still have a ways to go, his adaptation to the size and speed of North American hockey on a smaller ice rink while playing such an important role is highly encouraging.
Make sure to follow Dave Hall’s Blackfish Prospect Report for updates on all of these defencemen!
Rank these trade targets from most interesting to least:
Jake Guentzel reconnecting with Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin would be awesome. However, I’d expect Pittsburgh to extend Guentzel and maintain the Crosby-Guentzel dynamic until Sid’s current contract expires at the end of 2024-25. That said, Guentzel-Miller or Guentzel-Pettersson are duos that sound juicy as hell.
Adam Larsson would be interesting as a short-term fit to replace Ian Cole or Tyler Myers’ minutes next season (assuming neither returns to Vancouver). But at what cost? Larsson is a first-pairing defenceman for Seattle, logging the most minutes of anyone at 5-on-5 and the second-most on the penalty kill. The Kraken aren’t going to give away a guy like Larsson for peanuts just because their season hasn’t gone their way.
Jonatan Berggren would be an interesting pick-up based on scoring profile alone. Since making his NHL debut last season, Berggren is 7th by goals scored per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time among all Detroit skaters and 10th by points/60, with an individual shooting percentage of 12.2%. That was while playing mostly with Joe Veleno, Austin Czarnik, Andrew Copp, or David Perron as his linemates in a 3rd or 4th-line role. On the power play, Berggren ranks 5th by goals/60 among Red Wings’ skaters. Berggren has waffled in and out of the NHL lineup despite playing 67 games for Detroit in 2022-23. He’s expected to lose his waiver ineligibility next season. So, if the Red Wings were looking to move on, I’d absolutely inquire if I were the Canucks. Again, like Larsson and Guentzel above, cost permitting.
Dante Fabbro with Roman Josi over the last two seasons: positive control of shot attempts, scoring chances, high-danger chances, goals, and expected goals while outscoring the opposition 24 to 21 at even strength. Dante Fabbro, with practically every other Nashville blueliner over that same time, has seen the Preds out-attempted, outshot, outscored, and out-chanced at even strength. At $2.5 million for just one year, with arbitration rights, I don’t see any value in acquiring him mid-season unless they were being paid to take him.
Patrik Laine makes $8.7 million as a sharply-dressed power play goalscoring machine and occasional 1st line center for Columbus. He’s making $8.7-million for Columbus and is on track for 40 points—hard pass.
[Trade suggestion] Kuzmenko and Myers for Tom Wilson and Nick Jensen
No, no, no, no, no.
Tom Wilson is about to begin a 7-year, $45.5-million dollar contract with a 15-team no-trade list that reduces to a 10-team no-trade list in the final three years of the contract.
NO NO NO NO NO!
Maybe if this was back in 2018-19 when Wilson was in the early stages of his 6-year $31-million dollar contract. But good lord, not now. That contract is a guaranteed anchor for whoever keeps it on their books. If you buy the contract out at the end of the 2024-25 season, the team buying it out only gets a maximum savings of $3.4-million in the first year of the deal. Then it’s a $1-million hit for six years.
Jensen is a big minute eater for the Capitals, with positive underlying numbers, but is 33 years old, making $4-million for the next three years. He has 4 assists through 27 games this season.
I’m not sure it makes any sense to pay a near-40 goalscoring sweetener to offload one expiring deal for two potential anchors. Regardless of their potential on-ice contributions, this is the kind of desperation move that late-era Jim Benning would make to help the club win now. The team stands to be perfectly positioned, sitting tight on their underperforming assets and expiring contracts rather than paying sweeteners to sell low.
They should simply save the money and continue the bargain-bin shopping approach that has paid off so well throughout Allvin’s tenure as the Canucks General Manager.
Rank the ways to die in Oregon Trail and associate them with the Canucks
- Fever: Rallying back from a three-goal deficit against the New Jersey Devils only to lose in the final minute of regulation.
- Dysentery: The 2-zip shutout loss to Philadelphia after crushing the Cup-favourite Oilers by a score of 12 to 4.
- Exhaustion: Quinn Hughes’ 29:49 of ice time during a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
- Snakebite: The annual victim of shooting regression this year: Andrey Kuzmenko.
- Broken leg: Tying the game against the Rangers in the third period, only for the Rangers the win it in overtime off of a blown call.
- Broken arm: The Vegas Golden Knights game where Vancouver got outshot 44 to 21 on home ice.
- Measles/Typhoid/Cholera: Any time Dom Luczyszyn took a victory lap over a Canucks loss to an Eastern Team.
- Drowning: Losing to Toronto after starting the season 10-2-1.
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