Monday Mailbag: MacEwen should play in every game, ranking the Canucks’ centre prospects and who is the top prospect in the 2021 draft?

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
2 years ago
Another Monday, another mailbag.
I’m back covering for David Quadrelli. He was making carbonara for his family and accidentally cooked the eggs so he lost his internet access for the week.
Carbonara aside, I do always love covering for him on the Monday mailbag.
So let’s see what the wonderful people of Twitter asked us this week.
So, the Canucks have their top-six forwards for what will hopefully be the next 10 years. Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat aren’t going anywhere so for this question, I am going to rank the potential for these players as a third-line centre in the Canucks organization.
I’ll just give you my rankings and then try to explain it a bit.
  1. Kole Lind
  2. Adam Gaudette
  3. Carson Focht
  4. Dmitri Zlodeyev
  5. Arvid Costmar
  6. Lukas Jasek
  7. Marc Michaelis
Let’s start with the bottom of the list. To me, each of Michaelis, Jasek and Costmar should be wingers. They each have some pace to their skating, but they are better utilized on the wing. Less defensive responsibility will give them some freedom to play to their strengths. Costmar is good when he can run around and piss off the opposition, while Jasek and Michaelis have to be able to create open ice for themselves to be successful offensively.
Zlodeyev and Focht are both very interesting cases.
Over in Russia, Dmitri Zlodeyev is a pure centre. He doesn’t need to learn the position, because defensively, he is excellent at being in the right spot on the ice. Zlodeyev is good in the faceoff dot and does a great job around the net. He is an exciting prospect to follow because he is just so creative with his quick problem-solving during games.
It’s hard to not be excited about Carson Focht right now. He has immediately made an impact at the AHL level as a centre. He looks strong in the faceoff dot and loves to shoot the puck. There are some things he needs to work on before fans begin to clamour for a call-up, but he is on the right track to make a case for an NHL game in the future.
Adam Gaudette looks like a top-six winger to me. This is the best I have seen Gaudette play since his time at Northeastern. As a winger, he is much more free to use his speed and get pucks on net with ease. I’ve shown the stat a ton of times, but Adam Gaudette is now the second-highest creator of individual scoring chances in the NHL. He has a good shot, the points will eventually come. I’d like to see him stay on the wing.
Kole Lind is number one in my power rankings for who could be a 3C in the future for the Canucks.
I like Lind’s game. When he is comfortable and confident, he is incredibly hard to play against with his speed and skill on top of being loud, annoying and sassy to his opponents on the ice. Lind is not afraid to drop the gloves and throws his body around with reckless abandonment. If he is able to develop into a centre from his time in Utica, Trent Cull and the Utica development group deserve a fancy medal.
I don’t know if the Canucks have their future 3C in the fold right now. I’m intrigued with Lind and his transition but that’s a lot to ask of a guy who has just begun to figure out what he needs to do to be a pro. Now, you are throwing a huge loop to him with a position change. It will be an interesting storyline to follow and you know Comets Cory and I will be all over it all season long.
Have you seen this floated on Canucks Twitter Josh?
Or was this from my article last week about 3 ways to shake up the lineup and give the Canucks some top nine scoring?
This was my proposed lineup with the addition of Sven Baertschi and spreading out of offensive centres to make three lines that have the potential to score.
They aren’t perfect, but all three of the top lines have the potential to score goals. That is something that you can’t say about all three lines in the Canucks’ top nine over the past few years.
I like the idea of J.T. Miller going to the third line if The Lotto Line can’t make it happen. Personally, I believe that line can get their game back on track. They were too good together last season and you are getting a vastly improved Brock Boeser this year. It’s time to find what isn’t clicking on The Lotto Line and most fingers point towards Miller.
So, maybe my article from last week the floating thoughts on Twitter are right, Miller as a 3C should be an option for this team. Once you add Vasily Podkolzin into the group, it instantly gives you another quality top-nine winger to add with the offensive centres.
Rick Dhaliwal reported the following on Saturday: “Motte is doing some light skating, has high ankle sprain, going to be a while yet but should return.”
We will keep you updated once Travis gives an update or if more reports surface.
It’s way too early and I haven’t done more than maybe 20 hours of film so far. I’ve seen Michigan’s Big Three a lot and like them all.
Here’s how my top five candidates for best draft-eligible prospect plays out.
Matt Beniers is number one on my draft board. He would be the perfect answer to the earlier question about a 3C who can do it all for you. The kid is something special and does the little things to get wins.
After that, it’s the three defencemen in Brandt Clarke, Luke Hughes and Owen Power.
In that order.
My wildcard for number one is William Eklund. I haven’t gone through the tape yet, but from my limited viewings, I really like what I see.
Here’s my way too early top five:
  1. Matt Beniers (C) (Left-Handed)
  2. Brandt Clarke (RHD)
  3. Luke Hughes (LHD)
  4. Owen Power (LHD)
  5. William Eklund (LW) (Left-Handed)
Draft coverage is just beginning now at CanucksArmy. After a weird draft in which the Canucks didn’t pick until late in the third round, we will be back with some great coverage of potential picks for them at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. We are just in the midst of establishing a plan and I’ve made some preliminary calls to some Universities, scouts and coaches.
If you can create a line where Jake Virtanen can slack in the defensive zone and be ready to pounce when the puck possession changes, you can get the best out of him.
He can be a player who fits in your top-six but he shouldn’t be relied upon for anything in the defensive zone and if that’s the case then you need to see offensive production. Virtanen can give you that and he’s an excellent power play producer on the second unit.
Virtanen isn’t a top-line player who can go out and beat the Leafs on a consistent basis and he’s not a guy who belongs on your fourth line. There’s a sweet spot in the middle and whichever team can find that spot is going to be very happy with Virtanen in their lineup.
I asked him and he said that he’s never had it.
For the record, we aren’t talking until he tries it.
Don’t expect any more articles from me anytime soon.
This is the best question in this week’s mailbag.
There is no answer that makes sense to me.
Zack MacEwen has played in 15 of 28 games this season.
There is no answer that you can give me that would convince me that MacEwen shouldn’t have been in all 28 of the games. He has the potential for bottom-six offence, plays his ass off, has the size and will fight anyone in the league.
It’s a grand slam home run to have him on the fourth-line alongside Tyler Motte and Jay Beagle all season long. It’s too bad that he isn’t overpaid like some other players because then he might be a consistent fixture in the Canucks’ lineup.
He is fifth on the team in shot attempts per minute and that is exactly what a fourth line needs: a big body who goes to the net and takes the puck with him.
The one thing that keeps him out of the lineup is his inability to kill penalties. Travis Green likes his fourth-liners to be able to contribute to the penalty kill. This is something MacEwen hasn’t shown yet and if he can add that to his game, expect to see him a lot more in 2021-22.
Thanks again to all you great people for sending in some fun questions.
I always love writing these articles as it’s a lot of fun to connect with the readers!
David Quadrelli should be back next week but if not, I’ll be here to answer your questions on Twitter. Be sure to follow Quads, CanucksArmy and me on Twitter for the call of questions every Saturday or Sunday!

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