Monday Mailbag: Why Vasily Podkolzin should be killing penalties, and mapping out a positive 2023 trade deadline for the Canucks

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
1 year ago
What was looking like a pretty chill All-Star week turned into a five-alarm fire over here at CanucksArmy when the Vancouver Canucks traded Bo Horvat. We’ve now had some time to take in the return for Horvat and as of Sunday morning, we know that Horvat has signed an eight-year contract extension to the tune of an $8,500,000 average annual value with the Islanders.
Captain Bo went and got his money and we wish him nothing but success in the future. He carried the torch through a dark time in Canucks history and deserves every penny of that $68,000,000.
We’ve had a chance to watch a couple of Aatu Räty games in the AHL and still have another first-round pick to get excited about. All in all, it was a good week for the Canucks in terms of them showing their true direction. You hope that this kind of trade with a view to the future is not just a one-off, but with an extension to J.T. Miller last summer and an extension to Andrei Kuzmenko just last week, the Canucks’ plan is still feeling a bit muddy.
The All-Star break is now behind us and the Canucks will take to the ice on Monday at 4:30 to begin a road trip. They will be without Horvat for the first time and it’s surely going to be a weird feeling for the players as they take to the ice with newcomer Anthony Beauvillier here to help fill the large hole that Horvat leaves in the Canucks’ lineup.
We would want to see the Canucks continue to wade into the deep end of a rebuild but see that the team wants to be competitive in as little as two years. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done but moving Horvat for a pretty solid return is a great step in the right direction.
With all that being said, we are here to answer some mailbag questions. It’s our favourite time of the week and we have a bunch of great questions to get to.
So, without wasting any more words, let’s reach into the mailbag and see what the wonderful people of #CanucksTwitter had to ask this week.
As we said in the waste-of-words introduction of this article, we hope that the Canucks continue to make more moves that are closer to a rebuild than trying to be competitive in the here and now. Moving on from Horvat was a big step that likely came with a lot of discussions internally about the direction of this franchise.
The remaining cards that the Canucks have to play are in question due to the cap situation of the NHL. The only player who we truly believe will be traded ahead of the deadline is Luke Schenn.
The 33-year-old right-shot defenceman should return something around a third or second-round pick. His cap hit is very low and Schenn can provide a strong boost to a team’s depth on defence. We think that a third-round pick as the return is fine, getting a second would be good and if the Canucks are somehow able to snag a second-round pick and a prospect, that would be amazing.
There’s still a chance that the Canucks could move one of Brock Boeser or Conor Garland, but right now, it feels like with their cap hits, the return would not be very good.
Thatcher Demko’s name has been floated but that is a bold move that has been complicated with his slow start to the season and then an injury that has kept him out of action for months.
Jack Rathbone might be a name that shows up more and more as the deadline approaches. You’d think that he and his camp are hoping for more of a chance at the NHL and maybe a team who is weaker on the left-side of their defence than the Canucks are would want to make a move for Rathbone.
In the end, I think that a positive 2023 trade deadline would be acquiring a second-round pick for Schenn and maybe using some of the Canucks’ cap space to acquire an asset and becomes a team that eats some salary for a contending team.
From the look of their lines on Sunday, Vasily Podkolzin appears to be skating with Sheldon Dries and Brock Boeser.
A question that I hope to have answered from Monday’s game is if Podkolzin will be killing penalties for new head coach Rick Tocchet. Podkolzin feels somewhat like a chameleon with how he can blend to what his head coach wants, and right now, Tocchet wants guys in the bottom-six to be able to bring something to the team aside from solid work at five-on-five.
Podkolzin got a bit of time on the penalty kill during his time with the Abbotsford Canucks, but he wasn’t the first forward over the bench when his team went down a man. He got a bit of time here and there but has a lot of experience killing penalties before he came over to North America.
We’re hoping that Podkolzin comes back with some added confidence as it looked like he was feeling it near the end of his AHL stint. He was shooting the puck a ton and we want to see him continue to do that at the NHL level.
Tocchet is going to like Podkolzin and we believe this is the right time to get Podkolzin back in the the NHL.
I would be surprised if they did but I feel like I’ve been surprised all season long.
Maybe the Thatcher Demko rumours are true or perhaps Brock Boeser will be able to find a new home soon.
I’d still be surprised to see another big trade in-season.
I’d doubt that this matters to Canucks fans. It didn’t work out last time and I doubt it works out this time.
Nikita Tryamkin is big, can skate a bit, but he has not looked like a player who is knocking the door down to make the jump from the KHL to the NHL because of how well he is playing.
With Riley Stillman, Kyle Burroughs, and Travis Dermott hanging around that left-side spot on the third pairing, it’s very difficult to get Christian Wolanin onto the roster, let alone into the lineup.
Those of us who have been following Wolanin’s season have been impressed. He had a great preseason and has looked like one of the best defencemen in the AHL this season.
Wolanin moves the puck well and has a good pace in his skating. He is one of the leaders of the AHL in assists and with the way this Canucks team is going, they should absolutely give Wolanin a shot to play. I’d be completely fine seeing Stillman head to the AHL and give Wolanin a chance to play in the NHL for a bit.
He’s put in the work to earn an opportunity and I hope he gets it at some point this season.
That wraps up this week’s Monday Mailbag. Thanks to everyone for sending in their questions this week! I’ll check back for some #MM in the comments section this week if we want to try and get that going again. Leave a comment with the hashtag #MM and I’ll check back before next week’s mailbag.
We are back to Canucks hockey this week and by golly are we in for a wild finish to the season. The storylines will not stop coming and we will be here every step of the way to have you covered and hopefully have some fun along the way.

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