WDYTT: Dark horses to crack the Vancouver Canucks’ roster in 2022–23

Photo credit:© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that’s not currently trying to convince you to gamble.
Speaking of placing bets, it’s just about time to start prognosticating the 2022–23 NHL season. The returning Penticton Young Stars Classic kicks off in four weeks’ time, training camp follows, and then we’re on to game action before you know it.
Most are of the opinion that the Vancouver Canucks’ 2022–23 roster is not yet in its final form, and so predicting the exact opening night lineup is challenging. But there’s still plenty that can be speculated upon in the meantime, and one such topic is that of dark horse challengers for an NHL job in the immediate future.
Andrey Kuzmenko is virtually guaranteed a spot as a (non-Calder-eligible) rookie, and both Jack Rathbone and Will Lockwood are expected to get fair shakes. Beyond that, however, the Canucks have an organizational depth chart filled with question marks.
But that’s the cool thing about question marks: sometimes, they get answered in surprisingly positive ways. And every so often, a dark horse comes out of nowhere to force their way onto an NHL roster via a strong training camp or a string of excellent play in the minor leagues, and every so often that NHL roster is the roster of the Vancouver Canucks.
At this point, you can probably see where this is going.
This week, we’re asking you:

Who is your dark horse pick to crack the Canucks’ roster in 2022–23?

Let it be known in the comment section.

Last week, we asked you to:

Make a Vancouver Canucks trade proposal (that you think is both fair and beneficial to the team).

You answered below!
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
If I was Allvin, I would revisit the Rangers offer of Chytil, Lundkvist, and a first round pick for Miller. Hopefully they’re still willing to make it, or something similar. They could probably use the Rangers first round pick to take someone like Hunter Brzustewicz. He and Lundkvist would instantly become the Canucks best prospects at RD by a wide margin, and they could use their own first round pick to draft a center like Riley Heidt or Calum Ritchie. Those are moves that would make the team less competitive over the short term, but more so over the long term, putting their defense and center positions on much firmer footing.
Vancouver receives Mercer + 2023 protected 1st (top-10).
NJ receives Miller 50% salary retained.
I am Ted:
Canucks need to make moves so let’s start with the obvious: JT Miller. Hurricanes are able to take on Miller and extend him as they have a lot of room on the books after this season.
2023 1st round pick
Seth Jarvis (C)
Scott Morrow (RHD)
I’d then look at moving Garland – solid player on a solid deal, but we need cap space. The obvious options would be teams with cap room and you don’t have to worry about any extension talks etc. So, maybe the Sabres, Senators, or the contenders deal for him. I don’t know what the ask is or what the market would be for Garland.
I’d then start looking to deal for some players on teams that will have waiver issues (some good ones in the earlier CA article). Anderson-Dolan from the Kings, Foudy from CBJ, Kostin from the Blues, and Alexeyev from the Caps – some of the key guys that look appealing.
Then, at the trade deadline, I’d take a long, hard look at dealing Boeser if the return is right.
Adam K:
I guess it depends what they want to do, try to bolster what they have for playoff success now; or simply take a step back for success 2-3 years down the road.
If they want playoff success now, honestly scouring the rosters and contracts I can’t find much that makes sense (in my mind) both ways. Possibly Rathbone, Pearson, and a 2nd for Adam Larsson from Seattle. However he has a NTC. Maybe Rathbone for Nick Jensen straight up.
I kind of like this big deal with Canes: Necas, Pesce and a 3rd for Miller, Dickinson, a 1st and a 2nd. Bit of give and take both ways, but should be pretty close to cap compliant. Keeps the Canucks in the hunt with some younger players and bolsters the Canes up front. They have a bunch of RHD on their roster already.
Since teams seem to be entirely unwilling to give up any sort of top-end RHD prospect, even ones who don’t have any NHL experience, I would switch from trying to get such a prize to getting mid- to late-20s well performing defensive RHD. Preferably with some term. And since GM’s seem to be vastly overrating the value of prospects and picks, I would use what we have there to fill the hole.
I don’t have a specific target, but I would use Rathbone and or Lekkerimäki as the bait. They’re basically the only two prospects of any value, so it will have to be them.
The realistic:
  1. Miller goes at the trade deadline for a lottery-protected 1st, a 22-year-old prospect that hasn’t panned out and a journeyman toss in that fills a roster spot.
  2. Horvat plays out the season, everyone expects him to sign, but he doesn’t and departs as a UFA.
  3. Kuzmenko as a likely UFA departure is traded at the deadline for a 3rd or 4th depending on his performance this season.
  4. Tanner Pearson plays this season and next season until the 2024 trade deadline and goes for a 5th rounder.
  5. Myers pulls in a second rounder at the 2024 trade deadline.
It is a must that they lock down or trade Bo and JT. They cannot afford to see those guys walk. The idea that they can wait until the Trade Deadline is just stupid. The deadline to sign or trade needs to be training camp.
We have seen JB do this with players and it never works out . If they are in a playoff hunt, the owners will freak out if they try to move one of them. I get the impression that they are looking for an NHL player in return rather then picks or prospects. The cap issues in the league are going to make this extremely difficult to do.
I hope they sign JT, but if not, then trade him for whatever you can get. (Draft picks). If he goes into the season without an extension, he WILL get injured and they won’t be able to move him.
Extend or move JT and Bo before camp! You must recoup assets.
I want to re-sign Miller (top dollar, 6 yrs). So, to free up the cash, the trade bait is Brock Boeser. He is cost-controlled for three years and a spectacular scoring threat, so there should be lots of interest. Why is he expendable? He is not a play driver. He is relatively slow, soft for his size, and one-dimensional (although it is a really good dimension to have). Boeser would thrive as a complementary scorer on a contending or rising team (the Canucks will be neither of those things without D upgrade). No other tradeable player (Pearson, Garland, Myers) on the roster would generate a good enough return. The return would not be an elite RHD. Nobody is giving those up. Target would be a young Tanev-type. Great skater, smart puck mover, nothing fancy on offense.
It’s almost undeniable that one of the top-six forwards have to be moved, and if I had my choice, it would be Boeser based on all the things he doesn’t bring (speed, size, grit, effort). However, if a better offer for Garland was on the table I would take it, just depends on the offer. New Jersey has a need for a top-6 scoring winger to pair with Hughes or Hischier, they are also one of the few teams that have or will have excess RHD. L.A. also has an abundance of RHD and a potential log jam, they could be in a position to add another top-6 winger if they find themselves (finally) taking the next step. Boston also has a need for a top-6 winger this year after Bergeron and Krejci announced their return, presumably for one last chance at a Cup run. Minnesota also has a huge pipeline stocked with talent, but are severely against the cap and likely aren’t going to take a lesser deal to contend in the coming years.
Quinn’s Quest:
To make a trade you need a dance partner. So who needs JTM, Horvat, and any other Canucks over 25? The answer: no one, but for the right price maybe a few. So here we go. Carolina and Caps, the contenders that can fit in a big $ JTM contract? Both have cap space for LTIR. To get a chance at Cup they need to part with couple A-level prospects, 1st/2nd rounders, and a young NHL-ready RHD that can play top-four.
Brian Togri:
IMO, trading Miller has to involve at least one potential high-end piece coming back.
I see two teams that could realistically swing a Miller trade AND would have a reason to do so.
Carolina: They are in it to win it now. I could see Necas, a 1st, and either Morrow or Heimosalmi coming back for Miller and Höglander. I don’t think Miller alone gets that anymore, so the Canucks have to add something decent.
NYR: They have been all over Miller and if they had upped their ante, probably would have gone much farther this spring. They would not like to see him go to the Canes. The TDL offer of Chytil, Lundkvist, and a ‘22 1st was pretty lame, however Kravtsov, Lundkvist, and a ‘23 1st would probably get it done for me now.
Either of those deals probably involves some retention or cap balancing, but that doesn’t alter the meat of the deal.
If Garland can get a 2023 2nd and JBD or Lassi Thomson from the Sens, I would probably do it. With some of the cap space gained, Garlands spot can be filled with a short-term UFA or maybe poach a player off another cap strapped team.
Vancouver’s most glaring weakness that absolutely must be addressed for this team to truly contend is the defense corps’ inability to retrieve the puck in their own zone and effectively transition/break-out. They are too slow and just don’t have the skill, and it’s the reason the team struggled so badly against faster teams. The singular goal of any trade should be the improvement of the defense.
I still believe that Miller gets dealt in December or January to Carolina, but if it drags out to the TDL then Nashville, NYI, NYR, and LA are probably in play. Most teams are loath to give up RHD prospects and even getting 2nd– or 3rd-tier prospects like Scott Morrow, Jeremy Davies, or Brock Faber will be toug,h and I don’t see how the Canucks can upgrade without giving up more assets than just Miller. In a perfect world, Miller alone gets it done, but it’s highly unlikely.
Miller +2023 2nd round pick to NYI
Dobson +2023 1st round pick.
Leo Union:
I am a JT fan and the value back will never meet his skill in the short-term (four years). The dream of a RHD is not warranted. They need a RHD, but they could possibly go a different route. Boeser and Hogs to the Islanders for Mayfield and JG Pageau and a 2nd. A team needs centre icemen. JT, Horvat, JG, and Petey would be excellent. The signing of Lazar is good, but he is part-time centre, more of a winger. If Lou would trade Dobson, sure, send JT that way. But Kadri possibly signed with them. Lou-style, we’ll find out last minute.
Sami Ohlund:
Garland to the LA Kings for Matt Roy and Helge Grans – retain up to $750,000 of Garland’s salary to resolve cap issues.
Miller to NJD for Shakir Mukhamadullin and Damon Severson and a pick. Retain $1 of Miller’s salary.
Connor Garland for Dante Fabbro.

More from CanucksArmy

Check out these posts...