Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
WDYTT: Instant reactions to the Canucks’ Elias Lindholm trade
20 days ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet where everything sometimes changes very suddenly.
Speaking of sudden changes, this particular column is no longer what it once was. In full disclosure, this week’s WDYTT was set up to ask you to choose between the Canucks hypothetically acquiring a top-six forward OR a top-four defender between now and the 2024 Trade Deadline.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to publication, and the Canucks acquired Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames.
Which secures that top-six forward in about as resolute a fashion as possible. And if the hottest rumours are to be believed, the Canucks aren’t done shopping, and there may just be an additional top-four defender joining the mix before too long.
So, maybe we never had a choice in the matter. Maybe all there is left to do for us is to react.
So, react! This week, we’re asking you:
What is your instant reaction to the Elias Lindholm trade?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Do you still believe in Andrei Kuzmenko? (Specifically, as an effective part of this Vancouver Canucks team?)
You answered below!
Yes, I believe in Kuzmenko’s ability……………… to bring back a long-term defenseman in trade.
I believe he is still an NHL player capable of contributing to the top-six of a team in the right role. I am not convinced he will get the leash here to rediscover his game, but I have a hard time believing he won’t find it at some point, and be a 20-30 goal scorer with the right linemates and playing style. Is that a winning style? I don’t know. The sophomore slump, or just plain old bad season, is a real thing, but he doesn’t have the body of work to know what he truly is. What I do believe is that trading him while he’s at a low point is going to hurt. I’m not saying it might not be required, but I feel like that trade will either cause more salary cap issues or compromise the team’s future.
I was so impressed by Kuzmenko last season. He had the skill, vision and shot to rival the best Canuck forwards, so I’ve been hoping he can turn it around this season. I believe the Canucks need more skill in their top-six, not less.
However, I am slowly being convinced that maybe Kuzmenko’s $5.5 million could be better spent. I still want to see him get a chance to play with Miller and try and turn his season around. but if that doesn’t happen, then I think a trade is probably in order. And maybe Mikheyev goes, too. And Boeser. It’s a real black eye for Tocchet. He really hasn’t handled the Kuzmenko file very well at all.
He apparently is a very good teammate and has gone to Toch to apologize for certain plays. Many players would request a trade, but he seems to want to be a better player.
Going from 100% offensive player to a responsible two-way player isn’t an easy one.
I see progress and he will be a factor in the playoffs.
Flashes are starting to reappear. Canucks need cap space, but not sure if he gets traded. Canucks have been patient with players, which has all worked in their favour so far. Whether Kuzmenko gets traded or not, I think he will spend the offseason training his ass off, hiring professional hockey trainers who will help him be ready for next season where he will light it up. Allvin chased Kuzmenko for a reason, Tocchet has been working closely with him. As much as media and the fans are thinking the Canucks are close enough to go all-in, I don’t think management sees that. The team still doesn’t have enough firsthand experience of what it takes in the battle for a Cup. This year is about building a team and a culture of putting in the work to prepare, and working even harder to get what they want. A player or two will be added who will be part of the future. They won’t be high-priced superstars, as the core is already here, they will be support players who will grow with the team brought in from swapping a couple of the Abbotsford prospects. Not sure if Kuzmenko will still be a Canuck, but don’t think Podkolzin will be.
Andrei Kuzmenko’s skillset is pure Harlem Globetrotters, this guy will be key in the Canucks’ next showdown vs. the Washington Generals.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Yes, I still believe Kuzmenko is a very talented hockey player. Do I think he can ever be a 30+ goal scorer again? Who knows. He is in his own head and some players never regain their focus and confidence. Sitting him hasn’t worked as a cure, but you can’t blame the coach for trying it or believing the line-up is better without Kuzmenko.
Despite the common narrative, it isn’t his defensive play that Kuzmenko has been struggling with. It is his overall focus and engagement level. Tocchet’s been on about his lack of forechecking and poor play in the o-zone as much as his defensive lapses.
Last season, Kuzmenko wasn’t a particularly poor defensive player. He had more takeaways than giveaways and was a +9, better than every forward not named Pettersson. I don’t believe the situation is about a coach trying to beat his systems into a resistant player. Unfortunately, this is more in sports psychology territory and don’t know how it will turn out.
Patience has paid off before for the Canucks.
Now that the Canucks, as a whole, are playing better, Kuzmenko’s deficiencies have become more apparent.
He sometimes will force a play instead of making a simpler safer play. There have been several times where he has turned the puck over at the blueline and he is the last line of defense.
He has been making a better effort to forecheck and backcheck but still misses his man with frequency, like in the Arizona game where his guy blew by him and stored to tie the game at 1. He has been losing more board battles than he has been winning, but he has showed a bit more fight lately.
Sometimes he panics and throws the puck away, like when he put it right onto the stick of the opposing player in his own zone, thinking it was the left side defenseman.
The other problem is that his confidence is shot.
Normally, his swagger and goal-scoring ability compensate for his defensive deficiencies. But now, he is more often looking to pass than shoot.
He keeps missing one-timers on great passes that would have been automatic for him last year.
He has the ability to be a great goal-scorer like we saw last year. He just needs to find his confidence to be that person again. Maybe if improves his defensive play, that will give him confidence to find his scoring touch again. I’m just not sure he will have enough time with the Canucks to figure it out.
In order to still believe, you would have had to believe in the first place.
I realize that this team has gone through a decade of darkness, and the fans get all giddy about fringe NHL players, like they did with Stecher, Gaudette, and Kuzmenko, but hopefully with Tocchet around these fans will start learning the game a bit better.
I want to believe in him. I’m not sure he’s a top-six player on a Rick Tocchet team. Maybe somewhere else?
Short but sweet…No!! It’s not a popularity contest.
I still believe in Kuze because PA and JR signed him, and I believe in PA. Maybe it’s the sophomore jinx, but I think it’s more like Kuze is adjusting to being rich.
Joe in Vancouver:
Kuzmenko came to camp with poor cardio. Newbie mistake.
Kuzmenko tried to support his linemates. Mikheyev returned from surgery somewhat slowed and teams were running Pettersson. Kuzmenko’s game suffered.
Canucks have been honing Kuzmenko, I think. They want playoff production. All good.
Yeah, I still believe. I absolutely agree that it has been disappointing for his production to fall off a cliff, but he is a player with a ridiculous amount of talent. Patience is key. Once he gets his confidence back, he can return to form. The guy can score, he’s in a sophomore slump. Trading him just to see his production explode somewhere else would only hurt more. I hope it works out for him, but if PA and Rutherford decide that he’s gotta go, then so be it.
Recent articles from Stephan Roget
- How the Vegas Golden Knights are ready to circumvent the cap again (and why the Canucks can’t do the same)
- 10 more potential top-six forward trade deadline additions for the Canucks in a post-Lindholm, post-Kessel world
- 11 potential top-six deadline additions for the Canucks in a post-Lindholm, post-Kessel world