WDYTT: The perfect top six forward lines for the Canucks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet who has the job security of a one-way contract and the compensation of a two-way contract.
Speaking of contracts, a lot of them have been handed out since we last spoke, and some of them were handed out by the Vancouver Canucks.
Ilya Mikheyev, Andrey Kuzmenko, Curtis Lazar, Dakota Joshua, and more have joined the Canucks. Brad Hunt has departed, and he’ll presumably be followed by a handful of others.
The great change that was promised for the Vancouver roster has yet to fully unfold, but change has come all the same.
And while the blueline remains a work in progress, there’s a lot to be said about the forward depth that the Canucks currently have on hand. All of Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Conor Garland, Ilya Mikheyev, Andrey Kuzmenko, Vasily Podkolzin, Tanner Pearson, and Nils Höglander could be in the running for a top-six role this upcoming season. That’s ten players jockeying for six spots.
In fact, without any further trades, one of the players listed above would be on the Canucks’ fourth line. That’s how deep they are right now.
Of course, the real challenge will be finding the right mix and balance from within that talented cast of characters, and that’s what we’d like you to take a shot at today.
This week, we’re asking you:

How would you arrange the Canucks’ top-six forward group for 2021/22?

Let it be known in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

Who is your number one UFA target for the Canucks in 2022?

You answered below!
A defensively-minded RHD and a RHC who is good at faceoffs. Don’t even know who on the market could fill those roles, let alone how much they would be asking. Probably be best to stay off the FA market unless its for league minimum and try to see how the season goes and make some moves at the TDL. Not setting my standards too high for this season. This year will be mediocre at best, and I’m preparing myself as such.
If we are looking the perfect UFA centre to play with Kuzmenko and Podkolzin, the answer might be Evgeni Malkin. He still plays at a point-per-game pace, he could be a great influence on our young Russian wingers, and management has the Pittsburgh connections to pull this off. We could then put the Lotto Line back together (and have Pettersson available to play centre when Malkin gets hurt!). Horvat with Garland and Höglander, and Dickinson with Pearson and Lockwood would be a decent bottom-six. Maybe that’s why we don’t need Highmore and Lammikko?
Brian Togri:
Probably a bottom-six righthanded forward/C like White or Acciari with some defensive chops that will come relatively cheaply. Anything else will depend on if/whatever moves are made.
Beer Can Boyd:
For UFAs , judging by the discrepancy between what new management was preaching and what they have actually done so far, I really have no idea of what they will do. Probably sign Gaudreau…
I’d say Heinen. He was a 20-goal scorer and is a good PKer. Doesn’t hurt that he’s from Langley, either. Also Rudolfs Balcers, who was recently bought out from San Jose. Should keep it safe this FA, though, and not spend that much salary (not that we have much cap space).
Killer Marmot:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence and the occasional award for totally nailing it)
By not making qualifying offers for Lammikko and Highmore, I assume management is confident they can rebuild the fourth line. They need guys who can kill penalties, a crippling weakness last season, and perhaps that’s the reason those two were not made offers. Being able to play centre would be a big asset.
That means Curtis Lazar. They may even make Tyler Motte an offer, although I would be surprised if that was successful.
I am Ted:
Colin White might be a nice, buy-low option. RHC and all. I would also kick the tires on Dylan Strome, who could line up at 3C or wing in the top-six.
I think there are a couple of other guys out there, too, but whoever it is, they’d have to be low salary. Canucks haven’t cleared out much cap space, which is OK, because we shouldn’t be spending big on free agents as they’re older, anyway.
Maybe a Lazar for 4C. Deslauriers for a fourth line sandpaper add.
It’s really tough to say right now since the Miller deal hasn’t happened…or any other cap-clearing moves.
Harold Snepts:
Nikita Zadorov is the D-man the Canucks are looking for. He can staple opposing players to the boards both on the right and left side. He can also make hanging around in front of the Vancouver net a very dangerous place to be. If you can get him for $4mil or less, grab him. Then bring back Tyler Motte.
Defenceman Factory:
I remember the feeling of dread I had when I heard Vigneault was meeting with the Rangers after being fired from the Canucks. Sure enough, right away reports came out that Torts was in Vancouver, and shortly after, he was hired.
I felt the same way reading an article that Ty Ronning is interested in playing for the Canucks. Maybe that’s fine if he signs an AHL deal, but he won’t. I have this sense of dread Rutherford is going to have to stop at Rona on his way home to get some sandpaper, because absolutely nothing has been done to add any. With no cap space cleared, the Canucks can only look at players at one mil or less. I sure hope management does something this week true to their words and restores some confidence.
For the love of God, get some grit. Sign Lazar and Motte to get started with. Then sign Sonny Milano and/or Sam Steel.
If Miller is traded, then Copp.
If not, then Josh Manson.
Until somebody is traded, the Canucks do not have the cap room to sign anybody over $2 million. Pretty sure that excludes quite a lot of players.
A River Named Curt:
Calle Jarnkrok, because Sweden. Oh yeah, and he’s a right-shot centre with some grit who can kill penalties.
At this rate, we’ll be lucky if we can afford a water boy in free agency.

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