WDYTT: Setting the Canucks’ new forward lines minus Anthony Beauvillier

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
6 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that generates more discussion than a new season of Loki.
Speaking of low-key, we low-key had an entirely different WDYTT prepared about which forward was going to be the odd one out of the lineup, and then Anthony Beauvillier got traded for a fifth pretty much right when we finished typing it up, so that answered that question.
Instead, we’ll flip to a similar, but almost opposite line of questioning. With Beauvillier on the way to Chicago, the Canucks would seem to have a clear-cut 12-forward healthy lineup on their hands.
(Those 12, for the record, being JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Andrei Kuzmenko, Ilya Mikheyev, Nils Hoglander, Sam Lafferty, Phil di Giuseppe, Conor Garland, Dakota Joshua, Teddy Blueger, and, when healthy, Pius Suter.)
Sure, some call-ups like Nils Aman, or Linus Karlsson, or (the recently returned) Vasily Podkolzin may pop in and out of there. But, when available, that set of forwards would appear to be the Canucks’ Definite Dozen, and that provides a solid opportunity for some fantasy line juggling.
So, that’s what we’re doing this
This week, we’re asking you:

How would you arrange the Canucks’ current set of 12 NHL forwards into four forward lines?

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

Which offseason addition has impressed the most?

You answered below!
defenceman factory:
They’ve all been pretty good. I’d say Cole has impressed the most and had the most positive impact, but there are certainly arguments for others.
Although not really a new addition for this season, the biggest difference maker by far has been Hronek. He only played four games for the Canucks last season so is essentially a new addition.
Casey DeSmith has impressed the most. Canadians had a lot of goalies and considered DeSmith as the least valuable. DeSmith has been excellent as the backup and has provided a lot of wins for the Canucks. He has made stellar saves and looks solid in net.
Canucks won the DeSmith/Pearson trade hands down.
I’ve also been very impressed by Sam Lafferty. He has provided a very good forecheck and has put up more points than could be reasonably expected of him. He scored the game-winning shorthanded goal last game. He has been a fine addition.
We all knew Hronek would improve the Canucks, but who knew his excellent play would allow Hughes to play at a superior level. But Hronek’s not a candidate here…
DeSmith has been great. I wonder if the Oilers have noticed?
The guy I want to nominate is Soucy; the team was much better with him in the lineup.
I think Carson “The Sauce” was doing a good job, judging by how challenged the D has looked since he left, but I’m going to go with Ian Cole on the strength of solid play and dummying Matt Duchene the way he did. We haven’t had a body-snatcher like that since the great Alex Edler left and a good team can never have enough body-snatchers on it.
It’s so good that there are several players to consider. For me it’s almost a dead heat between Ian Cole and Casey DeSmith. I’m going to go with DeSmith by a hair, just because he has been better than advertised, and has not been a weak spot for this improving squad when he’s in net. Just ask the Oilers what it’s like to not have one good goalie. Having two is a luxury and I think Casey has probably exceeded expectations more than any of the others. Hronek doesn’t count, we acquired him last year, but there’s another success story.
Alan Hans:
Ian Cole is as sturdy as they come these days. He’s like having another assistant coach in the dressing room. Well spoken, valuable insights, mature but can keep up with the kids, usually. DeSmith and Lafferty are close second and third.
For me it is Cole. Aside from being able to log second pairing defense minutes, he seems to provide a lot of much needed veteran leadership and can knock people around.
This is really what you need from a #3-6 pairing defender and Cole does it well.
All said and done though, none of the offseason additions have been real game changers but have been solid support cast members.
Craig Gowan:
My knee-jerk answer to this question was Filip Hronek, but he wasn’t an offseason acquisition, although it seems like he is. I have been impressed by all the acquisitions playing for the Vancouver Canucks (that would exclude Matt Irwin) including Suter, Blueger, Soucy, and Lafferty. My finalists would be DeSmith and Cole, and it’s hard to choose between them. Because our D was so in need of help, I would have to say Cole has been the most important addition.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
I agree with all the others naming Ian Cole. He’s been a breath of fresh air in stabilizing the D and making Myers, Friedman, and even Juulsen look good. Good active stick on the PK, can actually clear the front of the net and won’t back down. Doesn’t seem to panic in the d-zone and has been consistent. It’s worth asking whether he can keep up this level of play and top-four minutes for the entire year, but so far so good. Blueger and Suter are incomplete scores due to being out so much with injuries, same with Soucy. DeSmith and Lafferty are also good choices, but DeSmith is only playing every four games and Lafferty is a (very decent) fourth liner/PK. Still, they are miles above rolling out Martin and Lockwood.
DeSmith and Cole are the two runaway favorites with an honorable mention going to Suter. Cole takes it for me due to the fact that we don’t know what DeSmith would do as a starter. Demko was out last year, and with a questionable defensive system, Delia and Martin were literally thrown to the wolves. Cole takes it because as good as Hughes and Hronek are, the veteran presence from a guy that has two Cups and singlehandedly brought the PK up to being respectable (it seems on some nights). This is the type of player we need to sprinkle into the line up to keep everyone grounded and on track. To add this on a one-year very affordable contract, to boot! 100% gets my vote.

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