WDYTT: Three keys to a Canucks turnaround and is anyone still cheering for wins?
Photo credit:Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
9 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that’s always got more in the tank.
Speaking of ‘tank,’ it’s become a loaded term in Vancouver. Or, maybe it’s best to say that ‘tank’ has become a loaded term in Vancouver again. After all, this isn’t the first time that the local fanbase of the Canucks has loudly debated the merits of being as bad at hockey as possible in order to secure the best odds as the first overall selection in the NHL Entry Draft. It’s just the loudest they’ve ever been about it, because this year, the first overall selection will be Conor Bedard, a BC-born phenom the likes of which Western Canada has never before produced.
The Canucks want Bedard, and Bedard wants to be a Canuck.
But is he worth tanking for?
To most, the answer is an unequivocable ‘yes!’ But then, does that extend to actually cheering for the Canucks to lose? Does that constitute getting annoyed whenever the Canucks do manage to pull out a win? Does it mean actively cheering for the likes of the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets?
For some, that might be a bridge too far. For others, it’s par for the course when it comes to Vancouver Canucks hockey of late.
This week, we’re seeking out your true feelings about the tank. This week, we’re asking:
Are you cheering for wins or losses from the Vancouver Canucks right now?
Let it be known in the comment section.
What three things do the Canucks need most to turn their franchise around?
You answered below!
Can all three things be defensemen?
This is easy:
- Owner who understands that this team needs to change its strategy of just trying to make the playoffs and not rebuild.
- A more creative management team that can make this an elite organization again.
- More impactful prospects (achieved through more picks, better drafting and development).
Management needs to :
1) draft far better in every single round.
2) get rid of OEL and Myers as soon as is possible.
3) stop throwing employees, including players past and present , under the bus.
I will qualify this by saying that when they fired Benning, I wanted them to hire a younger, more progressive front office instead of a bitter old man and his attendant sycophants.
- Win the draft lottery.
- Draft Conor Bedard.
- With the Isalanders’ pick, draft Axel Sandin-Pellika.
There would still be a lot of work to do after that, but those three steps would be a nice start.
PS: If the Canucks do not win the draft lottery, drafting Will Smith if he is available would be a decent consolation prize.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
1) Stop taking short cuts. You can’t build a team with UFA signings.
2) Set a vision and develop a plan to achieve it.
3) Hire well suited, competent people to implement the plan.
Fixing the Canucks organization isn’t complicated. It is pretty much means running the team the same way you would any successful organization. Hard to imagine this happening under current ownership.
1) Acquire more top-tier talent.
Canucks have a dangerous line featuring Petey and Kuzmenko, and maybe Podkolzin after another summer of hard training… but after that the talent drops off considerably. Miller is good and has been much better for the second half this season, but his timeline doesn’t fit as a long term core piece. Altogether it’s just not enough to compete against top-six tandems of Draisaitl/McDavid, Stamkos/Kucherov, Hughes/Hischier, Mathews/Marner. The blueline could also needs a top-tier talent addition.
2) Fix the defence.
Aside from the need for a top-pairing shutdown star, the Canucks also need at least one or two more additions to form a solid top-four core. Bear, Stillman, Schenn, and Dermott are all third-pairing defenders on a contending team, who can fill in from time to time but shouldn’t be relied upon for heavy minutes. Along with a shutdown stud, finding and affording two more quality defenders is likely impossible when $13.26 million is tied up in two defensemen who, if not for their salary and contract terms, would likely have been placed on waivers by now. A plan to remove and replace Myers and OEL is vital.
3) A healthy Thatcher Demko.
I’m conflicted here. A big part of me feels as though 1 & 2 can’t be solved in short order without trading Demko for more quality assets (and prevent him from stealing wins). But if it can somehow be done, getting Demko healthy and back in previous form is a huge ticket item for playoff success. It’s rare for a team to make a splash in the postseason without a stud goalie, and the 2020 playoff version of Demko is about as good as it gets. That said, if management can’t ice a competent team around him then it really doesn’t matter how good he is, it simply won’t be enough. If time were not an issue, then keeping Demko would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the Canucks have a small window of time to not only draft, develop, and/or buy the talent they need to support Petey, Hughes, and Demko in their primes — but also to take advantage of Demko’s team-friendly contract, which will likely be doubled in three years if he regains his old form.
2-Trade Demko (For an absolute haul).
3-Convince OEL he should retire on LTIR like Weber and etc. in the next year or two.
The sum total of these move is to tank. Oh, you think you’re tanking well? True but TANK HARDER! This season and next should be a struggle. 2024/25 Should be an exciting year with high-end prospects emerging, a couple superstars as the backbone in their prime, and plenty of cap space to fill the holes.
- A nuclear weapon.
My three things are all about philosophy vs individual moves.
- Develop a 1-, 3-, and 5-year plan that will allow the team to contend seriously for years to come.
- Immediately stop all personnel moves with a view to the current season until we are a consistent top-ten team.
- Mandate all draft picks and acquisitions moving forward to players with both size and speed. Bonus for getting players who have proven they care enough to hate to lose.
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