WDYTT: Top line thoughts and your thoughts on the Canucks tanking
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
11 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet to see Connor Bedard live in person this week.
Speaking of Connor Bedard, expect to hear that name a lot more in the Vancouver market over the weeks and months to come, and not just because the uber-phenom is a fan of the Canucks. Said Canucks have been very up and down this season, and even their wins don’t instill a ton of confidence. This has led many to salivate at the possibility of the Canucks selecting their hometown hero come June 2023.
It’s also led to plenty of loud suggestions that it’s time for the Canucks to commit to the bit and start tanking for Bedard on purpose.
We all know that hockey players are never going to go out there and lose intentionally. But there are certainly ways for coaching and management to make a losing outcome more likely, and that’s what some in the fanbase are asking for as the 2022/23 season slips away.
Others are staunchly anti-tank, and wish for the Canucks to do nothing more than put in a concerted effort on a nightly basis.
It’s the sort of controversy we’ve been through plenty of times before, but each time it rears its head, the circumstances are different.
This time around, we want to get your unfiltered thoughts.
So, this week, we’re asking:
What are your thoughts on the possibility of the Canucks tanking for the remainder of 2022/23?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Do you believe that the Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Mikheyev line is a long-term solution as the Canucks’ top line?
You answered below!
After that lines first real test as being the go-to line, Elias was -5, Kuzmenko a -3, and Mikheyev a -3. Not a good look as the going gets a lot tougher as the season moves along, and the physicality picks up.
Given that Kuzmenko is an UFA at the end of the season, I can’t say they will be a line forever. Is that even a thing in the NHL anymore?
Its a good line because they all see the game the same way.
Doesn’t matter who has the puck, the nearest will move in to support and the third looks for a soft spot in the defence to get the pass and score.
They each have enough speed to get in on the forecheck and also backcheck effectively.
And they have brains, lead by Pettersson.
Canucks are going to have to find a winger that will open up space for EP, someone who can deliver punishing hits to anyone who tries to go after EP. Not an easy find, as there are only so many that can hit without taking a penalty and put the fear into the opposing team, as well as being able to play with an offensive threat.
I think this line can be the answer for the next two or three years, but it’s important to remember that Mikheyev is 28, Kuzmenko is 26, and Petey is 24. Mikheyev’s strength is his speed and that’s one of the first things to go with age, so he’s probably the expiration date on this trio. In those two or three years, I’d hope Podkolzin or Höglander refine their game and take the next steps to grow into Mikheyev’s shoes.
Funny how all the local media was criticizing Bruce for not playing Pettersson to matchup against the other team’s best. Bruce played them and they got absolutely crushed. I think they’re a good offensive line, but they really are a bunch of lightweights. Which is never a good thing come playoff time.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
No one can predict the future, but the one constant is Pettersson. I think Pettersson makes everyone he plays with better and I don’t think he has hit his prime yet. There is no reason not to think this line can continue to produce as long as Pettersson continues to grow personally.
Kuzmenko has been fantastic and is filling the role we all hoped Boeser would fill. He is a fan favorite, and the Canucks need to re-sign him.
I’m least certain about Mikheyev, who is really punching above his weight class. Can he keep his play up to match the rest of the line? I don’t know, but it will be fun to watch.
I think they will be fine for most of the regular season games. Washington is one of the bigger teams in the league and their forecheck was quite noticeable, especially early on QH and EP. If they do manage to continue to improve and make the playoffs, we know the refereeing standard changes, so I don’t believe that line will be racking up points 5-on-5 in the playoffs. Three talented guys, but as was mentioned, they are all lightweights.
This line is the first line currently, and hopefully they continue to be. But they are not a shutdown line. The coach should be looking at ways to utilize the forth and Horvat lines, depending on the team they are playing. Using EP’s strengths, Horvat and his line can always step in. Höglander is a lost cause defensively, so supplementing him here and there will be a reality. As we have all witnessed, Miller’s inside-his-own-zone reverse or east-west dishes, so we get that too. So, yeah first line goes to EP and the Soviets.
Given that we’ll hopefully lose Kuzmenko at the trade deadline — if he keeps this up we won’t be able to sign him this summer — I don’t think this will be long term.
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