WDYTT: Your personal 1-8 rankings of the Vancouver Canucks’ blueline

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
4 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet to suffer from being too popular.
Speaking of good problems to have, “a healthy blueline” is definitely one of them. And it’s not a “problem” that has been experienced by the Vancouver Canucks all that often in their franchise history.
Don’t worry, we knocked on wood several times and threw salt over our shoulders before publishing this one. But as of this writing, and specifically as of the return of Tyler Myers to action on Saturday against the Washington Capitals, the Canucks have their full complement of NHL defenders – with the obvious exception of Tucker Poolman, who remains on LTIR.
But even good problems can be difficulties, and the main difficulty facing head coach Rick Tocchet right now vis-à-vis his blueline is the decision of who to scratch on a nightly basis.
The Canucks have eight NHL D on their active roster right now.
Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek seem firmly ensconced as the top pairing. Behind Hughes, the left side boasts all of Ian Cole, Carson Soucy, and Nikita Zadorov. Behind Hronek on the right are Myers, Noah Juulsen, and Mark Friedman.
Against the Capitals, it was Juulsen who slid out of the lineup to accommodate Myers’ return. But that had to be a tough choice for Tocchet and Co. Juulsen has been an absolute revelation for the Canucks in 2023/24, and there are many in the fanbase and mediasphere who now want him on the ice come playoff time.
But if they’re all healthy, somebody has to sit.
Instead of making this a potentially-negative-sounding variant of “Who would you condemn to the pressbox?” we thought one way of tackling this thorny question was to simply ask our readers to provide their current depth chart power rankings.
So, this week, we’re asking you:

What are your personal 1-8 rankings of the Canucks’ current eight blueliners?

Rank ‘em in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

How do you feel about the Canucks’ lack of action at the 2024 Trade Deadline?

You answered below!
The Canucks did most of their work prior to the deadline and they’ve made more trades than any other NHL team over the past year, so the lack of action on deadline day itself isn’t that concerning. It’s always nice to have more depth, and it would have been great to add someone like Chris Tanev to their defence, but not at the cost of giving up a highly prized prospect or another 1st round pick.
Johnny Sportsfan:
They made plenty of transactions prior and frankly I’m glad they didn’t on deadline day if only to scuttle the sports channels’ deadline day theatrics. Then there’s the cap…can’t forget about that.
The Canucks are 18-3-2 with Carson Soucy in the lineup. Now, Soucy has played well in those 23 games, but unless you think he’s some vastly underrated borderline all-star, I would suggest to you that those numbers are less about Soucy being healthy, and more about the blueline being healthy.
That is why they should have gone out and secured another credible 4-5-6 guy. The grind of the playoffs can leave you playing Andrew Alberts significant minutes in a Stanley Cup final. Pushing Mark Friedman further from the lineup should have been the priority – not that Friedman is a disaster as a #6, but just to give you more of a buffer before you have to play him. Yes, Christian Wolanin should be back this month as an 8th or 9th guy if things get dire, but who knows if he is as good as he was pre-injury.
It would have been worth beating the Stars’ offer for Tanev.
Generally pleased, as you say they did their shopping early. Spending one of their premium prospects or picks on a winger rental would make no sense. If you wanted to take a swing for a different kind of long-term piece (swapping a talented young player for young player, like the Middlestadt for Byram deal or even a prospect for prospect like the Gauthier for Drysdale) that’s a different question. Coming out of the TDL without sacrificing Höglander, Podkolzin, Silovs, the 2025 first, and the three Swedish prospects is a win as it shows a management attentive to the medium and long-term interests (i.e. having young players on ELCs to sustain team competitiveness as older players age out or are in need of raises).
I am a bit on the fence here. The Lindholm price was very high and they sent a lot to get a player who is a third line center right now.
So in saying that, here is the part where I am divided: They put one foot in the water with the Lindholm deal but didn’t put in the other at the TDL to get a scoring winger or bolster the defense. It’s kind of like they started to go all-in and then pulled back.
I am not giving them credit for making all of their moves early because this team still has noticeable holes in the roster. Holes that will get exposed in playoff hockey.
Despite the regular season success, this team still needs one more offseason full of tweaks to get become a team that can go deep in the playoffs, so I would rather them have not made the Lindholm deal. However, if they are going to start to go in like that then they need to follow it up, which they failed to do.
Beautiful Home:
I’m fine with it. They made various moves pre-TDL. No one could have predicted how the TDL would unfold. Prices fell, but no one could have predicted that. They got the players they wanted and that is more important than bargain hunting. I’d rather they keep their draft capital than spend more of it.
Hockey Bunker:
Very Happy!
With Lindholm, they are strong down middle.
Lines well-balanced.
Defense stronger and more physical.
No need to add to this lineup at the panic-inducing trade deadline when they have been building the team piece by piece all year.
TDL is for suckers. Classic FOMO….Fear Of Missing Out.
Obviously, adding another impact winger would have meant the loss of next year’s first or a prospect.
From Pods to EP2, those players will help fill the holes in the line ups for a few years. Not a rental that would be preferable to an ELC, especially since EP1 signed long-term.
Killer Marmot:
I’m good with it. A manager has to know when to say ‘no’ when the price is too steep. If you feel forced to make a deal, then you’re a pigeon for the plucking.
At any rate, it’s not clear that renting a player for the playoffs is good for a club overall, except in rare circumstances such as when a club’s goaltending is clearly not going to take you far.
Well, I’m a bit disappointed. There are so many “ifs” now in our line up. If Pods can find some scoring; if Mic and Laf can actually contribute to their lines; if Soucy isn’t injured again; if the opposition doesn’t shut down Miller; if Lindholm stabilizes; if Demko is not only OK, but on his game; if Quinn is durable enough to conquer the onslaught he is going to face. And then there is our superstar – will he actually perform? Boy, are they all going to have to deal with these questions.
Perhaps some of these questions could have been avoided if we had made a change or two that would have created more strength and would have provided enough relief so that the some of the other “ifs” would be less critical.
As it stands, we face a tough road in the playoffs. We have enough games remaining to reduce the number of “ifs” and make us a more complete team. However, a few critical improvements could have been made that would have made the difference.
I do not agree that giving up another draft choice would be selling the farm. And most, if not all, contenders will face the same cap problems next year. (Look at Vegas – $20M over already for next year.) That is the nature of the cap system.
bruce donice:
Perhaps the trade deadline should be judged at the end of the playoffs.
Management has pulled off a lot of great trades throughout the year, so there was a lot of anticipation that they had at least one big move left for the trade deadline. The fact that nothing happened left me very disappointed.
In retrospect, you can look back and say they had already made all the moves they needed to improve and be happy with that.
It’s a case of where we had great appetizers, a great main course, but then someone dropped the dessert when bringing it to the table. Still a wonderful meal, but a tinge of disappointment to what could have been a perfect experience.
I’m glad they showed restraint. I’m not sure if this was due to their evaluation of their young prospects and/or their belief in this team.
Their signaling to the market prior to the deadline was that they would continue to be aggressive. Their seeming about-face may be the result of the team’s performance.
In particular, my guess is that if Lindholm played like a legitimate front-line player, the team would add another piece (maybe Tanev or Guentzel).
defenceman factory:
I have mixed feelings about the Canucks’ trade deadline. The trade deadline is a bell-weather on how ownership and management view the current team and the future. Team performance dictated an upgrade had to be made to reward the efforts of players and coaches this season. On one hand, I’m relieved no further young assets left the team. On the other hand, I’m a bit disappointed there wasn’t a minor move or two to shore up organizational depth.
The Lindholm trade was every bit a deadline trade for a high-end rental. It’s like a holiday at the Wickaninnish Inn at peak season; expensive and luxurious. So far, we’ve had to deal with some construction noise and poor service. Lindholm needs to make a bigger contribution. If he does, it will be money well spent and a satisfying trip to the playoffs. If not, the move will be criticized ad nauseam.
Kudos to management for making the Lindholm trade early enough to work the roster kinks out. Here’s hoping Vegas crumbles under the weight of $100 million playoff roster, lack of chemistry, and the inability of injured players to prepare for return to play.
It was the best thing to do. You shouldn’t be rebuilding a team just to make the playoffs. Canucks made their moves in advance. The idea that the Canucks should move Lindholm in a deal to get Guentzel was utter nonsense. If a team needs more than a piece or two to contend in the playoffs, they’re not true contenders and shouldn’t bother.
It’s funny, even though I didn’t want the Canucks to use up good prospects and picks on rentals, when other team started to pick them up and we didn’t have anyone, I felt kind of like a kid on Christmas who doesn’t get a present.
But sober second thought – we got our presents early with Lindholm and Zadorov (at an affordable cost) and we still have our best prospects and young cost-controlled players. I’m happy management had a common sense plan and stuck to it.
Reg Dunlop:
The price for rentals at the deadline was far too high. Totally worth standing Pat this year.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
This is a team that over the last year has brought in Carson Soucy, Ian Cole, Teddy Blueger, Pius Suter, Casey DeSmith, Sam Lafferty, Mark Friedman, Nikita Zadorov, and Elias Lindholm, almost 40% of an NHL roster. It seems silly to me to suggest the team management has done too little. We’ve gotten a better team than pretty much anybody thought likely.
The trade deadline is a time when good teams tend to give up prospects and draft picks in exchange for players that are older and not terribly likely to be assets very far into the future. Having watched futures go out the door for a rental not too long before the trade deadline, and with futures having been paid in other trades going back to Hronek last season, I’m pleased to see the Canucks stand pat and not overpay this season at the deadline.

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