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Who is the next Dakota Joshua?: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
18 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed how the Canucks might approach replacing Dakota Joshua should they not bring him back on a new deal.
Joshua, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 206 pounds, set career highs in goals (18) and points (32) across 63 games, demonstrating his knack for getting to the net and showing off his improved hands in close. He led the team in regular-season hits with 244, ranking ninth overall in the league, and continued to lead the Canucks in hits during the postseason with 74.
At 28 years old, Joshua played a crucial role in significantly improving the penalty kill, which rose from a dismal 71.6 percent efficiency in 2023-24 to 79.1 percent in the regular season and 81 percent in the playoffs. He continued his high level of play in the playoffs, contributing eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 13 games.
Replacing Joshua would not be an easy task, but Vancouver found Joshua after he had been mostly cast aside and turned him into the third-line beast we saw all year; can they do it again?
“The type of player you’re going to want to find is like Danton Heinen,” Harm stated. “He signed a league minimum, one-year contract with the Boston Bruins. He was a versatile piece, moved up and down the lineup, killed penalties for them, had 17 goals and 36 points in 74 games. A reliable two-way guy, 6 foot 2, 200 pounds, and fast. Nothing overly flashy about the guy, but for league-minimum price, he brought legitimate third-line value. That’s the type of value buy you’re going to want to try and target and identify if you’re the Canucks. The dream scenario, which you’re not going to repeat, is like Jonathan Drouin in Colorado. He had the connection, having played with MacKinnon in juniors, signed a really cheap one-year deal, and put up 56 points. I don’t think that scenario is repeatable, but finding a guy like Heinen, a guy that can chip in with 15 goals, 35 points, play on the third line, and maybe kill some penalties. Joshua and Heinen had a similar impact; Joshua is a better player, but if you’re paying him north of 3 million versus finding a Heinen for league minimum, that would be a success story.”
Brandon Duhaime and Riley Tufte were a couple of names the guys touched on as potential replacements who have similar profiles to Joshua. Duhaime, 27, 6 foot, 200 pounds, has 20 goals and 40 points across 211 career games played with Minnesota and Colorado.
“I like Duhaime, but I like him as a fourth liner. I don’t see top-9 upside there,” said Harm.
Tufte is a monster at 6 foot 6, 230 pounds, and after being drafted #25 overall in the 2016 entry draft, he hasn’t found a footing yet with Dallas. Playing in just 18 NHL games, Tufte has 2 goals and 3 assists for the Stars.
There’s potential across the league for the Canucks to identify and develop the next Dakota Joshua, but the likelihood of anyone having the same impact as him is fairly low.
“It’s so rare for a player with Joshua’s profile to glow up the way he did,” Harm cautioned. “For every Joshua, there are 9 Riley Tuftes who never become Dakota Joshua. You can’t say he’s the next Joshua confirmed just because he’s big and has a mediocre AHL profile. I’m not saying he’s not worth a roll of the dice, just calm the expectations.”
You can watch the full replay of today’s show below:

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