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WWYDW: Eliminate one of Pettersson, Hughes, Miller, or Demko

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
7 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet always operating at optimal capacity.
Speaking of optimism, it’s not that difficult to find in Vancouver these days. The Canucks have simply never gotten off to a better start in any NHL season, and after some dark years, there’s no doubt that it feels good.
There are some challenges that come with the success, however, and those can extend to coverage of the team. Particularly, as it turns out, if one’s job is to come up with interesting questions on the weekly for one’s loyal readers to respond to.
After all, there are only so many variations of “Is this team for real?” and “How good do these guys look, seriously?” and “Isn’t this nice?” that one can ask before it all starts getting a little repetitive.
For whatever reason, this same issue doesn’t seem to crop up when the times are bad.
In any case, what this really calls for is more creativity, and that’s what we’re here to deliver today with an old social media classic: the elimination game.
The rules are fairly simple.
This week, we’re asking:

If you had to eliminate one of Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, JT Miller, or Thatcher Demko from the current Canucks’ roster, which would you choose, and why?

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

Has your opinion of the Canucks as a team changed over the first month of the 2023/24 season?

You answered below! (Apologies in advance to anyone whose response got cut, we had to do some trimming for length this week.)
RDster:
Yes, we all knew Canucks would be improved, but they are a bit better than I expected. The schedule has helped though; the only decent teams they have played are Tampa, Florida, NY Rangers, and Dallas Stars, and they got only 5 points out of a possible 8 in those games.
Killer Marmot:
My opinion of Allvin and Tocchet have changed. Between them, they seem to have addressed last year’s more obvious deficiencies. Not solved outright, but improved.
Knock on wood.
George:
Demko is Demko again.
The depth guys have been a great fit and what was missing the last few years.
Would be nice if the could unload a winger or two at some point in the season and use those assets to get a second quality RHD or get picks and use the money to sign Bear.
Chris the Curmudgeon:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
While it is still early to draw firm conclusions, my opinion of the team has changed, and it starts with a mea culpa. I became so used to second-guessing the previous management’s decisions, and ultimately having my opinion vindicated, that it seemed natural to do so with Allvin as well. After all, ownership was still the same, and it’s become standard practice to attribute any short-term thinking to pressure from the Aquilini suite. Two decisions were made last season, which seems shortsighted to me at the time, but which have paid off. The first was the decision to trade Bo Horvat, and the second was the decision to acquire Filip Hronek.
It is en vogue to bundle these two components (as one would their home and auto insurance) into a “Horvat for Hronek” quip, but I think they should be considered separately because the first decision also encompassed an implied choice to keep JT Miller over our Captain. Miller had an uneven year last year, and would have been a valuable trade asset, but front office effectively elected to keep him when they shipped out Horvat. Raty and Beauvillier were also included in the return, but Raty was a somewhat distressed asset even as a legitimate prospect, and Beauvillier was a cap dump, making the pick the real prize. Obviously then that first rounder (whose loss I still lament somewhat) and a high second in a deep draft were a high price to pay for an injured Hronek in a seller’s market. None of that seemed grounded in reality at the time.
However, so far this year, that series of events has been causal to a resurgence of the team. Hronek has been an outstanding partner for Hughes, and while splitting them up limits the depth of the corps at large, it also gives the coach a pairing he can hard-match against opposing stars for 25 minutes a game. And speaking of the coach, while I disliked the treatment Boudreau got at the time, I have come around on the idea of Rick Tocchet being the right fit. They kept JT Miller has been spectacular this season, and some of that is certainly a result of compatibility with his coach. Several others up and down the lineup, starting with Boeser, have thrived under Tocchet’s style and validated the decision to hire him.
So yes, while the cautious Canucks fan in me knows how quickly things can turn bad for this team, I have changed my opinion about them, and it all goes back to the move to sell high on Bo Horvat. And I can tell you that for free.
Marty McBongs:
It hasn’t changed, the writing has always been on the wall that this core could do some damage. The problem was getting them to buy in and change the room dynamic away from what it’s become since the Sedins retired and the team was traded away. Locked in an endless retooling of coaches and players, nobody knew what was expected and the players had no direction. Since the new management and coaching staff arrived, it’s been explained what’s expected and the team bought in 100%. So no, my opinion hasn’t changed, but the validation felt knowing this team was capable of this is heartwarming.
kanucked:
My opinion of the team has definitely changed. I thought they would be a playoff bubble team, and now it appears that they should make the playoffs. Not ready to call them contenders just yet. Let’s check back in March.
JDM:
At the start of the season, I said we’ll know who the Tocchet Canucks are after 15 games. Last year, he didn’t have a training camp to implement what he wanted them to do, the schedule after the deadline was soft, and the defensive personnel looked very different, so the Tocchet coached games last year were not, to me, an indication of what the team would be when he got them doing what he wanted them to do.
What I expected that to look like, if all went to plan, was effectively “Travis Green Hockey Plus.” Structure and relatively low risk, low event hockey at even strength, denying the middle of the ice but giving up a lot of shots and not generating a ton of chances at the other end, and then doing most of their damage with their power play. If the PK could improve significantly, which, again, due to a major turnover in personnel I thought was likely, they could win games that way and wind up in a wild card spot, even if it would be nerve-wracking and require Demko to be Demko and hold the lead late in games.
That is actually exactly what it looked like in the Tampa game. They were fine, but they didn’t get enough calls to get any momentum going on the PP and therefore couldn’t get the extra goal they needed before Tampa made it 4-2. Since that game, it has looked nothing like that. The team isn’t biding its time waiting for its chance to strike, it’s just striking. Constantly. And outside of a few scrambly episodes (e.g. the 5-2 NSH win) they’ve looked very much in control.
So, back to the initial question… I’m still waiting for 15 games in. Maybe it’ll even take 20. I can’t decide to change my opinion. When it happens, I’ll know. I know what it feels like when I go into a game comfortable that the team is going to hold a lead, because I had that for years when the Sedins were at their best. And on the other side of the coin, I know the feeling of thinking “OK, they’ve got a two-goal lead going into the third, so surely they should get at least a point out of this, right? Please?” because I’ve felt that feeling many times for the past few years.
When I trust them enough to get the former feeling again on a regular basis, I will know that my opinion of the team has truly changed.
ShawnAntoski:
Cautiously optimistic, but refreshing to be watching a team, that is not scrambling (so much), whilst still utilizing the strength of the team: goaltending.
One game at a time. Hope they continue to improve their knowledge of Tocchets’ system, as the game becomes more meaningful, ‘cause injuries will happen and sometimes a good system play can mitigate a significant loss to the roster (probably, except for Demmer).
sydblackwell:
I was very optimistic that Tocchet´s insistence on conditioning and system had been embraced by the players and that it would lead to a much better October. It did. However, it is even better than I had hoped. Statistically, it is the best start ever and that is what I feel having watched the Canucks since 1970. The single most visible difference is the ferocious, relentless forecheck. We have rarely had much of a forecheck. I like it. However, it is hard to sustain over a whole season. So far, brilliant.
HockeyfanMexico:
Ahh the beauty of logged comments from posts past! I am on record from a previous question of where do you think they will finish in the standings. I said at the time they will grab the first wild card spot, meaning 7th in the conference. While my opinion of the Canucks has not changed (it’s still early) my opinion of the Pacific Division has. I don’t think anyone saw the complete collapse of Edmonton, or the slow start of Seattle. Calgary and LA are about where I thought. Due to that, I have Vancouver finishing 3rd in the Pacific (possibly even 2nd). I don’t think they are quite as good as their record, but still better than most of the division. So no, but also yes.
Jibsys:
Cautious optimism is the best description for my opinion. This team looks like world beaters and it is positive to have a great start to the season.
My caution comes from following the team for a very long time. Recently we saw a Boudreau bump and also saw good late season finishes under coach Green. The difference this year is the great start, as opposed to my previous examples of finishing well. I probably had them just outside the playoffs to start the season, so yes, my opinion has changed and now see them as a team to beat.
I do think this does give reason for optimism and the disciplined team, improved depth and player buy-in all give cause for hope.
defenceman factory:
No my opinion of the team hasn’t changed. I was optimistic the existing players would play to their potential and the new editions would address problem areas. The biggest surprises are the growth in Hughes’ game and Boeser playing as well as he has.
I wasn’t sure about the coaching staff and remain convinced the weight of starting last year with a coach and captain walking dead was a big part of why the team was terrible.
The coaching has exceeded expectations. They have provided stability and vision and enabled sound leadership. One more thing to wait and see on, consistency.
Frank:
I’m shocked with this fast start by the team. I had braced myself for another slow start as they were integrating in so many new players. Yes, my view of this team has changed over the first month. I saw the Dallas game in person and it was a revelation. The players were in sync all night and they played hard, smart, and disciplined. They were hard on the puck and took away time and space from their opponent. I think it was one of the best performances I’ve seen from the team.
51Geezer:
Yes, my opinion is completely different. I thought, one year ago, that the team was unfixable, or fixable only with several high draft picks that could be obtained only by trading stars and tanking.
It appears I was wrong. I now think the team is pretty good and that one more piece might make them a contender.
Uncle Jeffy:
(Winner of the author’s once-in-a-lifetime award for outstanding creativity)
Has my opinion changed? Yes, and no.
Yes, because I now believe that the Canucks are no longer their own worst enemy in terms of questionable management decisions.
No, because as a long-time Canucks fan, I can’t help but wonder how this will all come crashing down on our hopes and dreams. Again. In the spirit of frivolous fun, and/or for a reverse jinx, there has to be a very Canucks-like downfall…
Perhaps a Gary Bettman Retroactive Canadian Franchise Penalty™?
Something like Steve Yzerman advising the league that Ken Holland received an email from the Vancouver Canucks prior to the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, containing a typo on Quinn Hughes’ birthdate. Stevie Y claims that Holland relied upon the information in this email, thus leading him to erroneously believe that Hughes was ineligible for that 2018 draft, and selecting Filip Zadina sixth overall instead. Mr Bettman, after 37 months of careful deliberation, determines that the Red Wings were wronged, and corrects the situation by retroactively reversing the draft picks, thus awarding Quinn Hughes to the Detroit Red Wings and Filip Zadina to the Canucks. As punishment for their error, the Canucks must honour Zadina’s pre-buyout contract (not his current one), and must also relinquish the Canucks’ 2024 first round pick to the San Jose Sharks as compensation for their loss of a player that was a former first round pick. Since the ruling instantly puts the Canucks in default by mis-reporting their daily Salary Cap Hit, they must forfeit their first game of the next playoff series against any US-based team, or three games if it is against the Arizona Coyotes.
When the Canucks appeal, Bettman reports that Yzerman used his Original Six SuperPower Card™ to nullify the appeal, and then awards the Red Wings a two-minute game-opening powerplay every time the Canucks and Red Wings meet in the future, due to the failed challenge. Bettman also reminds the Canucks that the Chicago Blackhawks still have 20 such SuperPower cards, even after using one to win the 2023 Entry Draft lottery, so they had better be careful when appealing any league rulings in the future.
sixpax:
Not at all. I always knew that this team was better than they showed on the ice, and with some stable, competent management, and structurally-sound coaching, they could be actually good.
BeerCan Boyd:
Has my opinion of the Canucks changed? Of the management team, somewhat. Of the players, only Boeser and the resurgent Myers, and maybe Cole. Of the coaching staff, and principally Tocchet? 100%. I thought he’d be an old school troglodyte, and that hasn’t been the case at all.
It’s a very happy mea culpa, tell you that for free.
TIHS:
The right side of the defence was the most glaring concern coming into the season, but Mark Friedman has really helped settle things on the back end. Friedman’s addition, in turn, has helped take the pressure off Myers who has been playing better the last few games.
Backup goaltending was also a concern in the summer, but the acquisition of De Smith shored the Canucks up in net.
So, my opinion of the team’s RHD and G situation has markedly improved. Not a bad return for Tanner Pearson, Jack Rathbone, and Karel Plasek. Well done Allvin.
The internet has spoken.

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