WWYDW Summer Debates: The Greatest Captain in Canucks History

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet that can deal in absolutes without being a Sith.
Speaking of the dark side, we’re definitely entering a dark period of Canucks-related coverage. It’s only May, but it’s already the dog days of summer as far as Vancouver hockey is concerned, and that’s bad news if you’re the author of a weekly column.
So, without further ado, we present the offseason plan for WWYDW/WDYTT: The Great Canuck Debates.
Each week this summer, we’re going to present you some sort of debate related to the Vancouver Canucks’ past, present, and future. Just like always, you’ll make your cases for one side or another in the comment section, and we’ll all get to judge the merits of your argument thereafter.
Just for fun, of course, but feel free to debate as passionately as you please. Especially poignant rebuttals may be included in the final product.
The choice of debate to start us off was an easy one. With Bo Horvat traded and the Canucks’ temporarily without a captain, it’s the perfect time to ponder:

Who was the greatest Vancouver Canucks captain of all-time?

Make your case in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

Which Vancouver Canuck needs to put in the most work this summer? (And on what?)

You answered below!
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Few different ways to go on this — could of chosen Boeser, who needs to keep showing he’s top six worthy; could of chosen a more marginal player (Dries, Aman) to show they deserve a permanent place on the team.
Got to go with OEL though. Canucks aren’t buying him out, he’s not tradable and there’s been some indication that he might have been affected by injury this year and has another gear to get to.
I know many fans aren’t interested, but since he’s here this year anyway, now is surely the last opportunity he has to show he’s capable of at least being an effective 5-6 D-man. Not sure what he can do about improved speed at his age — but working with someone on his turnovers/ transitions.
Have to go with OEL for all the obvious reasons. Hope he proves the fans wrong?
OEL. If he wants to “get his name back,” he needs to do something literally unbelievable next season.
Matt Pisko:
The Canucks team member who has the most work to do this summer is Patrik Allvin. They can’t go another summer of having an ‘adequate’ defense — even with the ‘structure,’ ‘accountability,’ and ‘compete’ that the new coaching staff are preaching. They are functionally capped out for next season, when factoring in potential raises to Ethan Bear and the start of the 8x$7M deal for Miller and the 2x$5.5M deal for Kuzmenko.
Yes, the team generally played better down the stretch, but much of that was predicated on having a return-to-form in starter Thatcher Demko, as well as winning multiple games against cellar dwellers in CHI, ARI, ANA, and SJS. As well as a college player like Hirose or McWard or McDonough showed, the team still has bloated contracts and underperforming players in OEL and Myers — not to mention trying to figure out the salary cap machinations with Poolman and Pearson and more wingers than the team knows what to do with and a salary cap that is not supposed to rise more than $1M in ‘23-24.
Patrik is in tough but I look forward to seeing what can happen, starting with the draft lottery on May 8.
David Williams:
OEL and Boeser are the obvious choices. Prospects at the top of the list include Kravtsov, Podkolzin, and Rathbone. Myers, Pearson, Martin, and Höglander also need to get their game together or find the right fit.
Far and away it has to be OEL. He has to show that he can still skate and that the foot injury is in the past. He has an opportunity to play with Hronek and rebuild his reputation or get bought out.
Rusty Bee:
Only one candidate for me: OEL.
bruce donice:
Podkolzin, Kuzmenko, and Kravtsov need to train their butts off. Tocchet likely has had chats with each one of them and what he expects from them next year. If Kuzmenko can match his play from this year, he is going to have to build his strength and overall fitness. Kravtsov needs to decide if he really likes playing hockey. If he does he needs to get in the best shape he has ever been in, and come to camp with the mentality that he is there to fight for a NHL spot and keep that spirit into games. If he doesn’t show his passion for the game, there is no way he makes the lineup. Podkolzin just has to get his head back into the game and start new by coming to camp ready to play a hard physical game.
If these three players all improve their game, the Canucks will make the playoffs. Kuzmenko will need to keep up his scoring, and if Podkolzin and Kravtsov improve their game and play to their potential, it will be like the Canucks found two more players at no cost, except the players blood and sweat, and investment in training to kick start their careers.
Brain food, uh…fronting Lekkerimäki enough cash so he can buy a gym and eat 6000 calories a day, plus 300 grams of high quality protein powder daily, plus hire a quality spotter and knowledgeable and reputable trainer to propel him forward then train him so he can rip 405 lbs off the mat in power cleans.
Obviously for the Canucks the most important guy to have a great offseason is OEL. He’s a $7 million cap hit and needs to prove that he can be a serviceable D-man. Second I would say is Miller. He was a stinker to start last season and was one of the biggest reason the Canucks failed so miserably to start the season. After that, it’s pretty much half the team. Boeser has never been a beast to start the season. Out of shape and injured to start the last two seasons. Kravtsov has to really learn to up his pace. Podkolzin needs to regain confidence but he arrives in shape. Mikheyev will need to train hard after his surgery.
Beautiful Home:
OEL. Here’s hoping that last season was an aberration because of the broken foot. The longer he can keep his performance at a NHL level, the better. He will get bought out eventually, but the longer he can play NHL minutes, the better it will be on the cap situation. It’s a crazy longshot, but if he can pull off a Karlsson-type renewal, that’d be amazing. Dare to dream right?
Craig Gowan:
OEL is the individual I would single out, but I tend to agree with Tocchet that the whole team is not in top shape. I think improvement in fitness from all the players is necessary.
Joe in Vancouver:
OEL and Boeser can work all summer and it won’t fix the slow.
Petterson and Hughes can put on some weight to help them withstand the pounding they’ll face in the post-Schenn era.
FV Fan:
Podz. Make or break for him. Real disappointment so far.

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