WWYDW Summer Debates: Who is the best GM in Vancouver Canucks history?

Stephan Roget
8 months ago
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Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet that generally manages to entertain its audience.
Speaking of generally managing, few franchises have had as many colourful GMs as the Vancouver Canucks. Plenty of post-mortems have been performed on the previous regime, enough so that we feel pretty confident about how a Summer Debate about the worst GM in team history would go, but the other end of the excellence spectrum is definitely a little murkier.
Patrik Allvin is the 12th official Canucks GM, and the 15th if acting and interim GMs are included. From Bud Poile to Jim Benning, there have definitely been some ups and downs over Vancouver’s 53-year franchise history.
But we’re not asking for a blow-by-blow history here.
What we’re asking for today is a synthesis. Add up all the trades, all the signings, all the draft picks, all the coaching hires, all the quotables. Average them out. Weigh them. And, when you’re done, try to have come up with a singular answer to the following debate topic:

Who is the best general manager in Vancouver Canucks history?

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

Which current Canucks’ prospect will make the biggest impact at the NHL level?

Your responses are listed below!
The only Canucks prospects I see as sure NHL players are Willander, Pettersson (D-Petey), and Silovs. Of these three prospects, I think Willander has the most upside.
So, Willander will have the most NHL impact from this current batch of Canucks Prospects.
I forgot about Akito Hirose. I think he will be a guaranteed NHL player, too. I really, really liked his play and think he could give Willander a run for his money on the left side. I will still give the edge to Willander.
I think Silovs will have the biggest impact; not only will he prove to be a legitimate starting goalie, it will allow the Canucks to trade Demko next offseason for a nice return.
I think Lekkerimäki will score more, Klimovich will be more of a fan favorite, but Willander will have the biggest impact. Similar to Dan Hamhuis, I think there will be little flash, but consistent 20+ min per night in with little power play time. While there won’t be many headlines, the team will be more competitive and the defence more sound. We saw what happened in 2011 when Hamhuis was injured in the SCF. I believe we would have won if Hamhuis wasn’t injured.
52 years on…..and on…:
When I look at the list of Canucks prospects, I don’t really see any high-end/high-skill difference-makers. Certainly no one I would rate as a blue-chipper. That leaves Silovs as the only player that can really have an opportunity to impact multiple games in a season and he is currently on a trajectory to achieve that.
Malcolm Metcalf:
Make the most impact…for the team was the question, correct ?
In the more immediate future, I’d have to say — with fingers crossed — Sasson and Hirose. Long-term success has to be Silovs and Willander, maybe Lekkerimäki in two-three years.
  1. Silovs
  2. Willander
  3. Lekkerimäki
I will say Arturs Silovs, simply because he looks promising and goaltenders can often have an outsized impact on games.
defenceman factory:
The preamble to this piece gets at the issue of how prospects are rated; the relative certainty of a high floor versus the uncertainty of a player’s projected ceiling.
Silovs will have the greatest impact and short- to medium-term benefit to the Canucks. His development will allow the Canucks to trade Demko with a year left on his contract for two good assets. Silovs will become a top-ten NHL goalie and reliable starter until the next Clarke disciple emerges.
Hard to distinguish between Willander and EP2. Both will be top-four D-men negating the need for finding expensive UFAs for those roles. I’ll give the edge to Willander, as RHD UFAs cost more and are harder to find. They both help make room for players like Hughes and Hirose to be on the team and maximize their impact. They should also allow the Canucks to replenish the prospects by trading Soucy before his last year and Hronek a couple years into his next contract.
The next is a group of wingers with size; Bloom, Klimovich, and McDonough. Not sure which will have the most impact, but this next generation of wingers are going to allow the Canucks to actually be hard to play against and establish Vancouver as an unpleasant place for visiting teams. They’ll play in middle-six roles, contribute meaningful points, and make opposing D-men nervous.
The next group in my ranking are the high-potential forwards, Raty and Lekkerimäki. In five years, they may be #1 and #2 on this list, but just because you got a 12% ROI on your small cap stock investments last year doesn’t make it smart to count on it for the next five years.
Based on “POTENTIAL” impact:
  1. Willander
  2. EP 2.0
  3. Silovs (mainly because of Clark)
Injuries, poor habits, &/or poor attitude can easily derail a prospect’s chances. Plus, the tendency of coaches to have their favorites. Hoping they stay healthy and continue to improve?
Based on previous Canucks prospects, we should just hope that ANY of them has an impact!
If Arsh Bains could make it as an everyday NHL player, that would have a huge impact on hockey in the lower mainland.
Hockey Bunker:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
There is only one world-beater, and that is the long-legged Latvian.
Craig Gowan:
Willander and Silovs are the top prospects, in my view. The former will be a top-four RHD and Silovs a starting NHL goalie.
arthur kidd:
I agree with [Cammi] Granato and think Willander is a beauty. He’s just what the Canucks needed.
I like Silovs, too, but there’s so much more a goalie has to go through to be successful in the NHL. It’s a lonely position, and the most important one. Silovs is off to a great start with the confidence he’s got going now, but there’s lots more to go through. And you’re never safe from losing it, no matter what you’ve accomplished. Look at Holtby. That being said, if Silovs is the backup next year, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a big splash right away.
brian hodgson:
I’m going to risk being laughed at. I’m going to say Jett Woo. He has playoff defenseman written all over. Silovs a close second. The only thing that matters is playoff performance. I’m sure it’s still true that d-men for the most part don’t mature until they’re 25 or older. He is getting better every year in the AHL.


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