The Vancouver Canucks had a superb game on Saturday with a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in which Thatcher Demko was outstanding. It’s been an interesting week for the organization as the Canucks had a tough loss against the New York Islanders and a couple of big wins on either side of that loss.
The AHL team was shooting the lights out on their homestand as they scored 26 goals over their four games this week.
We also saw another hiring in the front office with the addition of Cammi Granato as assistant general manager.
Say what you want about this team and their roster, they sure haven’t been stingy with giving us a bevy of content.
We have a big mailbag this week and why not get into those questions now!
We had a few questions about the Pavel Zacha rumours that Jeff Marek floated on hockey night in Canada this weekend. Simply put, Marek reported that the Canucks are showing interest in the New Jersey Devils’ centre.
Zacha has had problems with the Devils in the past and on the last year of his three-year deal, the assumption is that he is looking to move on from New Jersey. Zacha has some offensive upside and has improved on his faceoff ability over the past couple of years. As for your question, it’s no surprise to see Pavel Zacha’s name come up as a trade option, it was a little bit curious to hear that the Canucks were in on him. Jason Dickinson was brought in to play third-line centre but now with a new management group, this may be an option for a trade.
I’d be into seeing a swap of Dickinson for Zacha and even if the Canucks have to attach a late-round pick, this could still be a win for them. I’d lean on Rachel Doerrie with her background with the Devils as well as her analytics background. If there’s a deal to move on from Dickinson, I’d be very open to it. Dickinson clearly has not worked out the way many hoped and it seems that Zacha wants to move on from New Jersey. Dickinson doesn’t have any trade protection and is at a decent salary cap hit for this year and the two that follow. Dickinson’s defence-first way of playing could be enticing to the Devils as they look to rebuild their middle-six.
If Zacha is simply being acquired for a draft pick, I’d stay away. You don’t need another Dickinson situation on your hands and though Zacha can be useful, he isn’t the perfect third-line centre. He has his faults and I’ve been told he can be somewhat of a passenger on offence even though he has pretty good numbers at five-on-five.
We’ve been told time and time again by everyone who has joined this management group that there is a team mentality with the front office. I’d imagine that Patrik Allvin, Cammi Granato, Derek Clancy and Émilie Castonguay all have a ton of respect for the Sedins as players and will quickly learn to respect their minds as well. The two AGM’s that I see the Sedins working closely with are Clancy and Granato due to the scouting aspect.
From what I’ve gathered, being around the AHL team and speaking with a lot of their players, it seems like the Sedins’ beginning role with the organization is to be working with the prospects about what adjusting to professional hockey is all about. They spend a lot of time out in Abbotsford at practices and are a constant at the home games as well. Right now, it feels like they are culture setters more than anything. There may be a lot more going on behind the scenes that we aren’t hearing about but from all we have seen and heard, they are there to support players and teach some of the young players like Jett Woo, Danila Klimovich, Jack Rathbone, Mikey DiPietro, and others about how to grow a winning culture.
I’d expect their roles to grow as time goes on and let’s remember that the Sedins were hired in June. They are finding where they can help in the organization and with all the recent changes, they may be able to help in some new roles. We just haven’t heard much about that yet. They are still learning what they can bring to a hockey ops group.
I’ve heard that there are some serious conversations about Linus Karlsson coming over to North America as soon as his SHL season concludes. Karlsson is the leading scorer in the SHL when you look at NHL prospects. Karlsson is 22 years old and beginning to look like one of the best offensive drivers in the SHL.
I’m expecting to see Karlsson in Abbotsford next fall at the latest. If he can show well in the AHL, it won’t be long until he gets an NHL shot. Allvin and Jim Rutherford have been open with the team talking about exploring European free agents, Karlsson seems like a slam dunk as they already own his NHL rights. I’m expecting a contract to be agreed on as early as late March, depending on how his team does in the SHL playoffs.
Karlsson has a great release, handles the puck well, and may not be the quickest skater but he’s good at getting to the right spot on the ice. Some time in the AHL next year will show his worth and how close he is to being an NHL contributor. It’s a positive takeaway with what he’s shown so far this season in the SHL.
Something about Rogers Arena being full of opposing fans and having them leave feeling like losers is great.
They get too much coverage on our sports stations and annoy the heck out of us here on the west coast. This is what makes me really miss local sports coverage on television. Thank goodness for Donnie and Dhali, they are crushing it and giving Vancouver a voice on television.
Yeah, I’ve never felt so old as I did while at David Quadrelli’s 22nd birthday party. I’m still only 28 but wow, did I ever feel old going to a young person’s bar.
I’ll stick with my pubs, where they have pull tabs and better food.
That wraps-up another Monday mailbag here at CanucksArmy. Thanks as always for sending in your questions and keep your eyes open for the Sunday call for questions. We will see you next week!