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2,253 Gaming the system


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  1. Benning and Hamhuis still talking...

    I honestly don't get it myself. Even with everything that went wrong for Hamhuis last season, he still easily charts as a top-4 D. He averaged 21:24 TOI/G last season. He faced the third toughest level of competition (after Edler-Tanev). He had a positive Corsi Rel (+6.5--which was actually best among all Canucks defenders--and a +3 CF%Rel), even while paired mostly with Weber and Bartkowski (and their WOWYs show just how positive an effect Hamhuis has on-ice--both were pretty awful without Hamuis but stayed above water while playing with him). And the most encouraging thing IMO was how Hamhuis finished last season. Coming back from a horrendous injury, wearing a full shield, and with trade rumours circulating, Dan just went about his business and played his best hockey of the season. He was averaging close to 25 minutes a night down the stretch. And I'd agree that he was often our best D for many of the games played during the final quarter of the 2015-16 season. Sure he had a slow start and some bad games early on (not really a surprise if you look who he had to pair with ), followed by a simply nightmarish injury, but even after all that, his full-year stats aren't bad at all. And based on the "eye test" of how he finished the season, I have no doubts that Hamhuis still has the goods to be a very effective defender. Hamhuis remains a rock solid 3/4 D (arguably top-2 defensively--which many of his stats still back up) and he should be able to play at a top-4 level for a few more years yet.
  2. Benning and Hamhuis still talking...

    Good news. As for who's potentially on the block, Sbisa has to be one of the front runners.
  3. What are we getting in Gudbranson?

    Was just perusing some stats and noticed a lot of similarities between the underlyings for Gudbranson and Niklas Hjalmarsson, especially after you account for age. Very similar usage. And very similar negative Corsi Rel (until this past season for Hjalmarsson--at age 28) and "poor" rates for shot suppression and events totals (which is understandable given their usage and play style). This bodes very well IMO. If Gudbransson can even approach the effectiveness of a Hjalmarsson, while also bringing his size, physicality, and overall "bite" to his game, then JB will have set this team up very well for the future.
  4. What are we getting in Gudbranson?

    I'd be pretty impressed with Benning if he pulled it off (trade Sbisa, with no retention, and for futures; re-sign Hamhuis with the freed cap space). I've been critical of Benning for his handling of Hamhuis at the TDL. With the Gudbranson trade (and the Canucks apparently working for a while on acquiring a few D options via trade), it really looked like Hamhuis was done here (and maybe he is). For me, that calls into question whether or not JB should have pushed harder to make a move (edit: to get a return for Hamhuis). I don't think there's any doubt, in hindsight, that he should have started the process earlier (as far as approaching Hamhuis with the possibility of being traded, getting him to waive his clause, getting a list of approved destinations, possibly pushing harder for Hamhuis to consider moving east, and also prepping Hamhuis for what he could say and couldn't say in the press). Benning was apparently pretty forceful when he moved Garrison but he seemed somehow less decisive and to have used a softer touch with Hamhuis. I can appreciate the respect he showed to a longtime vet. Especially if re-signing him later was a real possibility. But if Benning was pretty sure they'd be parting ways this offseason, I think he could have been more proactive (in the weeks leading up to the deadline) than he was. That view would certainly change for me if JB signed Hamhuis to an extension (especially if his respectful approach to Hamhuis maintained the goodwill necessary to allow both parties to agree on a deal with some measure of "home town discount") and then moved Sbisa to accommodate the roster and salary cap. Acquiring Gudbranson was quite a nice piece of business. But adding Gudbranson, while also keeping Hamhuis (and getting a return for Sbisa) would be some very strong GM'ing indeed.
  5. What are we getting in Gudbranson?

    I'd be quite happy with that, if we could manage to trade Sbisa without retaining any salary. Not that I don't like Sbisa. I just don't see him becoming a regular top-4 defenseman. And if he tops out as a #5, I'd rather use his salary somewhere else. Re-signing Hamhuis would give us a superior player for right now and a guy who provides more stability, leadership, mentoring, and even offense (compared to Sbisa). Maybe we lose some of Sbisa's (occasional) physicality, but we're not exactly going to be soft with Gudbranson, Tryamkin, and Edler (plus Pedan waiting in the wings). Hamhuis should be good enough for long enough to see the defense through a rebuild. And I think he's got at least 2-3 years worth of being a better defender than Sbisa. So I'd be happy to apply Sbisa's salary to an extension for Hamhuis and hopefully add a pick in the process (by trading Sbisa).
  6. GM's r lining up to make a deal with Vancouver

    Yeah, that's fair value in the current market (for young top-4 defensemen with high pedigrees). Benning was generally correct in referencing the recent trades for Hamilton (1st and two 2nds) and Reinhart (#16 and #33 overall) as comparables (although that Reinhart trade was pretty awful for the Oilers IMO--but we got a much better player than Reinhart and at a slightly lesser price than what Edmonton paid). Also, apparently both Toronto and Edmonton were making offers on Gudbranson. According to "Hockey Widow" from the CanucksCorner forums (whose source is pretty good usually) the Oilers dangled Yakupov plus their 2016 2nd rounder, so I doubt we beat that offer with anything less than the package we gave up. I have no problem with the trade. It was a steep price to pay but well within expectations for what a player like Gudbranson costs in the current market. And to be clear, I think Gudbranson is a very good addition for this team. My only quibble really goes back to the deadline and getting nothing for Hamhuis. The rumour that the Canucks would make a trade ahead of the draft for a young top-4 D has been out there for months. This trade kind of proves the Canucks had plans to acquire a defenseman. Which means that Benning probably knew Hamhuis wasn't coming back (at least not as his Plan A). Benning really should have secured something for Hamhuis. Even the rumoured lowball offer of a 3rd round pick plus B prospect(s) would have taken some sting off the futures he spend to acquire Gudbranson. Better yet would have been getting all his ducks in a row earlier so he could have made a trade ahead of the deadline and worked within the timeframe of teams like Chicago (and thereby acquired a high pick plus prospects). Now, he'll need to sacrifice 2016-17 roster players under contract (like a Hansen) if he hopes to recoup picks for this draft. Again, to be clear, I'm not saying the trade was a mistake or that it downgraded the team's future. Gudbranson is still very young and his acquisition is just as much a move for the future as it solves a problem for the current roster. He's likely going to be a cornerstone of this defense (and the overall team leadership) for years to come. We're in much better shape today, as a result of this move, and probably it's going to be close to a wash longterm (in terms of value), when you consider Gudbranson versus McCann and whoever gets drafted at #33. But that all said, having acquired some futures at the deadline (for expiring contracts that likely won't be extended) would definitely help mitigate the loss (especially of that #33 pick) and make the trade feel like much more of a win. And if we weren't really serious about the option to extend Hamhuis (which appears to be the case), then I can't really support/justify the way Benning (mis)handled that asset (and I'm aware of all the arguments, pro and con, for how the TDL played out). But what's done is done (in terms of Hamhuis) and that shouldn't take away from what is a very good acquisition in Gudbranson. I just wish we had an extra pick or two in the early rounds because there are several players I was hoping we'd draft that now seem out of reach (as with the loss of #33 they'll likely be gone by the time we make our second draft choice).
  7. Re-signing Dan Hamhuis (POLL)

    Absolutely re-sign Hanhuis at 4m/yr for two years if he'll accept that deal. Hopefully with either a limited NTC or with no trade protection (no full NTC/NMC please). He's definitely worth the money. Probably worth a lot more if he stays healthy (and he would certainly get more than $4 million on the open market). We have some nice young pieces on D (Hutton, Tryamkin, etc) and Larsen should claim a roster spot (probably at 6/7 to start), but if Edler and Tanev play first pairing, we really don't have anyone capable of anchoring the second pairing unless we re-sign Hamhuis (or add another D through free agency or trade). Sbisa still has a ways to go if he's ever going to be a legitimate 3/4D. I think it would be a mistake to pencil him in on the second pairing. Same with Hutton and Tryamkin, simply due to age and experience. They may prove themselves capable next season, but it's probably a mistake to assume either of those guys can come out of training camp and shoulder 2nd pairing responsibities for a full 82 games. Not without then having a proven guy playing beside them. Sure it would be nice to sign one of the top UFA Ds. But Vancouver will be hard pressed to attract any of this summer's quality UFAs without overpaying. Hamhuis is gives us a second pairing anchor (he's still a quality top-4 D) and a solid mentor/leader in the room. If the young guys come along well and are soon ready to take those 3/4 spots, then Hamhuis should be easy to trade (assuming he's healthy). Having him signed to a value contract should give Benning a second chance at securing a pretty nice return. Or just let him play out the two years and then re-sign him again as veteran depth. There might be upgrades available on the market but like I said earlier, I doubt the Canucks find themselves able to actually attract a better UFA defenseman than Hamhus. I just don't think we will be on the short list of any of the top free agent Ds (unless Benning is willing to throw absolutely stupid money at them). And unless we replace Hamhuis (with another proven top-4 D), letting him walk will be a significant downgrade to an already weak defense.
  8. Interesting mangement move in Florida

    Also didn't hurt Florida's pool that in the six drafts since 2010, they've had eight 1st round picks (including a 1st overall, a 2nd overall, and two 3rd overalls), seven 2nd rounders, and nine 3rd rounders. Even Delorme would build a strong pool with those picks.
  9. ESPN/Pronman's top 100 draft eligible players

    Keller is also 300+ days younger than Matthews and his points totals from this season are very comparable to what Matthews put up last year (in the same leagues/programs/tourneys/etc). Not saying Keller is as good as Matthews. They are very different players and Keller's size presents some challenges (and risk) that just isn't an issue with Matthews (and the rest of the "consensus" top-5 forwards). But Keller has been criminally underrated in some mocks and rankings, so it's nice to see him getting his due (from Pronman). He's definitely top-10 IMO and I can at least appreciate the argument for ranking him top-5 (although I don't have him that high myself). And five years from now, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Keller proves to be the fourth best player drafted from the 2016 class.
  10. Stamkos Career Is Almost Finished

    OK, I'm gonna say it... First off, I wish nothing but health and success for Stamkos. I want him to have a long career and stay healthy enough to play hockey until he's 40. But, IF his condition caused him to retire early, is that really that much of a problem for us? Stamkos is probably going to want close to maximum salary and maximum term. So seven years if we signed him. Given how scoring forwards chart over their careers, it's likely that Stamkos' peak years with be the first 2-3, and then his production will start to dip. The best value of that contract will be during the years before he hits 30. If healthy, those 30+ years will probably still be decent years, but odds are (even under the best case scenario) Stamkos' goals and points per dollar (and possible even %cap) start to decline during the second half of that contract. So really, if his career is cut short due to blood clots (or whatever medical condition), his early retirement would just save us having to pay out high salary on those suboptimal production years at the back end of the contract. In effect, that max term contract just becomes a short term (2/3/4 year) deal if he retires early. Which might actually be more favourable (assuming we'd get a couple prime years out of him before he calls it quits) than paying out a max salary over the full seven year deal. I know that's pretty cold but I still felt like it needed to be said.
  11. [Official] 2015-16 Utica Comets Thread

    Yeah, don't get me wrong. The sky isn't falling and I'm not doing my best Chicken Little impression here. It's certainly true that Green might not end up being any team's top candidate once they've done all the interviews and weighed all the pros and cons. There are other good candidates available. I suppose my main point is that, if a team like Calgary offers Green a head coaching job in the NHL, I don't see him turning it down. Not unless the Canucks have put assurances in place that he's next in line in Vancouver, and they've offered some type of meaningful promotion (and a raise) for him in the mean time. And while it's not the end of the world if he moves on to another organization, Green leaving could only be seen as a net loss to the organization. I'm highly doubtful we find a better candidate than Green to replace Willie Desjardins if/when that day comes. And Utica probably won't find a better coach for the Comets whenever Green moves on. I guess I just hope that management is doing whatever they can (within reason) to keep Green a part of this organization because I strongly believe he will be an excellent NHL head coach one day (and possibly as soon as next season). As an aside, I recognize that for Utica fans, it makes little difference whether Travis Green ends up coaching in Vancouver or Calgary (or any of the interested teams), as any move up to the NHL means the Comets lose their coach. Vancouver "keep[ing] Green a part of the organization" (to quote myself above) offers little solace to our friends in the Mohawk Valley. And I really don't mean to be insensitive to this fact.
  12. [Official] 2015-16 Utica Comets Thread

    Yeah, Green taking a year would definitely be the best result for us. There's certainly a chance this coming season will be Desjardins' last in Vancouver. And I doubt we would find a better replacement than Green. But that Calgary job would be hard to turn down, if they offer it. There might not be a better opportunity if he waits a year. If things start to turn around here, Desjardins will be safe. And there's no way to predict what type of vacancies will be available in a year's time. Green could wait and then be faced with a situation where the only teams looking for a coach are veteran groups and contenders that want a more experienced member of the coaching fraternity. Calgary right now is a pretty perfect landing spot for a guy like Green. I have little doubt that he'd quickly find success (relative to their recent results) with that group. The timing and fit just seems right IMO. And there just might not be a young team looking for a "fresh face" next season and Green could end up delaying his career by much more than one year if he waits. That all said, the ideal situation for me is that the Canucks bring him on as an assistant this season with the promise that (should Desjardins remain) Green would be promoted to associate coach the next year and have a clear line of succession in place for whenever Desjardins moves on. That coupled with some very generous compensation from CS&E (so that he starts with a noticeable bump to something close to a head coach's salary). Without a plan like that in place, I really doubt we manage to hold on to Travis Green.
  13. Willie D Interview on 1040 May 17

    The Province blog has a post on this as well: And here's the quote from TSNRadio: WD: Right now, our young guys have to be in a spot where they've gotta help us win. So our goal is clear - we're focussed on winning 11:40 AM - 17 May 2016 Not sure I'd expect Willie to be saying much different at this time. Especially given the mandate from management and ownership. It's pretty obvious that we're rebuilding and that we will be bringing young players into the lineup. In that respect, next season will probably be more about "development" than "winning" even if the coach isn't willing to come out and say it. But he's right that the youngsters need to be ready to help the team compete or they shouldn't be taking up roster spots (and would be better served by playing in Utica or junior/college/Europe until they've developed).
  14. [Official] 2015-16 Utica Comets Thread

    Green has proven his loyalty in the past. Took himself out of the running when offered Pittsburgh assistant coaching position in 2014 because of loyalty to the Canucks organization and his desire to see things through with the group in Utica. However, even the most loyal guy would have a hard time turning down an NHL head coaching gig (and I'm expecting Green makes the jump to the next level if/when he's offered that kind of role). Yeah, Botchford on the radio today said that Green is now seen as the front runner for the Calgary job. Also quoted Bob McKenzie saying the same thing. Don't have links as I was just listening in the car. Pretty torn on this. Definitely feel Green deserves the opportunity and would be happy to see him succeed. But would hate losing him after everything he's accomplished with Utica. Even worse to lose him to the Flames.
  15. Yan-Pavel Laplante Talk

    As far as term length, the CBA doesn't allow any wiggle room (on ELCs). Players age 18-21 get three year deals. And as to why he got an NHL deal, I'm just speculating but I'd imagine another club was also interested. If only the Canucks were looking at him, he would have had basically no negotiating power and I doubt he gets anywhere close to the contract he received (his deal is richer than those received by guys like Brisebois and Subban). Also, the fact the Canucks gave him the maximum allowable signing bonus ($92,500 per season) suggests Vancouver might not have been the only offer.