JamesB

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JamesB last won the day on May 1 2015

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  1. Nikolay Goldobin | #77 | LW/RW

    I am sure that Goldy will get a look playing with Pettersson in pre-season and get a look playing with Horvat and Baertschi. Hard to predict how it will work out. One possibility is that Gagner plays center between Pettersson and someone else to start the season. I think Gaudette will get a look with Pettersson on the wing. Good to hear Goldobin is working hard this summer. On the other hand, when was the last time a player said "Taking it easy this summer. Expect to play my way into shape once training camp starts." Some players do that. Just no-one says it. But Goldy certainly has a lot of incentive to be very focused as he is running out of chances. As aGent says, he has gone about as far he can on potential. Time to show what he can do. But with Schaller likely starting the season on the IR or on a conditioning stint in Utica, that opens up the situation a bit.
  2. Adam Gaudette | #88 | C

    I am not sure what you are referring to. I have seen no indication that Gaudette is pissed about pegged as a 3C. For one thing, I don't think he is being pegged as a 3C. But if he turned out to be 3C on a good NHL team (as we hope Vancouver will soon be), I think he would be delighted. He might be unhappy that the three UFA signings have reduced his probably of making the team out of camp from close to 100% to something below 50%, but that is different. Whatever happens I think he will adopt a good attitude and work hard. And I am sure he realizes that playing a lead role on what should be a good Utica team is not a bad outcome for next year, at least to start. Any good team would like Horvat at 2C. Obviously a good team would like a bit more scoring at the 1C position. Pettersson had a great year last year and looks very good, but there is no guarantee he becomes 1C next year or ever in the NHL. Maybe it will turn out that he is better on the wing. Given his relatively slight build I think playing C in NHL might be a challenge for him. But the Canucks would certainly like him to be able to take the 1C role. I look at it this way. If Horvat is your 1C, then you probably thin at the center position. But if Horvat is your 2C, then your center position is looking very good, as you have a world-class 2C and, presumably, a guy even better at 1C. Gaudette will be in the mix for 2C, 3C or 4C by this time next year, maybe even this year. He could be at 2C coming out of camp (although I think that is unlikely).
  3. Last year, Alex Biega had 100% game winners! (He scored one goal and it was a game-winner.) Top that, Daniel Sedin. And do Daniel's numbers mean he was taking it easy when the game was not on the line? More seriously, I think that timing matters a lot. Not just playoffs, but critical regular season games, time in game, and score in game are relevant also.
  4. Thanks for the information. I have no real idea about the actual quality of the players but, given all the hype, I was assuming that Dahlin would be the frontrunner -- even though D's are not usually strong contenders. I would think Pettersson and Casey M. would be in the mix, I also think Svechnikov is a contender. That is my top 4 right now. And there is always a good chance that a dark horse comes through.
  5. Elias Pettersson | C/RW

    I think the chance either Boucher or Gaunce makes the 23 man roster out of camp is very low, particularly for Boucher. I also think it is very likely that both guys clear waivers. At the start of the season all teams are struggling to try to get down to 23 players, lots of players are on waivers, and there are very few injury replacements to worry about. Given his age, there is very little upside for Boucher. He has shown himself to be an excellent AHL scorer, but does not have the kind of game to play bottom 6, and is not a good enough scorer to play top 6 in the NHL. Gaunce just doesn't score enough, even for a 4th liner. He might still improve and, later in the season, a team might pick him up off waivers, but not to start the season. I agree that Goldobin and Leipsic are in competition in camp, although I would put Granlund in the same competition. I think two of those guys will be on the 23 man roster and one won't. And they all require waivers. Personally, I like Leipsic. Among other things he can play anywhere from the 2nd to the 4th line. Goldy is more of a "top 6 or bust" kind of guy. As for Granlund, as Green has said and as Granny has said, he had a bad year last year. He needs to look better than that in camp to make the team. And, while I think Gaudette probably starts in Utica, he is not out of the conversation. If he outplays Granny and Goldy in camp, he has a shot to make the team and maybe both those guys are traded or waived.
  6. Quinn Hughes | D

    I would have no problem with QH going back to college. But I am guessing he will sign. If he does, I would like to see him start the year in Utica and spend the whole year there unless he dominates at the AHL level. Having seen Hughes play at the IIHF championships it is clear he is not out of place with NHL quality players -- in a short tournament. But "not out of place" does not mean that he moves the dial. In the long run it looks very likely that he will be a lot better than Pouliot, Hutton and DMZ (and Juolevi). But it is far from obvious that he would be a lot better than those guys this year. And the Canucks are not likely to make the playoffs anyway. Also, it will be a struggle to handle the travel, the heavier game of the NHL, and just the number of games. A year transitioning in Utica (with a tougher schedule than college but much easier than the NHL in terms of travel and mid-week games) makes sense to me. And, from the Canuck point of view, there is a major contractual advantage if his contract slides for a year (which happens if he plays less than 10 games in the NHL). It delays the time to RFA status and to UFA status by a year. We are all impatient to see Hughes on the Canucks, but I think patience might be the better strategy. (And, as has been much discussed, D's take a bit longer to transition. It is very rare for D's be difference-makers in the NHL in their D+1 season.)
  7. Very entertaining OP. Unlike some others, I am taking this mostly as fantasy/amusement rather than actual predictions. But I would focus on three items have a shot at coming true. 1. Based on career trajectory so far, Pettersson has to have a shot at the Calder. He is not the favorite going into the season, but he has to be in the top 5, maybe top 3. He won't get 80 pts, but he might be playing center before the season is too far along. 2. It is very tough to reach 40 goals, Last year only 8 guys did it and only one guy got over 45. But Boeser does have legitimate shot. 3. Nothing else on the list is more than a longshot. But Juolevi certainly could be on the team by the end of the season. MDZ and Hutton might go, but Edler is unlikely to waive his NTC.
  8. 2018-19 Utica Comets Thread

    These are all correct statements in my view. Virtanen and Leipsic will be on the team (barring trades) because they would not clear waivers and the Canucks would (rightly) get roasted if gave up those guys on the waiver wire. Even if they are outplayed in camp, unless the margin is huge, they will be on the team. Gagner, Gaunce, and Beagle would clear. The Canucks "won" the bidding war on Gagner and Beagle, which means no other team was will to pay what the Canucks paid. But there is no way the Canucks will waive Beagle. And I doubt if the Canucks will waive Gagner. It probably makes more sense to play him, hope he puts up decent numbers, and then retain salary and trade him for a pick or prospect at the deadline. As for Gaunce, I don't see how there is room for him. I expect him to start the season in Utica, where he could play center if necessary. There is also a lot of talk about Granlund. At most points in the season he probably would not clear but, at the start of the season when all teams are putting guys on waivers to get down to the 23 man limit and very few players are injured, I think we would clear. So I think there is a pretty good chance he plays in Utica as well. And he could also play center. I think Gaudette is on the bubble. I think he likely starts in Utica, but there is a small chance he makes the team. Before the Canucks signed three bottom six UFAs, I thought he was a lock to make the team, but it is hard to see it now. In any case, Utica should have a very good team.
  9. Battles at camp

    The problem with these battles is that there are not enough roster spots for this set of battles to take place. Barring trades, the following forwards are all waiver-eligible and are very likely to be on the roster. 1. Horvat 2. Baertschi 3. Sutter 4. Eriksson 5. Gagner 6. Beagle 7. Roussel 8. Schaller 9. Leipsic 10. Virtanen There are two more waiver-eligible guys who the Canucks would prefer not to expose. 11. Granlund. 12. Goldobin There are two waiver-exempt guys who I think are locks 13. Boeser 14. Pettersson One more waiver-exempt guy has a shot, but either Granlund or Goldy would have to be exposed to waivers to make it happen: 15. Gaudette And that's all she wrote. Last year the Canucks went with 13 forwards and 8 D's. Maybe this year they go with 14 forwards this year but, either way, there is no room at the Inn. Guys like Lind, Dahlen, Gadjovich, Palmu, Mott or Boucher would have to play like Wayne Gretzky to make the team and even then would probably start the season in Utica. Despite what the Canuck brass have said about "internal competition", the guys listed on the previous line have been frozen out of competition by the new acquisitions. Same with Archie, Gaunce and MacEwen. Even if guys like Gagner or Eriksson or Beagle or Roussel get outplayed in camp, there is no way the Canucks would waive those guys. In my opinion they would all clear waivers but it would be too embarassing for the Canucks to have those contracts in Utica. (The problem with "winning" bidding wars for players, as happened with all of these guys, is that it means, by definition, that no-one else is willing to pay what your are paying them -- at least to start the season. At the deadline you can sometimes trade a guy on a short-term contract, but that does not help make room on the roster to start the season, and these guys don't have short-term contracts anyway.)
  10. A defense of FA signings/Benning by a Benning hater

    Your second line-up is very close to what I am now thinking is likely. Or course there is a lot of uncertainty and I think Gagner will be in there unless he is traded. But I guess he could be 13th man. And I would go with Leipsic ahead of Granlund. And of course Goldie is missing from both these line-ups. Obviously Benning will be trying hard to trade one of Leipsic, Gagner, Granlund, and Goldie. Barring injuries or other trades of other players, there just isn't room for all four guys if Gaudette makes the team, which seems to be the way the Canucks are leaning. I think what Crabcakes suggests is exactly what the Canucks are doing and I think it is a change in strategy. Instead of bottom six players who are in the bottom six simply because they are not good enough for the top 6, the Canucks are going with guys have a clear bottom 6 role. And they are building in redundancy, Obviously Benning was unhappy that after losing Dorsett the Canucks had no real replacement and the character of the team changed. Personally, I think this change in strategy makes sense. So the problem is not strategy, The criticism Benning is getting relates to term and cost. Three years down the road, cap space could be an issue. Over the next 3 years, the Canucks will need to re-sign Boeser, Pettersson, Gaudette, Hughes (if he plays on the Canucks this year) and other young guys that show promise. And they will need space for other young guys. The question to me is not "is this strategy good?". The question is "is the cost of implementation too high?". Maybe we could have managed with just one of Roussel or Beagle. I am not saying they are the same, and I realize that Beagle's skills at center are very helpful, but having just one of those guys in the lineup along with Schaller (and with Archie as backup in Utica) might have been enough. One extra benefit of the signings it that it makes it easier for Hughes to turn pro. If he plays with the Canucks, there will be some guys to provide protection.
  11. A defense of FA signings/Benning by a Benning hater

    Sometimes in his own net. This is quite similar to what I recently heard Benning say in an interview. There a couple of points here. First, while it is no doubt true that Eriksson would do better with better linemates, this does mean that he is not the kind of guy who drives play. When you pay $6 million a year (with an NTC and a bonus structure that makes a buyout useless) long term for a guy of his age, I think you should expect a lot more. Eriksson is a good defensively, which means he is a useful player playing shutdown with Sutter. Not $6 million useful, but he does at least help the team in that role. However, it would not surprise me at all to see Eriksson with Pettersson to start the year -- maybe with Gagner at center ice. All three guys have some skill and this could be a decent scoring second line. And the fact that Eriksson is defensively responsible would help Pettersson and make up a bit for Gagner's relatively poor defensive play. No doubt Travis will try different combinations, but I think Eriksson will get a decent look in an offensive role. But, as I mentioned, playing shutdown is not a bad use of his talents either, especially if his scoring touch has declined with age, which is quite possible.
  12. A defense of FA signings/Benning by a Benning hater

    Thought I would respond to this. 1. First, from what I have read and heard about the free agent signings (which is more than is healthy), I would say that the general reaction outside of the Canuck fanbase is pretty negative. No-one is saying "great move" and even the more restrained commentators mention "term" and "high price". I am not saying that everyone is saying the moves are terrible. There just aren't many people saying they are good. 2. There is a strong almost Trump-like anti media bias on many fan boards that leads people to dismiss negative media commentary but, being honest, if the people who have enough skills to be paid to comment on hockey are mostly negative, that is something to take seriously. And I don't buy in to the "pro-Toronto" media bias. Toronto is getting a lot of attention because they are doing well. Odd's Shark has updated its Stanley Cup probabilities. See https://www.oddsshark.com/nhl/stanley-cup-futures. They have Toronto first and they have Vancouver dead last. That is not media bias, This is "put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is" betting odds. 3. The problem with the current deals is not THIS YEAR. The problem is two years down the road. That is when guys like Lind, Gadjovich, Jasek, Dahlen, MacEwan, Palmu and others might be expected to make the team if things go well -- or maybe they are ready next year. Those are the guys potentially being blocked. And even now, I think this is a set-back for Gaudette and Leipsic, both of whom looked good last year and have real upside. 4. Yes, the problem is made worse by the existence of the Gagner and Eriksson contracts. But those contracts did not materialize out of the thin air. They are also due to Benning's moves and are part of the same strategy of bringing in "veteran leadership". It is a case of too many "leaders" and not enough young guys. How many veteran "leaders" does the team need: Edler, Tanev, MDZ, Gudbranson, Gagner, Eriksson, Sutter, and now the three new UFAs are all veterans. And it is not like Horvat and Boeser need older guys showing them what to do. They are probably already more valuable natural leaders than any of the older guys, as is Stecher. 5. The problem is not getting one of these guys, or even two (including Archie). But with the three new guys and Archie, that is too much. I would not mind overpaying for Roussel OR Beagle, but this issue is overpaying for both of them, while also bringing back Archie and signing Schaller. That is overkill. Personally, I think Benning went too far. However, if he can turn out and trade a couple of guys for picks in next year's draft I will be a lot happier. But I doubt that will happen. As others have said, I think Benning should focus on the draft. He has done well in recent drafts (and I think a lot of that is due to Judd Brackett). But I don't see how the trades and/or UFA signings have moved the team forward at all.
  13. Here's what we got now !

    Yes, Benning has pretty much said that Pettersson will be on the team to start the season. He has also implied, to my surprise, that there is a good chance Gaudette makes the team. If we really want to make playing in the NHL as difficult as possible for Pettersson, the way to do it would be to put him with Sutter. But it won't happen. Sutter IS a very good shutdown center who should get matchups against the other team's top line and a lot of D-zone starts. He is NOT a good passer or playmaker and does not have much offensive creativity. That is exactly the opposite of what the Canucks want as a linemate for Pettersson. Probably the first line will be Baertschi, Horvat, and Boeser. A scoring second line will be built around Pettersson. Candidates for linemates would be Eriksson, Gagner, Goldobin, Leipsic Granlund, or Gaudette. Maybe even Virtanen gets a look. Pettersson probably starts on the wing, with Gagner at center, but Pettersson could also play center. Sutter will center the shutdown line, which I am calling the third line, even though it will be the second line in terms of minutes played. Lots of contenders for the wings -- Roussel, Granlund, Eriksson, even Archie (although he probably starts in Utica). The 4th line will have Beagle, Schaller and someone from the candidates for the 2nd and 3rd lines. My guess is Virtanen. No room for Motte or Gaunce. Both would clear waivers at the start of the season when every team is putting guys on the waiver wire to get down to the 23-man roster limit and there are few injuries that need replacements. My best guess is: Baertschi, Horvat, Boeser Goldobin, Gagner, Pettersson Roussel, Sutter, Eriksson Schaller, Beagle, Virtanen extras: Leipsic, Granlund But a trade would not be surprising. Goldy, Leipsic, Granny would all be on the trading block if Benning could get a draft pick (2nd or 3rd round) or good waiver-exempt draft pick coming back. And of course Benning would love to get any asset in return for Gaunce or Motte..
  14. Re-Signing RFAs and UFAs

    Good call on the number. The actual cap hit is 3.367 (love the way Benning goes for round numbers). Almost everyone else was below that. (I was 2.5). But the term (3 years) is longer than most people expected. With Stecher and Virtanen still to go, looks to me like total might be around 10 to 11 million for the five RFAs.
  15. Re-Signing RFAs and UFAs

    You're not trying to say the UFA pickups are dogs are you? .