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JamesB last won the day on May 2 2015

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3,018 Gaming the system

About JamesB

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  1. Yes, and there was a time (not long ago) when a lot of people had Subban in the top 5. This time round he won't be in the top 12. The Canucks do have a deeper prospect pool than I can recall. Depending on how we define "prospect" there was time when Linden and Bure were both young guys in the system, and obviously when the Sedins were young guys they made the prospect pool good. And, more recently, there was a time when Edler, Kesler, Schneider, Hansen, and Raymond were all prospects. I have been critical of Benning but, after this year's additions of Pettersson, Lind, Dahlen, Goldobin, Gadjovich and DiPietro to the pool, the prospect pipeline is looking very good. And the Canucks still might get Alex Kerfoot after August 15. Obviously there is uncertainty about every guy on the list. But it plausible that the current prospect list could yield 4 to 6 "core" players (top 6 forwards, top 4 Ds, starting goalie). That would be excellent. We just need to hope that a couple of them turn out to be the kind of franchise players that can lead a Cup run.
  2. I was also thinking about the Canucks' strategy of giving one-way contracts to some players who will likely be in Utica this year. We don't know which players will be in Utica, but it is a virtual certainty that some guys with one-way contracts will be. Here is a list of "bubble" forwards on one-way contracts: Rodin, Boucher, Chaput, Megna, and Burmistrov. And Gaunce will also be trying to get a one-way deal. I think Burmistrov will be on the team to start the season. At least two of the other guys won't make the 23-man roster, maybe three. Biega is also on a one-way contract and is likely to be in Utica. Therefore, the Canucks will be spending a lot more on Utica salaries this year than they did last year, and more than most other teams will spend on AHL salaries. Most AHL players are getting about 70K, but guys on one-way contracts are getting close to ten times as much -- a big difference. The cost does not matter to fans but it does matter to Aquilini. I agree with the OP that providing one-way contracts makes it less likely guys will be picked up on waivers. When a team makes a waiver claim it starts out with that player on the NHL team and pays the NHL salary. However, it is always possible that the waiver pick-up does not play up to expectations (or at least up to hopes) and ends up being put back on waivers and sent to the minors. A team making a waiver wire pick-up has to allow for the possibility that it ends up paying the player's AHL salary, and that is a lot more with one-way contract than with a two-way contract. I am not saying this is a big effect, but I think it is of some relevance. But I don't think this is the main reason why the Canucks have a group of bubble players on one-way contracts. I think the two main reasons are as follows. 1. The Canucks want a stronger team in Utica this year. Now that there will be a number of fairly good prospects in Utica, the Canucks want them to get some winning experience and some playoff experience. So the Canucks don't mind surrounding those prospects with some high quality AHL players. 2. The Canucks want significant competition for the last few spots on the big team. Partly it is a numbers game. If you have 5 or 6 fairly young guys on the bubble, there is a decent chance that one or two of them makes a significant step forward. And part of it is to provide incentives for players to work hard in camp and preseason instead of taking their spots for granted. So the Canucks don't mind bringing in a number of guys on the borderline between AHL and NHL calibre. A couple will make the team despite the competition, which is good. The others will be good AHL players, which is also good. And even if they lose a guy to waivers, it is not a big loss and they will still have other guys of similar quality. All it takes is money, and Linden and Benning obviously persuaded Aquilini to make the investment. It beats spending a lot of money on an overpaid UFA.
  3. Yes, Boucher got what he wanted, which was a one-way deal. The chances are good he ends up in Utica this year and obviously there is a big difference between getting 675K on his one-way deal and getting less than 75K if he had accepted his qualifying offer. In fact, I continue to be surprised by how big the difference is between NHL and AHL salaries in two-way deals, with the NHL part being close to 10 times as much. Yes, Utica could have a much better team this year. Boucher Chaput and Megna should be an excellent first line -- and a very expensive one by AHL standards with all three guys on one-way deals. There is some chance one of these guys could be picked up on waivers, but I think it is unlikely at the start of the season when all teams are trying to get down to the roster limit and almost everyone is healthy.
  4. Yes, it seems quite possible that Pettersson will have a developmental pattern similar to the Sedins. As a player of similarly high skill and similar stature he might take a while to reach his peak performance. Henrik's peak period stretched between age 25 (.91 PPG in 2005-06) and age 32 (.94 PPG in 2012-13). That is actually a pretty normal peak period for high end fowards, although it is not uncommon to get pretty close to that peak by age 23 or 24. But Henrik and Daniel were pretty good NHL players in their draft+2 seasons (their rookie years). Henrik had a PPG of 0.35 that year, which is a respectable 3rd line level. And it was up from there. Still, I agree that it makes no sense to hurry Pettersson as he needs to gain a lot of strength before he is ready. It would not be a surprise to see him in the NHL in his draft+2 year, and I am impatient enough to be hoping for that, but it might make sense to hold off until his draft+3 year (and maybe become the second Canuck to win a Calder trophy, joining Pavel Bure). I agree that we don't want our expectations to get too high but, as you note, Pettersson is a faster skater than the Sedins (and I am guessing he will be better in the shootout ). Pettersson looks like an excellent prospect at this stage. Like a lot of others I wanted and expected the Canucks to pick Glass at #5 overall, but I have warmed up to the Pettersson pick as Pettersson seems to have a higher ceiling, although Glass could be an impact player sooner.
  5. Just for fun I went back and checked out the Canucks Army assessment of Horvat at the end of his draft+1 regular season (by Rhys Jessop). Here is a summary quote: "Bo Horvat will, by all accounts, be an NHL player. He’s a very good CHL’er and possesses a skill set that is fawned over by NHL GMs. When prognosticating these sorts of things, though, we need to evaluate what the most likely outcome is moving forward. For Horvat, the most likely route his career takes sees him topping out as a decent 3rd line C, scoring in the mid-40s in points just once or twice," That assessment is obviously a long way off the mark, but I think it was widely held at the time. On CDC most people were more positive (of course) given normal home bias but even on CDC I think that the standard opinion was that being a good 2C who can also play PK, play shutdown, and take key faceoffs was the top end of his likely range. He has already hit or exceeded that "top end". Have to give some credit to Gillis for that pick. As for Boeser, we have to remember that there is still a fair amount of uncertainty, but he is a high skill player with a lot of character. And, based on league conversion numbers, a guy who did as well as he did in his first two seasons in the NCAA should be able to successfully go straight to the NHL. And he looked good with the Canucks at the end of last year. Not sure where he plays but, like a lot of people, I would like to see him get a long look with the Horvat and Baertschi on what would be the de facto first line.
  6. Last year I was hoping to see Subban play some games in the NHL. And I wish him the best. But right now things are not looking good. My current Canuck depth chart looks like this (NOT based on potential -- just on where they are right now in terms of likely amount of NHL ice-time this season or likelihood of getting NHL ice-time). Edler, Tanev, Stecher, Hutton, Gudbranson, Del Zotto, Wiercioch, Biega, Pedan, Holm, Juolevi, McEneny and Subban. That puts Subban in 13th spot, not even in the top dozen. I am expecting Juolevi to get sent back to Junior this year, so he won't be available to be called up but, even so, Subban is a long way down the list. And this is pretty much the make or break year for Subban as it is the last year of his ELC. And if Juolevi does make the team, the hole for Subban is deeper, and Subban might have trouble even just making the top 4 in Utica (if Biega, Pedan, Holm and McEneny are all there). I am not criticizing Subban. I have no real idea of how serious his defensive game and mental game deficiencies are, and he has put up a lot of points at the AHL level. I just think the numbers (number of contenders for spots) are against him right now.
  7. I think of these factors (battle level, puck pursuit, pace, play away from the puck) as either "intensity" or "energy", which also includes a willingness to contribute to the physical game. And for players who rely on intensity, it is important to be consistent. Having one high intensity shift followed by a passenger shift is not good enough. Guys who can play with consistent intensity can become legitimate NHL players even if they do not have a high skill level, like Dorsett has. It would be nice if Goldy did play with more intensity, but I don't think that will ever be his strength. His strength is skating and skill with the puck. I think he is a classic "scoring forward or nothing" kind of player. To see if he can be valuable at the NHL level he needs to play with a center who is capable of playing a skill game -- maybe Gagner, for example. If there is a developmental model for Goldobin, I would think it would be someone like Baertschi, who has improved his intensity and his defensive game, but who relies primarily on being a high skill scoring forward. It is true that Virtanen and Goldy are very different players. Virtanen does have the attributes to be a high intensity traditional 4th liner, although he needs to bring that intensity on a consistent basis. That said, I think JV and Goldobin are competing with each other (and a lot of other guys) at soem level because nowadays there is more flexibility in how teams are structured. A few years ago a 4th line was always an "energy line" consisting of guys who could play a high intensity physical game and at least one guy who was the "designated tough guy". However, nowadays teams are also willing to consider playing a 4th line with more skill and less toughness. Teams still want some toughness, but a 4th line of Gagner, Goldobin, and Dorsett would not be crazy. A more conventional 4th line with maybe Virtanen, Gaunce and Dorsett is also possible, as are many other possible combinations. But I think that are a lot of reasonable options in camp this year, not like the recent past when the make-up of the team was a pretty much a foregone conclusion.
  8. I am with @Alexandre and @Alflives on this one. Here is the scoring line for Gadjovich last year: 46 goals and 28 assists (and +35) in 60 games (1.23 PPG) in the OHL. Listed at 6-2 and 201 lbs, here is a excerpt from the scouting report at Elite Prospects: "Not afraid to get into the mix, and will get under the skin of opponents. Definitely a team-first player that will find a way to make an impact for his line with each shift." And he was invited to Canada's WJC summer camp in the summer following his draft year. To put things in perspective, Brendan Gaunce had a PPG of 1.0 in his drat year, when he was taken in the low first round, and my recollection is that he was never invited to Canada's U-20 WJC summer camp. (He did play for the U-18 team). Gadjovich has the size, intensity and toughness to be a valuable energy guy on a 4th line, and his defensive play is solid and he should be able to provide secondary scoring at the NHL level. The negative is his skating speed, but other guys with his skating speed have become good NHL players, and there is a decent chance he can improve his skating. If he is able to improve his skating as Horvat did (no guarantee, I know), he could be elusive second line power forward the Canucks have been trying to find for a while.
  9. Good call. I have the same concern. Goldy has been playing in North America since he turned 17, though, so he may like it here more than Russia by now. Still, I think the Canucks need to give him a long look this fall. After all, he has played very well in the AHL, although I know there are some concerns about his defence. Still, he was close to a point a game in the AHL last year and was +6. If, for example, Virtanen gets a spot on the Canucks ahead of him after posting a PPG of 0.29 in the AHL last year, he might be unhappy. I realize that Goldy is a very different kind of player and does not have the same physical game as Virtanen, but I think it is still an issue. If Goldobin starts with the Canucks and things don't go well, then I would see no problem with a demotion to Utica and maybe bringing Virtanen up.
  10. Good story. I felt the same way. Linden was always my favorite player and still is, much as I like and respect other Canucks. And he was the guy I really identified with on the ice, as you describe. And I would love to see him hold up the Cup for the Canucks. Of course I would like to see the Canucks win a Cup no matter what, but it would be especially satisfying if Linden was team president at the time. I have a hard time rooting for players I don't like, and the last think I want is Evander Kane or Patrick Kane on the team, even if they are talented players. The current Canucks have a few young guys who seem like high character guys, like Horvat and Boeser.
  11. I met Linden at an airport a couple of years ago. He was with his wife. She had wandered off to do something so I approached Linden. He was a very nice guy and we had a pleasant chat. I remember wondering afterwards if and when they might have children, as Trevor is not exactly young and they had been married for quite a while. Glad to know things have worked out and I wish them the best.
  12. Thanks for the extra information. I missed that quote from Linden. I guess I can see the point of making a big effort to try to promote the game in China with millions of potential additional TV viewers there. So maybe the top 4 Ds and the top 9 forwards and Markstrom all go to China. That would be more than enough include everyone with any kind of name recognition in China (or, frankly, in North America anywhere outside of Vancouver). But I still think it makes sense keep the guys fighting for the last few spots on the big team close to home where they can maximize practice time and playing time. I assume that games in both places will be filmed for later review by the full coaching staff, but I think it makes sense to really focus on those bubble players. The forwards fighting for the last two or three spots in include Burmistrov, Goldobin, Rodin, Virtanen, Molino, Gaunce, and Boucher. I am assuming that Molino, Labate, and other guys at that level are penciled in for Utica. And I am assuming that Boeser and Dorsett (if healthy) are penciled on the Canuck opening roster in dark pencil, so they might go to China. On D, the guys fighting for the last couple of spots include Wiercioch, Biega, Pedan, Holm, and Subban. So I think it would make sense to keep those guys to play the Alberta split squad games.
  13. For me, it's not that close. I have Brisebois at #10. What I like about him is that he has continued to improve rapidly since being picked in the 2015 draft. He has also added an inch in height (and is now 6-3) and has added at least 15 lbs. in weight. He almost made Canada's WJC team last year. And, although regarded as an excellent defensive D-man, he picked up 47 pts in 61 games in the Q last year and was an impressive +35. And he is regarded as a "high character" player. I have Gadjovich next, before Lockwood. The Canucks picked Lockwood in 3rd round at #64 overall in 2016 and it surprised a lot of people that he went that high. (He was ranked #108 among North American skaters by Central Scouting in his draft year.) He did not score a lot and he is on the small side. He is regarded a good two-way player and he plays with some edge. He had a good year at Michigan last year in his draft+1 year but, applying normal league adjustment factors, not as good as the year Gadjovich had in draft year. Gadjovich was regarded by many as a steal in the late second round and had a great year with 74 pts (including 46 goals) in 60 games in the OHL in his draft year. He has good size at 6-2 and is over 200 lbs already. He contributes to the physical game and is dangerous offensively. The "knock" on him is that he is not a great skater. (Kind of like Tkachuk last year). I think Gadjovich is an excellent prospect and deserves to be next after Brisebois.
  14. Thanks for the correction. I had forgotten about needing to sign drafted players. I suppose it is unlikely that the Canucks would sign Lind and Gadjovich this summer.
  15. Yes. Admittedly the 2010-11 Canucks were built around the Sedins and great goaltending (Luongo and Schneider won the Jennings award). Franchise level players are always the key to Stanley Cup runs. But you also need a lot of support from elsewhere in the lineup. Hammer was an excellent D in 2010-11 and Raymond and Higgins were very good complementary players. I still think that without the injuries to Hammer, Raymond, and Malhotra the Canucks win the Cup in 2011. The sarcasm is a bit tough but not entirely unwarranted. The 2010-11 team was a very talented team. If we could replicate that team in the near future we could expect comparable success, and with good luck on the injury front maybe win a Cup. The real question is whether it makes to sense to use the structure of a successful team from the past as a blueprint. I think the answer is no. It puts an unnecessary constraint on development. The key to Cup runs is franchise level players and elite players. (See http://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/star-power-in-the-nhl-which-teams-have-it-and-how-much-does-it-take-to-win-the-cup ) And elite players are hard to get. If you have the opportunity to get one, you take it. So maybe you end up building a team around a Norris calibre D and Vezina level goal (LA in 2012 and 2014 or Boston in 2011). Maybe the team is built around a couple of star forwards (Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017). Maybe the team is built around a Selke type two-way forward, a scoring forward, and an elite puck-moving D (Chicago in 2013 and 2015). But the key to being a good GM is to have the imagination and flexibility to take advantage of the opportunities that are available and build around them. GMs who constrain themselves by trying to follow a particular formula are less likely to be successful. The Canucks will improve at some point in the next few years. But there is no guarantee they will build another Cup contender any time soon, or any time at all. If they do, it will be by making the most of whatever is available, which might mean a very different team from the 2010-11 team in terms of structure. But the biggest need is just getting franchise level players or at least elite players into the system. Pettersson might have franchise or elite potential. Goalies are always uncertain, but Demko may become elite. Possibly one or more other guys in the system might develop into elite or franchise players, but they would have to outperform their current trajectories to do it. Maybe Boeser and Dahlen a decent chance. Maybe Horvat reaches that level. But we need at least one more franchise type player and we should not get worked up about whether it is the next Karlsson, the next Chara, the next Toews, the next Kane, or whatever. Any of the above would be great.