dank.sinatra

An abundance of options: Canucks to have fully-healthy roster for play-in series versus Minnesota

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1 hour ago, dank.sinatra said:

So, in all likelihood the Canucks will be facing the Minnesota Wild in a five game play-in series set to begin around July 1st.

 

Say what you will about whether the NHL should be returning or not; the 24 team play-in scenario almost seems inevitable at this point (barring a massive surge in coronavirus outbreaks, of course).

 

Safety concerns and politics aside, personally I can't wait to see NHL games again. The play-in series' will be absolutely insane, unpredictable, bizzare and extremely exciting.

 

After three and a half months off the Canucks, and everyone else, will undoubtedly be rusty. But there is also the very unique fact that the Canucks will be able to ice a roster that is virtually 100 per cent healthy heading into the playoffs. When was the last time you could say that?

 

To my knowledge, Michael Ferland is the only player who will be unavailable due to injury.

 

Markstrom will be back and fully healed, Boeser will have recovered 100 per cent. Edler and Tanev should both have had enough time recover from the various tweaks, bruises and countless other battle wounds they are constantly fighting through. Josh Leivo, once believed to be out for the remainder of the season, should be back in action. Hell, even Brandon Sutter should have had enough time to figure out what in the world seems be endlessly nagging his groin. 

 

There is no doubt that I haven't mentioned nearly as many injuries, known to the public or not, that Canucks players should be recovered from.

 

This, coupled with cap compliance going out the window in the playoffs, poses an interesting scenario when it comes to what kind of line-up the Canucks will ice in their first game back. 

 

With the AHL season cancelled, it's widely believed the Canucks will also be able to carry a handful of Utica Comets on their roster. There will be a dearth of bodies and endless options for Travis Green.

 

So, with full man-power how do you think the Canucks should configure their roster for the first game back?

 

Also, which AHL players would you like to see join the big club despite it being unlikely they see game action?

 

Here's my ideal lineup:

Miller - Pettersson - Toffoli

Roussell - Horvat - Boeser

Pearson - Gaudette - Leivo

Motte - Sutter - Virtanen

 

Press box: Beagle, MacEwan, Eriksson

 

Reasoning:

 

Top-six

 

The first thing people are going to explode over is separating Pearson and Horvat. But that could prove to be a savvy move.

 

Toffoli has forced Boeser off the top line. Moving Boeser to Horvat's wing with Roussell is more logical, imo, than keeping Pearson on the left side of that second line.

 

Here's why: Toffoli on the top line combined with Pettersson's blossoming two-way game has allowed Green to match the Pettersson line against other teams top lines -- a role once reserved for Bo's line. With Pettersson going head to head with the league's best, Horvat's line will be freed up for a more offensive role.

 

Obviously, Boeser is suited for this. Many forget this, but he and Horvat showed tremendous offensive chemistry before the arrival of that kid from Sweden with extraterrestrial talents. 

 

Pearson, on the other hand, has also meshed well with Horvat but solely in a shutdown role. His skills would now be better put to use by providing great depth on the third line.

 

But why Roussell? The feisty Frenchman has struggled mightily this season, no doubt about it. But the extra time off is likely just what he needed to really fully recover from essentially having his whole knee rebuilt. I'd be willing to put money on Roussel coming out and quickly reminding fans why we all fell in love with him not too long ago. In the 2018-19 season Roussel was arguably Horvat's best winger, the two have proven chemistry. He has also shown he has extremely underrated playmaking and vision skills, something that I believe a scoring line with Boeser and Horvat would deeply need.

 

Overall, I think that top-six could sneakily do some serious damage.

 

Bottom six

 

As for the bottom six, I imagine many will be unpleased to see Virtanen on the fourth line. To be honest, I think he does deserve third line ice-time. However, Virtanen falls victim to the fact that the Canucks have a pretty good problem at forward when fully healthy: great depth.

 

If Leivo is able to return he is a no-brainer for Green on the third line right side. As a right handed shot, his wall work and puck retrieval skills (when done consistently) make him Green's ideal fit in that spot. Leivo's advanced stats also support his strong two-way value.

 

As for Pearson on the left side, that's a pretty easy decision with Roussell taking his spot on Horvat's wing. He's basically a more experienced, proven and consistent version of Leivo except he shoots left, giving the third line two big wingers playing their preferred side who are both excellent at winning pucks; also known as Green's wet dream.

 

Gaudette in the 3c spot is a bit risky. He's young, has defensive gaffs but is rounding out that side of his game in an admirable fashion. His offensive flair, however, makes him an easy choice over Sutter or Beagle. Pearson and Leivo on the wings should be able to mitigate some of the blown coverage, poor positioning and bad reads Gaudette sometimes shows on defense. I also wouldn't be surprised if Gaudette continues his two-way progression and these mistakes quickly become a thing of the past.

 

All in all, to me, that third line looks like the kind that's necessary for playoff success.

 

The fourth line was really tough. Trying to put together something that made sense really made me realize why the Canucks fourth line has, for the most part, struggled mightily all year.

 

I originally had Virtanen - Sutter - MacEwan before realizing all three players shoot right. Not ideal for a fourth line whose main purpose is to win puck battles on the wall and keep the puck out of the defensive zone. 

 

By taking out MacEwan for Motte, that adds a left-hand shot who is decent on the boards and isn't afraid to through his body around despite not being the biggest guy. It also allows Virtanen to move to the right side, where Green trusts him much more defensively as a right handed shot. 

 

I am not a fan of Brandon Sutter. I do, however, believe when he's playing well he (debatably) adds more value than Beagle, so Sutter gets the nod at 4c, for now.

 

The hardest decision on the fourth line was leaving out MacEwan. He deserves a roster spot. But unfortunately, due to the way the Canucks roster is constructed and the fact that he doesn't seem to be trusted at centre despite playing there in the past, he looks to be the odd man out. If MacEwan can take his game to another level at centre and really earn the coaches trust playing the middle, I would love to see Motte - MacEwan - Virtanen as a fourth line. But it doesn't appear MacEwan is ready for that yet.

 

At the end of the day, the Canucks fourth line worries me most out of the forward group. Overpaid veterans like Beagle and Sutter often hurt more than they help and an overabundance of right hand shots makes it difficult to assemble a line where everyone is in their ideal spot.

 

That said, Motte, MacEwan and Virtanen are all capable of providing quintessential fourth-line shifts and scoring the odd goal. While Sutter and Beagle can be liabilities at times, they still provide value on the PK and on face-offs, while Sutter has the potential to get hot offensively. 

 

There's been a lot worse fourth-lines in the history of fourth-lines.

 

Overall, the fully healthy Canucks forward group provides a lot of reasons to be optimistic heading into what is bound to be a wild playoff ride. If somehow these lines are ever deployed, not only will I feel like a genius, I'll also be confident in the team's capability to dominate teams like the Wild up front.

 

 

Note: I initially planned on doing this for the whole lineup but got more into it than I expected and ended up taking forever. It's late and I need to sleep but I will do the same for the defense and goaltending in the coming days.

 

I also plan on detailing my picks to join the club from Utica and why. 

 

Just happy to be talking hockey again.

 

Stay tuned :)

 

*written on my phone, apologies for typos

Ah yes put Beagle in the press box and Leivo is magically cured and Ferland is nowhere to be found. 

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9 minutes ago, peaches5 said:

Ah yes put Beagle in the press box and Leivo is magically cured and Ferland is nowhere to be found. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbssports.com/fantasy/hockey/news/canucks-josh-leivo-continuing-rehab/amp/

 

You don't like to read much do you? 

 

I explained why I think Beagle should start as a scratch. 

 

Leivo could very well return once play resumes, as per the article above.

 

And as I said in my post, I'm unsure of Ferland's status but am doubtful of his return. 

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1 hour ago, dank.sinatra said:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbssports.com/fantasy/hockey/news/canucks-josh-leivo-continuing-rehab/amp/

 

You don't like to read much do you? 

 

I explained why I think Beagle should start as a scratch. 

 

Leivo could very well return once play resumes, as per the article above.

 

And as I said in my post, I'm unsure of Ferland's status but am doubtful of his return. 

Obviously you don't read much. JB said Leivo is unknown and Ferland will likely return for the playoffs. 

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5 minutes ago, stawns said:

3.5 months off?

Season was paused March 12.

 

It's rumored to return July 1.

 

All of April, all of May and all of June plus a little more than half of March.

 

By no means am I a math guy but I do believe that's about three and a half months.

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3 minutes ago, peaches5 said:

Obviously you don't read much. JB said Leivo is unknown and Ferland will likely return for the playoffs. 

Link?

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7 minutes ago, dank.sinatra said:

Season was paused March 12.

 

It's rumored to return July 1.

 

All of April, all of May and all of June plus a little more than half of March.

 

By no means am I a math guy but I do believe that's about three and a half months.

Fair point

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This prospect of playoffs is exciting no doubt...

 

Im not sold on moving Pearson off the second line, he’s produced more then anyone else with Horvat on the left side since he’s come, including his 19 or so games from last year he’s close to a 60 point player for us on the second line over 82 games.    Heck he’s close to Horvats production over the same time period too.   Don’t mind TT on that line at all, but also don’t mind BB on that line either - sure great to have options.  Not sure Leivo is better then LE in the bottom six but I suppose that really depends if we are ahead a goal and the nets empty right ? Ha ha.   
 

Fun exercise (OP).   On the flip side MIN will also have all of their troops healed and raring to go, and in a short series rust will matter a lot more then age - and wouldn’t at all be surprised if experience trumps youth in this case so don’t expect it to be an easy go.   Took us a few games at the start of the season to get some momentum...hopefully that had more to do with all the new faces as this time we can’t afford a slow start...think we should blow them out anyways.   Really don’t think there will be a lot of teams that would look forward to playing us ... when we are on we are as good as anyone as we’ve proven many times over the course of the year which does make us intimidating.   We won’t be able to afford this sort of depth next year - might be our best shot at a cup for two or three more years 

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Except... the opponent also has a healthy roster. And not like we were hit with the injury bug that has caused this somewhat mediocre season we are going through. (some pretty kickass blowout domination in a handful of games though). So I don't get how you are trying to roll with we are in a pretty good position because we are healthy.

 

Nonetheless Minnesota is someone we can beat and I am glad they are our opponent in the 1st round. 

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25 minutes ago, dank.sinatra said:

Season was paused March 12.

 

It's rumored to return July 1.

 

All of April, all of May and all of June plus a little more than half of March.

 

By no means am I a math guy but I do believe that's about three and a half months.

 Training camps could possibly start in July but not the games. 

 

The players have only voted on the format.   If they return that's the format but it's still pretty much in the air if they will return. 

 

The league has yet to answer their questions around the logistics - testing protocol, will their families come with them in that bubble, etc etc.  Some players have wives that are expecting or kids at home - they don't want to put their family at risk and also don't want to be away for weeks or months.  There's also the financials - it might not be worth it to them.

 

Until all those questions are answered a vote on return to play is not going to happen.  Likely all players will vote this time and not just the 31 representatives of each team.  

 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, mll said:

 Training camps could possibly start in July but not the games. 

 

The players have only voted on the format.   If they return that's the format but it's still pretty much in the air if they will return. 

 

The league has yet to answer their questions around the logistics - testing protocol, will their families come with them in that bubble, etc etc.  Some players have wives that are expecting or kids at home - they don't want to put their family at risk and also don't want to be away for weeks or months.  There's also the financials - it might not be worth it to them.

 

Until all those questions are answered a vote on return to play is not going to happen.  Likely all players will vote this time and not just the 31 representatives of each team.  

 

As far as the financials go that’s a set agreement covid or no covid.   They are paid until I believe July 1 every two weeks whatever their contracts are.   And agree to participate in the playoffs for a purse worth around 4 million.   Each team is awarded a small amount each round - win or lose.  The cup winner gets 1 million of the purse ... if you play in the games it’s divided equally amoung participants.     They benifit mostly in the overall revenue it produces and the split 50/50 and that definitely affects the size of their contracts.   It’s absolutely in their best financial interest to play the games and they know this.   No playoffs will mean huge escrow payments next year or however they decide to do it.    
 

At this point they have agreed to play - it’s down to governmental approval at this point - the most difficult hurdle would be borders opening to allow for this.   Their safety protocols all seem very good.  Regular testing before and during the tournament, cleaning crews inbetween games etc etc.   Fingers crossed the rest of the hurdles can be overcome and we can watch the Canucks play some meaningful games...in the summe!

 

Edit:  So far no NHL athlete has come out and said they won’t play...in fact it’s the reverse and most want to as long as the protocols and medical advice is being followed.   One thing I did find strange though is they were supposed to be isolating as much as possible and Laine in Finland has been filling his time playing golf...guess not everyone isn’t as serious about this as others - that said every country and state is handling this differently too - and Finland is small enough where contact tracing is possible.

 

Edit:  As far as babies go - that’s a good point.  In the past most players go home for the birth and then are right back to it...it happens frequently enough .. 

Edited by IBatch

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, IBatch said:

As far as the financials go that’s a set agreement covid or no covid.   They are paid until I believe July 1 every two weeks whatever their contracts are.   And agree to participate in the playoffs for a purse worth around 4 million.   Each team is awarded a small amount each round - win or lose.  The cup winner gets 1 million of the purse ... if you play in the games it’s divided equally amoung participants.     They benifit mostly in the overall revenue it produces and the split 50/50 and that definitely affects the size of their contracts.   It’s absolutely in their best financial interest to play the games and they know this.   No playoffs will mean huge escrow payments next year or however they decide to do it.    
 

At this point they have agreed to play - it’s down to governmental approval at this point - the most difficult hurdle would be borders opening to allow for this.   Their safety protocols all seem very good.  Regular testing before and during the tournament, cleaning crews inbetween games etc etc.   Fingers crossed the rest of the hurdles can be overcome and we can watch the Canucks play some meaningful games...in the summe!

 

Edit:  So far no NHL athlete has come out and said they won’t play...in fact it’s the reverse and most want to as long as the protocols and medical advice is being followed.   One thing I did find strange though is they were supposed to be isolating as much as possible and Laine in Finland has been filling his time playing golf...guess not everyone isn’t as serious about this as others - that said every country and state is handling this differently too - and Finland is small enough where contact tracing is possible. 

They have not agreed to play yet.  The vote was only on the format should they agree to return.  As for the financials there is a cost to organise all this. If at the end it does't impact revenue (ie reduce their escrow or only marginally) they might not be willing to come back.

 

Dubnyk is on the NHLPA executive committee representing the Wild.  On the financials via the Athletic:

“Like, one question a lot of players have is the revenue thing. How much revenue are we getting from coming back and playing versus how much money are we spending on all these things that need to happen for this to happen – all the hotels, the food, the testing. These are a lot of expenses, so is it worth it?”

 

He also insists that there will need to be a vote with every player because he thinks it's could be quite tight.  Every player has their own personal situation.  A player with young kids or a pregnant wife might not want to vote the same way as someone with no ties.

 

In normal times a player would leave the team for a few games to attend the birth of his child and then come back.  They talk of keeping players in a bubble - so what's the protocol to bring players back into the bubble - will they have to go through a 2 week quarantine.  

 

 

Edited by mll

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1 hour ago, dank.sinatra said:

Link?

https://theprovince.com/sports/hockey/ben-kuzma-canucks-planning-for-healthy-return-of-ferland-if-season-is-salvaged?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1585864493 

 

Ferland is working out in Brandon, Man. to prepare for training camp, whether it’s in June or July, or September if the season doesn’t resume. He turns 28 on April 20.

“I’ve been told he should be ready to go and be able to do the things he’s always done,” Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning said Thursday. “We’re going to plan accordingly that he’s going to be healthy.”

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We need ferland but I don’t think we will have the ferland we signed ever again. We need toughness for playoffs and we’re small on the back end, Benn needs to be in 

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OP said this would be his preferred line up.

 

Miller - Pettersson - Toffoli

Roussell - Horvat - Boeser

Pearson - Gaudette - Leivo

Motte - Sutter - Virtanen

 

I would make a few changes reason Size this is the playoffs 

 

Miller - Pettersson - Toffoli

Pearson- Horvat - Boeser

Virtanen - Gaudette - MacEwen

Roussell  - Beagle - Sutter

 

Black Aces =  Leivo - Motte - Eriksson - Bailey - Bartschi - Lind - Graovac - Jasek

 

Hughes - Tanev

Edler    -  Myers

Fantenberg - Stecher/ Rafferty/ Benn

 

Black Aces = Benn - Rafferty - Brisebois - Juolevi - Sautner

 

Stecher will be exposed by the bigger Wild forwards. 

 

 

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I agree with the notion that Adam Gaudette should be deployed as a winger-cum-alternate centreman on a line with either Sutter or Beagle.  There's no way the Canucks would go far into this year's playoffs if he's deployed as a mainstay centreman, and definitely not as a 3rd line centreman - he'd be eaten alive.

 

Maybe in a few years, after some meaningful tutelage under Beagle and Malhotra on what it means to be a bottom-six centre, but definitely not this year.

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