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[Discussion] Should We Go All Out For The Cup?



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Firstly I want to say that it's only been 10 games and the Canucks are yet to face off against the true Cup contenders, especially the teams in the West that they'd have to go through if they were to go on a lengthy playoff run this season. But what if, by say the 25 or even half-way point of the season, we're still around the top of the Pacific division? What if we split our games with the Californian teams?

I know it's early days but in all honesty, this season may be the last good year this Canucks core has. Obviously last year was an aberration (a big reason why Torts is still unemployed), but this team is proving that it can definately still compete, and the coaching staff is proving that it can adjust and get better after every single game.

My question is, if by the quater or half-way mark we're still in the top-3 in the Division and have fared well against the "contenders", should we consider selling some of our many good prospects and go for it all this/next season?

Reasons for Going All In:

1) The Sedins and Vbrata are forming one of the best lines in the NHL. They're easily a top-10 line right now. This might be the last year or two in a decade that we have two forwards who are over a point per game.

2) Our powerplay is the best it's been in years thanks to a couple of right handed shots in Vbrata and Vey, mixed with the left-handed Sedins.

3) The second line is playing better than a second line has in Vancouver since 2011. Bonino is having another breakout season and out-playing Kesler.

4) Edler and Tanev are playing like a top pairing should, and our depth defencemen are contributing as well, with Sbisa and Weber forming a very good 3rd pair. Hamhuis and Bieksa have been a disappointment so far with hardly any points and shocking +/- ratings but hopefully they can turn it around.

5) We're getting some very good depth scoring, with 6 players on 3 or more goals in 10 games, which is more than most teams in the NHL.

6) Our goaltending is some of the best in the NHL. We've got a clutch goalie and proven winner in Miller, and a couple of very sturdy backups just in case.

7) The former "contenders" of the West really aren't playing as well as they were expected to. Colorado has been shocking, St. Louis has been pretty bad and has potential long-term concussions to their stars, Dallas has been inconsistent all season long, the Kings are getting no scoring from 3 lines and have been exposed and even Chicago have had weak stretches. No team has really dominated except for maybe the Ducks, but even San Jose exploited them. Suddenly, these teams seem very defeatable.

8) Finally, and probably most importantly, our prospect pool isn't THAT deep, and definately not good enough to contend with other team's prospects. We have next to no one on defence and our forwards are mostly two-way powerforwards. We lack elite talent (eg. Gaudreau, Reinhart etc.), and the only elite talent this team has ever really had is on the ice now in the form of the Sedins. Personally I prefer our chances with the twins playing the way they are right now than with Horvat and Jensen as our leaders, especially when those kids will have to go up against some serious future talent in the West. I much prefer a Henrik Sedin VS Kopitar matchup to Horvat VS Toffoli, or Hank VS Thornton compared to Horvat VS Couture in a couple of years time.

Once again, I know it's still very early and a lot can happen over a season, but with assets like Cole Cassels (boosting his value immensley), McCann, Virtanen, Horvat, Shinkaruk, Jensen, Gaunce, Lack and Markstrom, this team has a lot of expendables considering how many of them are similar players.

This team isn't that far off from a contender either. Deal a couple of those prospects for another top-4 defenceman and a top-9 forward for depth and dare I say the Vancouver Canucks would be a sure contender.

So my question to you is, is it worth trading maybe 2 or 3 of those valuable prospects/future picks away and still try to win a Cup this season while everyone's still playing well, or should we continue to fight for a useless playoff spot and early exit this year while slowly stock-piling B-grade, non-elite prospects?

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Totally not worth it. What if we don't win a cup after doing that? What if we get ousted in the first round? We will be a non-playoff team for the next 5 years at the very least. Not to mention that we are already nearly at the cap, and with expensive pieces like Burrows and Hansen being untradeable, there's no way we could do that.

Trading away our prospects seems to me, like a high risk-low reward type situation, and a quick way for Benning (or any GM for that matter) to lose his job.

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Benning and Linden are going for the Cup.

They will do it in a manner that will neither hurt the viability of the franchise or the future of the club.

That is effective,responsible management with everyone's best interests firmly in place.

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I know it would be risky, but what makes us think that our current prospect pool is good enough to win a Cup? Compare them to some very deep prospect pools like San Jose, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, LA etc. and our kids don't stand a chance. We lack elite talent on the farm and the only kids putting up decent points are Subban and Cassels, and they're both older than most of their competition. Meanwhile Horvat, Jensen and Shinkaruk aren't putting up amazing numbers in the AHL by any stretch of the imagination.

The question is, what gives us a better chance to win a Cup - complement our current stars who are still playing very well with a few extra pieces by trading away a couple of prospects, or hoping that our next wave of prospects is better than our current stars (and the future talent in the league)?

Personally I believe that the Sedins-Edler-Miller combination may be the best chance we'll have for a long time of winning a Cup. Benning doesn't have to go all in, but I'd like to see him move a couple of our prospects around to hopefully get a veteran depth forward who can score 15-20 goals, and a young future top-4 defenceman who would be a good depth guy. Good teams win Cups on the fly while grooming young talent, there's no reason we can't trade say Virtanen, Cassels and Gaunce for a top-4 defenceman and a scoring winger. We'll still have Horvat, Vey and McCann at center, and Shinkaruk, Jensen and Kassian on wing so it's not like we're selling the entire farm.

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Totally not worth it. What if we don't win a cup after doing that? What if we get ousted in the first round? We will be a non-playoff team for the next 5 years at the very least. Not to mention that we are already nearly at the cap, and with expensive pieces like Burrows and Hansen being untradeable, there's no way we could do that.

Trading away our prospects seems to me, like a high risk-low reward type situation, and a quick way for Benning (or any GM for that matter) to lose his job.

While I do not necessarily agree with the OP; winning the cup is no low reward...especially for this franchise which is starving for one.
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I'd rather we see where our team finishes in the standings first. If we make the playoffs, then see what our weaknesses are, then try to fix that the following year.

I don't expect a decline from any of our players next year, instead I expect the team to be better. So it might be in our best interest to wait for next year instead. (Plus by then, maybe San Jose rebuilds, leaving us one fewer team to compete with).

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Our prospect pool is stronger than ever and it would be poor management to trade them away for expensive players that will try and escape in FA. (That Derek Roy trade comes into mind). If we can draft better players like we have been doing for the past 3-4 years, then our prospect pool will be greater and we will have prospects fighting for positions left, right and center.

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Well written.

Enthusiastic and positive!

But off track.

I suppose there are (at least) three key things, if not 4, that would have to happen to elevate us to contender status. Even then that's contender, not all in...

1) Bo Horvat (or someone) will have to come in as a big BULL defensive centre. He would have to be effective, and be capable of tackling strong match up responsibilities against guys like Getzlaf, Kopitar, Thornton, Toews, Pavelski, Carter and Backes. Its a big ask! (And no offense to Brad Richardson, whom I love and competes like a bastard, but he's a couple of fries short of a happy meal in regards to size! But he is superb as either a 3rd or 4th line centre.) Chances > 2 in 5?

2) Kassian has to become a dominant match up problem! This is potentially the most likely of the items. He has all the tools. Every good SCF team (like a stud PMD) seems to have a bruising PF who can also skate, score and other teams just cannot handle. BTW, when this happens, I will take back every bad thing I had to say about the Hodgson trade! And with Kass it's just about cranking up the intensity a few notches. Chances 2 & 1/2 or 3 out of 5?

3) Jensen or Shinkaruk will have to be called up successfully IMO. Fly up and down the ice as another scoring from the 2knd or 3rd line. Where Kassian blows people away in front of the net with size, in corners and passing > one of these guys jumps in and out of lanes, behind defenses. He'll be a constant outlet scoring goals with speed and puck skills. What I am saying is not just Kassian, but another serious scoring threat to spread match ups and open the floodgates in close games. But this time a match up problem based on speed. That speed will also be the front end of an emerging break out game. Chances 1 out of 5? Actually, Vey could be this option as well? It could be Vey, or even better it could be Vey PLUS Shinkaruk? Lets call it 3 out of 5??

4) By far the hardest; we need a legitimate puck wizard with speed from our back end. This team is crying for a legitimate PMD. A guy who can undress a fwd pressuring the point on the PP. Beat them 1 on 1. A guy who can beat fore-checkers to the puck (like Tanev). But also put it on his stick and blow past them to break up ice if they first pass is covered. All our guys are pretty good D. They do not offer this level of puck skill and speed. And unless we sell the farm, it will come by trade for a guy at least about as advanced as Vey, except on D. So even if acquired, its a bit of a question as to how soon they bump our level of play. Sorry, I'm giving this no more than a 1 chance in 15 to happen, and be playing at a level to make us a contender this year.

I suppose I am more confident in our youth than the OP? There is scope where some of our youth might fill legitimate roles. And am still saying we need a PMD.

Hey, people will question if that's enough to match up to the size of Cali teams? IMO it will be! Even we still are smaller. The added size of Horvat, the presence of Kassian, plus the speed / puck skills of Shinkaruk or Vey, and a PMD have the potential to become match up problems California then must to adjust to. Willie is dictating match ups, not asking the Twins to beat whomever lines up against them like Torts did. Even if its 230 lb Getzlaf or Thornton. You know, the Twins can play D against such guys. But they get beat up. And suddenly are not available for what they do best. Which is offensive shifts. What I am saying is we simply need to craft more match up problems for other teams.

In Summary we first need a significant boost from our youth! Like LA a few years ago, when they had two or 3 young guys (Doughty, Voynov, Quick) advance their play to the point they elevated the whole team... And last year for that matter as well. When Pearson, Toffoli and Muzzin burst onto the scene. And then IF you get that boost, and still have some left over prospects > then we can trade for the key piece (my opinion a PMD) we still do not have in our system!

We probably also have to add a deadline veteran; perhaps a big tough match up D man. That is easier than a PMD, so suggested last. But these are only things you do, if we get that boost from youth first. I suppose that would then be all in?

Look, it is all possible? But a big ask!

My opinion still differs from the OP in that we only do this if we get this boost from our prospect pool. As opposed to us selling the farm because our prospect pool is not good enough. And more likely we will just have to wait till it is.

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