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TSN's Off Season Game Plan, Vancouver Canucks


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Our line-up should be more





Very close to what I was thinking although I don't think Richardson and Shinkaruk will be on the team. Assuming that there is no trade involving one of Higgins, Burrows, Hansen, it will most likely be:






A lineup that probably won't get far in the playoffs if it gets there.

I think Burrows and Hansen still have something to contribute whereas Higgins' contribution is marginal.

For example, Burrows can play with the Sedins if Kassian struggles and can mentor Baertschi and Horvat. Hansen's speed can compliment a slower linemate, like Vey and he has good forechecking abilities. Speaking of Vey, if we really intend on keeping and developing Vey, he needs fast wingers to rush the puck up, I'd say if Virtanen is ready, Virtanen-Vey-Hansen would be a better line than Dorsett-Vey-Hansen. For Higgins, I think we can find other players that can do what he does relatively easily.

I'd like us to trade Higgins for a 3rd round pick and go after one of the following UFA's in this order: Beleskey, Ward, Santorelli:






All three of the UFA's add grit to the second line.

In the case of Beleskey, he is still young at 26 so he can be more of a permanent addition to the team. Furthermore, he was a teammate with Bonino before so there might be some good chemistry built in there already.

Ward would be a stop gap (2 year contract) much like Vrbata was last season until we find a permanent fixture on the second line. Would bring size to that line but not so much the speed.

Santorelli bring speed and tenacity much like Beleskey but he doesn't play as big as Beleskey does despite the similarity in size. He will demand the least amount of money and he wants to come here so he is the most likely candidate but due to his age, I'd say he is going to be a stop gap until the young players are ready to come up.

I don't know if Virtanen will be ready in terms of his conditioning to play a fourth line role at the NHL level. Note that a fourth line role is basically all about hustle and hard work instead of fancy play and I think Jake has shown so far that he is willing to play that style in the AHL playoffs so his mindset won't be an issue but his conditioning might be as JB pointed out. A lot can change in the summer so I hope he comes to camp in top shape like Horvat did and make the team.

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Vrbata gets moved because he wasn't able to raise his level of play when it mattered most. His regular season achievements mean squat if he disappears in the first round of the playoffs. Which he did.

Just wish WD put Vrbata with the Sedins when the chips were down. Don't know for sure if he dissapeared or was just bad with Bonino who should never be a second line C

Though he was too comfortable on the perimiter.

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After Benning's last few interviews, it seems pretty clear that the plan isn't set in stone yet. They will be doing that with their internal meetings soon although I'm pretty sure they know where they want to go already. The team will continue to get a little younger through the expiring contracts of Matthias and Richardson.

First on the agenda is sorting out the goalie situation. My guess is Markstrom will be the one shipped off. He still is an unknown at the NHL level and I don't see Benning choosing to go with the unknown when he has two reliable goalies already.

Next will be trying to recoup some draft picks. My guess is Jensen and Kassian will be the main pieces shopped for this, but Benning won't necessarily sell low here.

After the draft, the glut at defense will need to be addressed. I see Stanton as being the odd man out right now.

It doesn't make for a super interesting off season but all bets are off if a vet decides to waive their NTC. It is quite possible this may happen but I'm not holding my breath. Trade deadline time could be more interesting if the Canucks struggle.

I see a lineup of:

D. Sedin H. Sedin Burrows

Baertschi Bonino Vrbata

Higgins Horvat Dorsett

Hansen Vey Kassian


Edler Tanev

Hamhuis Sbisa

Bieksa Weber

Corrado Clendenning



If any forwards are injured at the beginning of the year, I see Virtanen getting a 9 game audition. If not Gaunce (unless someone is hotter) would be the first call up.

That's my prediction on June 6th. We'll see if Benning's tone changes after the organizational meetings.

If the goal is to recoup draft picks, one of Miller and Lack is the one to be shipped. Markstrom brings no value back other than maybe a 4th or 5th rounder.

Trading Kassian now would be a mistake unless we get someone similar back or if he gets us a first rounder, which I doubt. So we would indeed be underselling.

Jensen's value is probably similar or lower than Clendening's: a prospect picked in the fourth or fifth round or beyond with some promise but a lot of unknown. Not a bad option if such trade presents itself but what I think will happen is that he will be given the chance to improve over the summer and the decision will be made after the training camp.

In terms of getting some draft picks back:

-We got Dorsett for a 3rd, so I think it's realistic to get a 3rd back for Higgins.

-Lack and Miller will get a 2nd rounder by themselves. As many people said before, I would like us to keep Lack but I think he is probably easier to trade than Miller and I think JB has some loyalty to Miller whereas he doesn't have much to Lack. Oh and I think Lack has more value (.921 save percentage and still has the room to improve on this for the next few years), could get a mid to late first rounder if we add a bit, like a 3rd.

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Can't help but notice that people are penciling in their favourite prospects (Virtanen, Shink, etc) but forgetting about the existence of Kenins. He brings physicality and a dogged forecheck. I don't see him going anywhere, though he'll likely be 13th forward.

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So his one 'prediction' is that this team signs a guy who couldn't buy AHL starts last year.

If not trolling, this is just plain TSN clown material.

I'd have to imagine Budaj would be signed for Utica and as "insurance" for the Lack/Markstrom tandem.

Probably not a bad idea to have a veteran guy in the system as our #3 goalie and at what would likely be a minimal salary.

Overall, I'd say the article is significantly better than what we usually see from places like TSN.

If this offseason saw the Canucks clear Miller and Bieksa's salaries, add some picks, open a couple lineup spots for emerging young players, free some cap space, keep both Lack and Markstrom, not make a silly Kassian trade (for what would undoubtedly be a poor return at this stage), I'd actually be pretty happy.

I do agree that moving Miller and Bieksa should allow for more activity in free agency than just adding a bargain basement third string veteran goalie (Budaj), and I'd hope we took a run at one of the UFA defensemen on the market, but failing that, we'd be in pretty good shape to compete through the season and possible look to be active at the deadline (to maybe sell further veteran assets for futures) or have the flexibility to take on salary in "hockey trades" that could improve the lineup during the season.

All in all, it's not so bad of a blueprint IMO, given the outside market source (and especially what we've seen from some of these TSN guys in the past).

And while on the surface, it doesn't look like a very exciting offseason plan and there's no big splash signings, if we somehow managed to move Miller and Bieksa, and got value in the process, I'd certainly be singing JB's praises this summer (and very deservedly so).

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Excellent Overview -- the best I have seen. (By excellent I mean that it mostly agrees with my opinions.)

It is hard for me to find points to disagree with. Personally I would have been a bit more positive about Horvat. For a 19-year old he had a great season. Most significantly he improved dramatically over the course of the season and, at his age, you expect rapid improvement. We should expect him to improve more next year. There are two very good options for Horvat next year. One option is to give him better offensive wingers, like Baertschi and Vrbata, for example, in which case that line would be the second line and should be very good offensively and defensively. The other option is to put him with good defensive wingers, like Higgins and Hansen, and have a legitimate shut down line for the first time since 2010-11 when Malhotra was with the team.

What would be disappointing would be to see Horvat put back with Dorsett and Kenins, both of whom are no better than 4th liners. That line would be fine as a 4th line but would waste Horvat's talent.

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Hamhuis isn't going anywhere.

If we lose Clendenning we really only lost a 5th round pick.

Wrong, Hammer is the one who has the most value at the draft and we need draft picks so he is our best bet to deal. Bieska`s value will be highset at the trade deadline.

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I like the article, he seems to know the Canucks.

I agree that Richardson, and Matthias likely walk. The notion of trading Miller seems a difficult task, but with our current goaltending situation it would be best to move Miller for the future goaltending of this franchise. The Bieksa trade seems a bit far-fetched as well, as I'm not sure that Bieksa would waive.

I really like how he projected our depth beyond the usual roster. For forwards

Sedin Sedin Vrbata

Higgins Bonino Burrows

Baertschi Horvat Hansen

Dorsett Vey Kassian


Kenins McMillan Jensen

Shinkaruk Cassels Virtanen

As you can see, beyond the roster we have 6 young guys that could easily slot in. Even with that list of 6, I would sub Gaunce in for Jensen, let McMillan walk, and give Cassels a year in the pros. That would leave Shinkaruk, Virtanen and Kenins battling for the 13th forward spot - which could be 14 forwards if WD goes that route. I really like Virtanen's chances.

For defense:

Edler - Tanev

Hamhuis - Weber

Sbisa - Clendening

Pedan - Stanton

Hutton - Corrado

The only subtraction here is Bieksa, which I believe to be unlikely. From this depth, we can cross Pedan and Hutton off, as both are eligible for the AHL. Corrado and Clendening will be kepth because of the waiver situation, leaving Stanton and Corrado as extras on this depth chart. If Bieksa is kept, I feel it will be Stanton who is dealt, and Clendening/Corrado being the extras.

Goaltending is a tricky one, and trading Miller seems a daunting task. If this were to occur, would the Canucks really sign a 3rd NHL bound goaltender in Budaj? I have to think just Markstrom/Lack would do. I should credit the author though for not supplanting players acquired from these imaginary trades, as the lack of these players gives us a better idea of a realistic roster.

Anyways, with everything considered I have to think our roster would look like this, at least for now:

Sedin Sedin Burrows

Higgins Bonino Vrbata

Baertschi Horvat Kassian

Dorsett Vey Hansen


Edler - Tanev

Hamhuis - Bieksa

Sbisa - Weber

Clendening, Corrado



I think those lines suck. We need to move forward, and if we are,the lines need to start like this:

Sedin Sedin Kassian

Sven Horvat Virbata

Virtanen Bonino Burrows

Dorrset, Gaunce or Cassels,Kenins or McMillan


That is a moving forward kind of line-up

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Vrbata gets moved because he wasn't able to raise his level of play when it mattered most. His regular season achievements mean squat if he disappears in the first round of the playoffs. Which he did.

and thats why you move him at trade deadline when he has the most value

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Because Vrbata only has one more year on his contract and just passed 34. It is likely he will tread water at his production level for another year if playing with the Sedins but will likely decline.

Therefore, you obviously trade him while his value is worth more to the Canucks than he brings to the team. With that in mind, I would expect to see him unloaded at the trade deadline for a 2nd + prospect or a late first.Why

Why sign him to a two year contract, see him play outstanding in his first year, then trade him. That's just stupid and bad karma. Good luck trying to sign more UFAs when that's your decision. I wouldn't trade Vrbata unless he asks to be traded; it's the honourable thing to do (honour should count for something, even in pro sports). He and his agent signed for 2 years for a reason. He should play out his entire contract. We were lucky to sign him in the first place.

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I dont know why people keep saying trade Vrbata. Yes he didnt do well in the playoffs, but you need a sniper and power play threat to get you to the postseason. Without Vrbata's huge goals this season, we wouldnt have even made the playoffs.

Basically the only position of strength we have to trade is goaltending. Lack or Markstrom are expendable, Miller can carry the next 2 years and by that time Demko will be given a shot. No team will be giving anything of value for our 30+ year olds like Bieksa or higgins. We will have another year with this same core, then the following year, a bunch of contracts expire and by then many of our prospects will really be given a look.

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Hamhuis isn't going anywhere.

If we lose Clendenning we really only lost a 5th round pick.

So you trade a promising prospect to your conference rival for nothing? ok. Pretty sure our GM has better asset management skill then that.

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I agreed with this late in the season...but I do see the reasoning why JB did not trade him..What are you telling your fanbase when you deal a 6'4 220lbs player,who is having a breakout season for draft picks,when you are a playoff bound team?...Right now,a draft pick would look pretty good for a player who is going to walk for nothing...I wonder if JB even explored the options of trading him at the deadline..?

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