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2016-17 Vancouver Canucks: Veristility, Youth, and Depth


Johnny Torts

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15 hours ago, apollo said:

This line up can and WILL compete for a cup. 

 

I'm far more optimistic about our team than the experts.  I'm even more optimistic than most of CDC.  (At least, eliminating the people who figure that starting the season with 2 wins now means we are an elite team).

 

However, as much as I was nearly certain we would make the playoffs, I am equally nearly certain we will not be competing for a cup this year either.  Don't get me wrong - I really like what Benning has accomplished in the short time he has been on. We have depth.  We have prospects.  We have a much better d than last year, and much better balance in scoring potential in our forward lines.  The team is healthy.  We have a much better team overall, and I believe this is a team we can start getting excited about again.

 

BUT, what we don't have is star power.  The Sedins are in the twilight of their career, and our young guns haven't fully developed yet.  Our top line has to show they can score through the season and not fall off like they did last year.  (Hopefully this can be achieved by rolling our lines more).  But even still, we just don't have many players who are likely to turn into beasts in the playoffs, and manage to win us games by themselves.  (Much like the Sedins were capable of during our cup run).   And going forward: while we do have young prospects who might develop into players to man the top lines, I'm not sure we have either enough of them, nor are we guaranteed we have any players good enough to man the top line. Maybe Horvat will get there.  Maybe Boeser.  But we really don't know yet, and it isn't like we have any franchise players in our system.  While we can get away with that while the Sedins are still playing, our lack of high end talent is particularly troublesome to me once they retire.

 

I actually believe our competition window for the cup is potentially nearer than farther.  I believe that if we can somehow get a couple more star players for the top line and reduce the Sedins' role to 2nd line minutes that combined with the solid d, goaltending, and bottom six that we do have, that we would indeed have a chance to compete for the cup again in maybe a year or two.  This would require a real aligning of the stars though (literally).  It would require players like Horvat and Virtanen to develop even quicker than expected, would absolutely require us to re-sign the Sedins to a final short contract (at a greatly reduced rate) and may require a dip into the free agent pool for already developed players that can play 1st line minutes.  The UFA pool is looking relatively thin for 2017, so I'm looking at players like Tj Oshie or maybe even the badly undersized Desharnais....

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12 hours ago, Alflives said:

Calgary is actually a good team.  Many (so called) experts pick them getting 100+ points, don't they?  Maybe we're just better than a lot of people think?  

 

Doesnt matter how good they are theoretically, it matters how good they actually played, and the first three games theyve been $&!#

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3 hours ago, kloubek said:

 

I'm far more optimistic about our team than the experts.  I'm even more optimistic than most of CDC.  (At least, eliminating the people who figure that starting the season with 2 wins now means we are an elite team).

 

However, as much as I was nearly certain we would make the playoffs, I am equally nearly certain we will not be competing for a cup this year either.  Don't get me wrong - I really like what Benning has accomplished in the short time he has been on. We have depth.  We have prospects.  We have a much better d than last year, and much better balance in scoring potential in our forward lines.  The team is healthy.  We have a much better team overall, and I believe this is a team we can start getting excited about again.

 

BUT, what we don't have is star power.  The Sedins are in the twilight of their career, and our young guns haven't fully developed yet.  Our top line has to show they can score through the season and not fall off like they did last year.  (Hopefully this can be achieved by rolling our lines more).  But even still, we just don't have many players who are likely to turn into beasts in the playoffs, and manage to win us games by themselves.  (Much like the Sedins were capable of during our cup run).   And going forward: while we do have young prospects who might develop into players to man the top lines, I'm not sure we have either enough of them, nor are we guaranteed we have any players good enough to man the top line. Maybe Horvat will get there.  Maybe Boeser.  But we really don't know yet, and it isn't like we have any franchise players in our system.  While we can get away with that while the Sedins are still playing, our lack of high end talent is particularly troublesome to me once they retire.

 

I actually believe our competition window for the cup is potentially nearer than farther.  I believe that if we can somehow get a couple more star players for the top line and reduce the Sedins' role to 2nd line minutes that combined with the solid d, goaltending, and bottom six that we do have, that we would indeed have a chance to compete for the cup again in maybe a year or two.  This would require a real aligning of the stars though (literally).  It would require players like Horvat and Virtanen to develop even quicker than expected, would absolutely require us to re-sign the Sedins to a final short contract (at a greatly reduced rate) and may require a dip into the free agent pool for already developed players that can play 1st line minutes.  The UFA pool is looking relatively thin for 2017, so I'm looking at players like Tj Oshie or maybe even the badly undersized Desharnais....

 

Can you say Sutter or Erickson? How bout Hansen looking like more than a good fore checker? Hasn't Bo already developed quicker than expected already? Haven't we already dipped in to the FA pool already with Erickson? My friend you can wait all you want but I like the looks of our team already and we may already have what you think we are looking for already in the line up. Don't look at the Tort's season or the "injury plagued" season last year as measuring sticks for this team. They are much better then I think you give them credit for.

You are right in that we are a much better team then last year and we were pretty good until we ran in to all of those injuries. I am excited and am looking forward to seeing a faster, stronger and more talented team then last year weather we compete for the cup or not.

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38 minutes ago, EdgarM said:

 

Can you say Sutter or Erickson? How bout Hansen looking like more than a good fore checker? Hasn't Bo already developed quicker than expected already? Haven't we already dipped in to the FA pool already with Erickson? My friend you can wait all you want but I like the looks of our team already and we may already have what you think we are looking for already in the line up. Don't look at the Tort's season or the "injury plagued" season last year as measuring sticks for this team. They are much better then I think you give them credit for.

You are right in that we are a much better team then last year and we were pretty good until we ran in to all of those injuries. I am excited and am looking forward to seeing a faster, stronger and more talented team then last year weather we compete for the cup or not.


I'll certainly agree with your last statement, except to suggest we could compete for the cup.

 

I thought most readers of my post could read into where our players are ideally situated, but let me help that along because I think you missed the very basis of what I was trying to say.

 

Sutter is not an ideal 2nd liner.  He is an excellent 3rd liner, and has good versatility to move up and down the lineup, and perform in important roles like the penalty kill and faceoffs.  Don't be fooled by his good performance so far.... his stats do not suggest ideal top six ability; Ideally, you want your 2nd line players to get minimum 45+ points to be competitive.  He has never got that many, nor does he realistically project to.

 

Eriksson is indeed a top six player, so we're good there.  Hence, why I said we needed a couple of high scoring players.  I'd say he's a 1st line player now, and will drop to a 2nd line player further in his contract.  Yes, we have dipped into the FA pool.  Does that mean we cannot again in order to get our top line players?

 

Hansen, like Sutter, is an elite 3rd line player.  Don't be swayed by his point totals while playing with the Sedins.  He can play 2nd in a pinch, but isn't ideal.  I would, however, be comfortable slotting him in beside the Sedins if the Sedins dropped down to the 2nd line and Eriksson remained on the 1st.

 

Bo has indeed developed well, and he is a guy who will undoubtedly man the 2nd line with aplomb in the future.  He may even progress to a 1st line center - though not likely a franchise one.  Still, he is the other player who I don't have an issue with in our top six.  In my plan as I laid out though, the Sedins would man the 2nd line and therefore Horvat would be a highly elite 3rd line center, or a substandard 1st line center.   (And really, I believe it is far too early to even consider Horvat's 1st line potential)

 

Will Baertschi develop into the solid top six player?  Possibly - though I strongly believe his ceiling is probably 2nd line.  And though he has looked good this season so far, time will tell.  His last season (although a career one) did not garner him more points per game than his previous seasons.  Will Boeser be a top three player?  I'd say he is our best shot, but even if he will be, it is unlikely he will get there in less than 2-3 years, if he does at all.  Who knows where Virtanen will end up, but he too is not likely an ideal 1st liner either.  I see his ceiling as a 2nd liner at best as well.

 

Really, I see this team loaded with either current or future potentially high end 2nd, and very high end 3rd and 4th line talent.  I see players who fill those roles really well, to the point of being elite in those positions.  I do not, however, see definite 1st line talent available with the exception of Eriksson, and he will only perform at that level for a limited time, and we'll probably see him start to decline in 3-4 years time.

 

Hence, why I said that I felt we could compete for the cup in short order, but only if we quickly acquired 2 1st line players, because nobody is coming down the pipe that looks to have the talent to fill those positions with the possible exception of Boeser, and he won't be ready yet. 

 

Then if you want to take a step forward to after the Sedins retire, then we absolutely require our younger guys to step up to the 1st line, or get appropriate UFAs in.  Again, we have Boeser as our best chance of that but other than a now-aging Eriksson, pretty limited after that.  Even if Horvat is indeed a #1 center by then, we are still missing some pieces in our top six.  But I guess we do have a couple of years to figure that out still.....

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27 minutes ago, kloubek said:


I'll certainly agree with your last statement, except to suggest we could compete for the cup.

 

I thought most readers of my post could read into where our players are ideally situated, but let me help that along because I think you missed the very basis of what I was trying to say.

 

Sutter is not an ideal 2nd liner.  He is an excellent 3rd liner, and has good versatility to move up and down the lineup, and perform in important roles like the penalty kill and faceoffs.  Don't be fooled by his good performance so far.... his stats do not suggest ideal top six ability; Ideally, you want your 2nd line players to get minimum 45+ points to be competitive.  He has never got that many, nor does he realistically project to.

 

Eriksson is indeed a top six player, so we're good there.  Hence, why I said we needed a couple of high scoring players.  I'd say he's a 1st line player now, and will drop to a 2nd line player further in his contract.  Yes, we have dipped into the FA pool.  Does that mean we cannot again in order to get our top line players?

 

Hansen, like Sutter, is an elite 3rd line player.  Don't be swayed by his point totals while playing with the Sedins.  He can play 2nd in a pinch, but isn't ideal.  I would, however, be comfortable slotting him in beside the Sedins if the Sedins dropped down to the 2nd line and Eriksson remained on the 1st.

 

Bo has indeed developed well, and he is a guy who will undoubtedly man the 2nd line with aplomb in the future.  He may even progress to a 1st line center - though not likely a franchise one.  Still, he is the other player who I don't have an issue with in our top six.  In my plan as I laid out though, the Sedins would man the 2nd line and therefore Horvat would be a highly elite 3rd line center, or a substandard 1st line center.   (And really, I believe it is far too early to even consider Horvat's 1st line potential)

 

Will Baertschi develop into the solid top six player?  Possibly - though I strongly believe his ceiling is probably 2nd line.  And though he has looked good this season so far, time will tell.  His last season (although a career one) did not garner him more points per game than his previous seasons.  Will Boeser be a top three player?  I'd say he is our best shot, but even if he will be, it is unlikely he will get there in less than 2-3 years, if he does at all.  Who knows where Virtanen will end up, but he too is not likely an ideal 1st liner either.  I see his ceiling as a 2nd liner at best as well.

 

Really, I see this team loaded with either current or future potentially high end 2nd, and very high end 3rd and 4th line talent.  I see players who fill those roles really well, to the point of being elite in those positions.  I do not, however, see definite 1st line talent available with the exception of Eriksson, and he will only perform at that level for a limited time, and we'll probably see him start to decline in 3-4 years time.

 

Hence, why I said that I felt we could compete for the cup in short order, but only if we quickly acquired 2 1st line players, because nobody is coming down the pipe that looks to have the talent to fill those positions with the possible exception of Boeser, and he won't be ready yet. 

 

Then if you want to take a step forward to after the Sedins retire, then we absolutely require our younger guys to step up to the 1st line, or get appropriate UFAs in.  Again, we have Boeser as our best chance of that but other than a now-aging Eriksson, pretty limited after that.  Even if Horvat is indeed a #1 center by then, we are still missing some pieces in our top six.  But I guess we do have a couple of years to figure that out still.....

 

I think you see in your mind this "perfect team" in which you have devised the exact recipe for the winning combination. Fair enough I guess we all have that in our minds, however, to have that "perfect storm" all the stars need to align at the exact same time. I see that as a long shot and not very realistic. Even when you think you have everything in order, such as 2011, you still don't get the "perfect" outcome. Look at LA and the year they missed the playoffs with a "Contender" team. All you can do is improve every year over last and use what you have been given. We have been given the Sedin's and fortunately they can still play at a high level even if they are at "the twilight of their careers" as you say. You can call the Sedin's washed up and Hansen and Sutter 2nd, 3rd or whatever line players but if the team WINS, who cares what you call them. Yes we need top 6 players and yes we need a PMD and yes we need an elite goalie, but , should we give up year after year until ALL of the stars align?

Oh yeah and I did not say we would compete for the cup I said I liked watching the team because of their improvements and not because I think they can win the cup this year.

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