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[Discussion] Thoughts about Canucks defence for 2019-20 season


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A few assumptions here - first (and the biggest - or the smallest, depending on which side we are on), is that Tanev does not get traded. 

The other assumption ( likely lesser risk one) is that we miss the playoffs this year and we are in a position to draft a good pick in the draft. 

 

Last assumption (and probably the least one) is that the management WILL target 2019-20 as a season we want to make the playoffs at any cost possible. This i think is where ownership and the team management will converge in their goals : its given that Aqua-man wants the playoff revenue. I think Benning and Green will also be on board heavily, as we know that our young guns will require a season or two of playoff experience to be a genuine contender and we don't want to go too long without exposing them to playoff hockey, so that they can learn.  Of our 'future generation' of Horvat, Boeser, Virtanen, EP, etc. only Bo has any playoff experience and it was several seasons ago for a short duration. Thus, i think Canucks in the off season are going to try and build a playoff worthy team as their first priority ( whereas this season i think their first priority was to build a competetive team of youngesters to help along the rebuild process).

 

We have prospects, like Hughes and Juolevi to fill that slot but ideally,  i'd like to see Juolevi being the 'first left-D injury standby' for next year and still develop his game next year.  He is currently doing fairly well in the AHL as an exclusively offensive defenceman, so i expect next season will see his natural progression from being only on the PP to also being on the PK and learning about the defensive side of the game. Hence, i don't think he is a sure-bet for next season. 


Hughes - well, Hughes is dynamic and his offensive skills are unquestionable, with his defensive side requiring work but also developing. Even if he does want to go pro next year, i don't think we should start out with the expectation that he will play the whole season. There are too many variables in my mind to project QH as a 70 game defenceman next year : his size, his age, his development as well as his ability to transition from a 40-45 game full season in the NCAA to 82 in the NHL. He may yet prove us wrong and take the bull by the horns like EP did, but that will become self evident as the next season develops. 
I would like to point out, that this thread is about what we should do BEFORE the next season starts, to prepare. I'd also like to point out, that despite EP lighting it up and making everyone who thought he'd start in the AHL look silly, the Canucks still had a plan without him in the team - our centers without EP are still Bo, Sutter, Beagle, Granlund. This is not a diss on EP or QH, this is simply about covering our bases. 

Right, so lets get started:

 

This gives us the fairly stable and 'decent'  Right side of :
Tanev

Gudbranson

Stecher

 

Beiga ( injury call-up). 

 

Our left side, is a gaping hole, with nobody having a contract so far.  
Its evident that Edler wants to sign here and regardless of whether we trade him at the deadline or not, i think we should make a strong pitch for his re-signing.  With one eye towards the expansion draft, I'd say Edler would be an extremely good signing for a 2 year 5 to 5.5 million per year scenario. This would be meeting his market value and a fair price for a defenceman who, going into the season is still expected to be a top pairing defenceman with PK and PP duties. 


For the next position, we have a few options to consider


1. Anton Stralman

2. Jordie Benn

3. Jake Gardiner

4.  Carl Gunnarsson

5. Patrick Nemeth

6. Ben Chiarot.

 

a) Of these options, i think Jake Gardiner is the weakest one, even though he is likeliest the most prestigious one. Reason being, as this season is showing (despite injuries to us), our primary concern moving forward is defensive play, not offense generation. Jake Gardiner sucks at this angle. He is basically a younger, faster, more offensively engaged Edler with crappier defensive plays. Plus given his offensive prowess, he is likely to go north of 6 million per year on a long term contract, which does not fit well with us.

 

b) Nemeth, Benn and Stralman are all excellent PK-ers. Indeed, so far this season they are top 3 defensemen in their teams for PK time ( Benn is top 2 IIRC). Gunnarsson is also a good PK-er but he has been mostly injured so only 7 games so far are hurting his PK stats. Benn, Nemeth and Stralman are also excellent shot-blockers, which except for Edler, is a glaring weakness in our left side ( Del Zotto has blocked only 3 shots in the PK, Hutton only 8. 

 

c) None of these guys, except Gardiner has any significant powerplay time. 

 

d) salaries & age:  

       Age( start of the season): Stralman, Benn & Gunnarsson : 32,  Gardiner :  29,, Chiarot : 28  Nemeth: 27

      Salary : Stralman : 4.5M, Gardiner 4.05M,  Gunnarsson: 2.9M,  Nemeth : 2.5M , Chiarot : 1.4 M, Benn: 1.1M

 

Given age, salary and the kind of teams they play for, i suspect that while most of them are due a big raise, players like Stralman, Nemeth and Gardiner will command either long term or big money (north of 5.5-6 million) or both.  This puts Benn in a very good 'target spot' for us - he is BC boy, he is due a big raise and his big raise is affordable. If he has any desire to come home, we could potetially quadruple his salary on a 3-4 year contract, we could afford it and still be worth it.  Gunnarsson is in an interesting spot - he is playing for a bottom feeder team, has been injured and thus, his likely price isn't going to go much higher than 3 or 3.5 mil for a multi year deal. 


So my vote goes for Benn for 2 LD. 

 


Hutton :  While Hutton is coming along decently, his defensive progress has definitely flat-lined a bit. He is doing a few minor things well and his offensive side of the game is a bonus, but without having a top shelf goalie ( Marky is good, but he isn't top 10 goalie good) or bonafide  top tier defencemen ( i am talking the Ekblad/Weber/Hedman level), we cannot shelter him enough for a 2nd pairing role. At best, he is a third pairing role. Which puts us at a quandry - do we keep Hutton for a third pairing role or get someone better ? It does not help Hutton's case that the skills he brings to the table - smooth skating, good outlet passes, good offensive nous - are present in the two players i want to see jockeying for the 3rd LD role - QH an OJ. 

I am inclined to have Hutton traded, as i dont think his trade value will be higher for much longer and i can't see him being a big factor in our powerplay or penalty kill, moving forward in the next 2-3 years. 

 

So i'd be more inclined to sign a good, servicable 3rd pairing D with some upside in Gunnarsson as our 3LD guy, who we'd happily scratch/trade or demote if QH or OJ look like they belong as the season goes forward. Something like 2 year for 3 or 3.5M will be quite affordable and good value for Gunnarsson for us. 

 

This would give us a defense list of :

Edler       Tanev

Benn      Gudbransson

Gunnarsson    Stecher

Hughes

Juolevi/Biega (injury call-ups). 

 

Potentially this defence costs us ( 5.5 + 4.45 + 4 + 4.5 + 2.3 + 3 + 0.9+ 1)  rougly 26 million, which is pretty good. 

 

Thoughts ? 

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Hughes plays the right side ?!?

 

I can virtually garantee that this is NOT how the management will build the team in the off season. No one hopes that two rookie defencemen ( Juolevi and QH) will be there the entire season, everyone starts with other players in the mix and hoping their rookies push out the other players. We didn't go into this season with EP as our 4th center but 5th on the roster. Similarly we will go in with six other defencemen without counting Hughes or OJ in the mix. 


Especially OJ, since next year, as i said, he will most likely still be playing in the AHL and taking on more defensive responsibilities he does not have currently ( like the PK).

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Hughes can play both sides, up, down, sideways, on the ceiling, etc. But yes, you are probably correct, the Canucks may not want to start two rookies on D to start the year (next season), but I did pair each of them with our most experienced vets. Could happen? It's also very possible Benning signs a UFA or makes a trade to bring in another Dman.

 

How is Brisebois doing? Seems he's been developing for years. Tryamkin might come back as well. Not holding my breath, but if Pettersson and Boeser continue to impress, he may want to join the party.

 

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9 minutes ago, NUCKER67 said:

Hughes can play both sides, up, down, sideways, on the ceiling, etc. But yes, you are probably correct, the Canucks may not want to start two rookies on D to start the year (next season), but I did pair each of them with our most experienced vets. Could happen? It's also very possible Benning signs a UFA or makes a trade to bring in another Dman.

 

How is Brisebois doing? Seems he's been developing for years. Tryamkin might come back as well. Not holding my breath, but if Pettersson and Boeser continue to impress, he may want to join the party.

 

Well if he can play both sides, great. But his natural side is the left side and our needs on the left side are far greater....so......

 

Also, Tryamkin's contract in KHL covers next year, so no chance. Brisebois is in the same 'dont wanna rely on a rookie to make up a vital roster spot in the NHL' scenario. 

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Next Season

 

Edler - Will be re-signed. Will play

Tanev - Will play

Hutton - Will play

Stecher - Will play

Gudbranson - Will play

Del Zotto - Traded at the TDL

Pouliot - Traded at the TDL

Biega - Will be a call-up

Hughes - I don't think he sees any time in Utica. Will play.

Juolevi - If he doesn't make the team out of camp, then there will be more questions

Sautner - Could be the 7th D

Brisebois - Could be a callup on occasion

Tryamkin - I think he returns as soon as his contract is done

They'll probably sign another D or two, while they wait for Juolevi

 

 

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4 minutes ago, NUCKER67 said:

Next Season

 

Edler - Will be re-signed. Will play

Tanev - Will play

Hutton - Will play

Stecher - Will play

Gudbranson - Will play

Del Zotto - Traded at the TDL

Pouliot - Traded at the TDL

Biega - Will be a call-up

Hughes - I don't think he sees any time in Utica. Will play.

Juolevi - If he doesn't make the team out of camp, then there will be more questions

Sautner - Could be the 7th D

Brisebois - Could be a callup on occasion

Tryamkin - I think he returns as soon as his contract is done

They'll probably sign another D or two, while they wait for Juolevi

 

 

Unless Juolevi gets PK time on the Comets, he is likely not making the opening night roster. developing 2-way d-men takes the predictable route of 'first get his offense going in season 1, work on his defense in season2'. OJ is following that trajectory. 
 

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What I'd love to see (though unlikely) is both Edler and Tanev moved this TDL for a tidy sum, Edler re-signed for +/-2 years and Tanev replaced with either Myers or Karlsson.

 

Edler, Karlsson

Hutton, Hughes

Juolevi, Gudbranson

 

Spares:

Brisebois/Sautner etc, Stecher

 

 

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Am I in the minority here who thinks Hutton > Gunnarsson and Hutton > Jordie Benn? I do agree we should re-sign Edler and Tanev though. I was hoping for a line up like this:

Edler Stecher

Hughes Tanev

Hutton Gudbranson

 

Joulevi, Biega

 

I am really not interested in boosting our team through UFAs with the exception of elite talent like Karlsson. 

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10 minutes ago, AK_19 said:

Am I in the minority here who thinks Hutton > Gunnarsson and Hutton > Jordie Benn? I do agree we should re-sign Edler and Tanev though. I was hoping for a line up like this:

Edler Stecher

Hughes Tanev

Hutton Gudbranson

 

Joulevi, Biega

 

I am really not interested in boosting our team through UFAs with the exception of elite talent like Karlsson. 

Not at all. Benn and Gunnarsson are laughable name drops.

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21 minutes ago, AK_19 said:

Am I in the minority here who thinks Hutton > Gunnarsson and Hutton > Jordie Benn? I do agree we should re-sign Edler and Tanev though. I was hoping for a line up like this:

Edler Stecher

Hughes Tanev

Hutton Gudbranson

 

Joulevi, Biega

 

I am really not interested in boosting our team through UFAs with the exception of elite talent like Karlsson. 

Thats exactly how I see it

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20 minutes ago, AK_19 said:

Am I in the minority here who thinks Hutton > Gunnarsson and Hutton > Jordie Benn? I do agree we should re-sign Edler and Tanev though. I was hoping for a line up like this:

Edler Stecher

Hughes Tanev

Hutton Gudbranson

 

Joulevi, Biega

 

I am really not interested in boosting our team through UFAs with the exception of elite talent like Karlsson. 

How on earth is Hutton better DEFENCEMAN than a dude who PK numbers and performance is more in league with Tanev ?!

And why not boosting team with UFAs that are not elite ? they are lower in risk and lower in term. High profile UFAs have a far bigger cost  for being busts for a new-setup than lower profile ones. 

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1 hour ago, aGENT said:

What I'd love to see (though unlikely) is both Edler and Tanev moved this TDL for a tidy sum, Edler re-signed for +/-2 years and Tanev replaced with either Myers or Karlsson.

 

Edler, Karlsson

Hutton, Hughes

Juolevi, Gudbranson

 

Spares:

Brisebois/Sautner etc, Stecher

 

 

In this scenario, i fear for the canucks everytime we take a penalty, because if one of Karlsoon or a rookie is your 2nd unit PK-er, you are pretty screwed. 


And again, read the main post. We are NOT going on the opening night with Juolevi, Briesbois, Hughes as members of our top six. NHL teams simply dont work that way. Teams go in with ATLEAST six non-rookie defencemen on the opening roster night. So you need to put 2 names in there that are NOT Juolevi or Hughes. They will start as 7th/8th on the roster and will GRADUATE to the playing six, pushing out a more established guy.

 

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29 minutes ago, canuckistani said:

In this scenario, i fear for the canucks everytime we take a penalty, because if one of Karlsoon or a rookie is your 2nd unit PK-er, you are pretty screwed. 


And again, read the main post. We are NOT going on the opening night with Juolevi, Briesbois, Hughes as members of our top six. NHL teams simply dont work that way. Teams go in with ATLEAST six non-rookie defencemen on the opening roster night. So you need to put 2 names in there that are NOT Juolevi or Hughes. They will start as 7th/8th on the roster and will GRADUATE to the playing six, pushing out a more established guy.

 

Edler, Gudbranson, Hutton and say Juolevi (or whoever is in his spot) could play pk. Hughes could potentially be fun there too with his ability to pick pockets, his speed etc. 

 

Stecher is an NHL player, Sautner has seen NHL time and did well in a depth role and Brisebois is likely due for some similar time this season and could result graduate to that role. There's also plenty of depth guys available as UFA. I don't care to speculate on a veteran number 6 guy we might bring in. 

 

It's also quite likely Tanev isn't moved until NEXT year. In which case we'd probably be starting with something like:

 

Edler, Karlsson

Hughes, Tanev

Hutton, Gudbranson

 

_____, Stecher

 

In a similar situation. Then move Tanev next TDL shift Hughes to the right and recall Juolevi. 

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47 minutes ago, aGENT said:

Edler, Gudbranson, Hutton and say Juolevi (or whoever is in his spot) could play pk. Hughes could potentially be fun there too with his ability to pick pockets, his speed etc. 

 

Stecher is an NHL player, Sautner has seen NHL time and did well in a depth role and Brisebois is likely due for some similar time this season and could result graduate to that role. There's also plenty of depth guys available as UFA. I don't care to speculate on a veteran number 6 guy we might bring in. 

 

It's also quite likely Tanev isn't moved until NEXT year. In which case we'd probably be starting with something like:

 

Edler, Karlsson

Hughes, Tanev

Hutton, Gudbranson

 

_____, Stecher

 

In a similar situation. Then move Tanev next TDL shift Hughes to the right and recall Juolevi. 

Well given the state of our defence, i think shut-down defencemen is far more required for our team than more playmaking defencemen. Karlsson is great at generating offence, but i dont rate him highly for play in his own zone. I also don't see why Hutton is valuable to us over a player like say Benn or Stralman on the left side, when you are icing Edler and Hughes, both of whom do what Hutton does better than Hutton in every which way practically. 

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Sounds perfect reason to trade him for a 1st round pick, Canucks miss the playoffs get a high draft pick perfect, oh wait the Canucks get a 2nd draft pick in the 1st round because they traded Tanev to a contender and took their late 1st round draft pick in the trade BAM, rebuild faster perfect!!! If Edler isn't being traded or waving then you trade Tanev one of them needs to be traded to get something for the future.

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