Popular Post *Buzzsaw* Posted January 16 Popular Post Share Posted January 16 (edited) Ok, we are midway through the season, the team is going nowhere fast, and management has come clean and said there have been mistakes in how they assessed the team. Now they are saying there needs to be major surgery. From my perspective they are acknowleging what should have been clear from the moment they signed on... or maybe they weren't listening to close observers of the team? What was was clear to me... and most fans who watch the team closely... and therefore should have been clear to professionals... was the team was lacking both in their defensive personnel and the overall defensive structure. The goaltending situation was good, (this was prior to Demko being re-injured) with a #1 and #2 as well as backup in Abbotsford. The offensive potential of the team was also good... with Pettersson, Horvat, Miller as a strong proven trio at center, and with enough decent supporting wingers to allow the trading of some of these for defensive improvements. This new management team should have focused on acquiring defensive assets... preferably in the form of younger defensive prospects, and drafts, with trades of our surplus wingers a tool. Last choice would be signing free agent older established players... although short term deals could be done for the right player if the option to go younger was not possible. But what I saw over the last 9 months did not show that Rutherford and company understood what was needed to allow this team to take the next step. In the off season, their focus seemed to be on signing or acquiring offense... First they signed Miller to a long term contract. I don't fault them for this, there were compelling reasons for wrapping him up longterm... he was the team's leading scorer, centermen who can score near to 100 points in a year are at a premium. Yes, he hasn't performed up that standard this year, (still a lot of games to go) but overall, the price they paid was not exorbitant. After signing Miller, you'd think they would then put their focus on the D. Instead, they spent $5 million on signing Ilya Mikheyev... a good player, but when you consider the club was not short of wingers, and the glaring deficiencies on defense remained... questionable spending this much. They also signed Andrei Kuzmenko... he was a bargain at the time, so this was worthwhile, even if they need to trade him at the deadline. In addition, they re-tooled a lot of their bottom end forward group with Curtis Lazar being the big signing there... at $3 million over three years. The only significant defensive addition in the off season was Riley Stillman, in a trade for Jason Dickenson and a 2nd rounder. This trade has to be considered a failure... they gave up a 2nd rounder... a considerable loss. Combine this with Stillman's poor play as a Canuck, and you have a disastrous trade decision. Part way into the season, with the team going nowhere, management acquired Ethan Bear and Lane Pederson from Carolina for a 5th rounder. I would call this trade a win for management... Bear is a decent young defenseman, not a top 4 in my opinion, but certainly a #5. And Pederson at the very least is a solid AHLer, and still has a 35/65 chance of turning into a top six forward... at the very least he will be a regular in Abbotsford. But the team still had not filled the glaring deficiencies at D... there was not the substantial move they needed in the off season, and the deluge of goals filling Vancouver's net continued. Another failure of management is in not finding the right assistants to complement Boudreau. With the departure of two key members of the coaching staff from last season, it was imperative management and Boudreau find replacements who could give the team the necessary structure in their own end of the ice. Mike Yeo was one of the designated successors... but why management would pick a guy who has a litany of failures and firings in his back history is a question. No doubt Boudreau had something to do with this... Yeo worked under him in Minnesota, but Yeo's track record should have been a warning to Rutherford... enough to override any loyalty BB might have. The Assistant coach who was retained, Jason King, was no better... he had been part of the Green debacle since 2020 and it is difficult to see what there was to recommend him. As it stands now, the team's Penalty Kill and overall defensive play are disasters... and the major reason for the team's poor record... and these failures are a responsibility of the assistants. Management picked these guys. --- To summarize, I think this management group deserves an 'F'. It should have been apparent what the team needed to improve... and they failed to recognize the facts and act. Edit: What I forgot to mention was managements handling of CAP. By spending the money to sign Mikheyev, and not unloading CAP by trading some of their higher priced forwards or D like Myers or Boeser they made it impossible to re-sign Bo Horvat when he turned in his best season. Now you could argue Bo's performance this year is a surprise... but I would disagree. Every player I have seen who is coming up to UFA status puts in their best effort to give themselves a chance to retire comfortably. Bo is no different. Management should have anticipated Horvat exceeding his previous best and allowed for a cushion. The CAP management record of Rutherford and company is perhaps their biggest failure. Edit Changed post to reflect correct CAP values. Edited January 17 by *Buzzsaw* 1 1 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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