jordan subban

The Case For Jordan Subban As A Loss Leader

Everyone is a salesperson. From the guy on late night TV telling you why need a weight that you can shake vigorously to help you drop the pounds to the nice woman at the jewelry store that can smell your vulnerability as soon you ask why the 4-C’s are important. Agents try to sell the GM’s why their player is worth more money and ownership tries to sell the fans why rebuilding with a lowercase r is OK.

When it comes to Canucks defensive prospect Jordan Subban, selling a reason why he should be on the big club has proved to be quite difficult. It’s not that he can’t score goals or that he isn’t fast enough; he’s a star in those categories. In fact, last season in the AHL, Subban was 3rd amongst all defensemen with 16 goals. He was tied for 7th in primary points (goals and first assists) by defenders with 30 and 17th in overall points by a defenseman with 36.

No one will argue that Subban can’t produce. However, the knock on PK’s younger brother is that defensively, he stinks. The 2017 preseason has been fairly evident of this as he’s been the visible one getting burned for a handful of goals. The blame isn’t always pegged on the last guy but his defensive efforts aren’t exactly NHL caliber.

You know who else was atrociously awful as a defenseman? If you guessed Luca Sbisa then you would win a prize. There are no prizes to give out but if there were, you’d have one today. Somehow, Sbisa was trotted out on a nightly basis when there were plenty of other players clearly more deserving than him to be in the lineup.

As the saying goes, let’s look at the stats:

Luca Sbisa (VAN) 2016/17 – Goals: 2 Assists: 11 GF: 46, GA: 72   TOI/60: 18:58 (7th on team)

Jordan Subban (UTI) 2016/17 – Goals: 16 Assists: 20 GFoI: 42 GAoI:  45  (AHL doesn’t track TOI, but looking at the stats, he would have been playing big minutes).

OK, so based on some similar metrics, Subban was on the ice for a lot more action on either side of the ice than Sbisa. Knowing that, would it not be more beneficial to go with the loss leader in this case? A loss leader in sales is something sold at a loss to attract customers. It has been done in the housing market to get the ball rolling on a development and for the Canucks, having an exciting player on the ice, regardless of the final score, gets people back in the rink.

Even though Sbisa is gone, players like Erik Gudbranson and Thomas Vanek are still on the team. At some point, an injury will rear its head and someone will need to be called up. If having Jordan Subban on the ice means goals are going both ways, the surrounding players and goalie should be able to weather the storm. How bad could Subban really be?

For what it’s worth, Gudbranson had a GF 16 and GA of 38. Subban doesn’t look so bad now, does he?

There isn’t necessarily a spot for Jordan right now but looking back at last season, the Canucks would have most likely benefited more from having Subban on the team. If there is going to be red lights lit at both ends of the ice, why not put in a guy that can actually contribute to them instead of being both an offensive AND defensive hinderance? What about another route, though?

It has been suggested by various people that he switch positions to accommodate to his talents, to say, the wing. It’s unlikely he cracks the Canucks lineup anytime soon due to a logjam of “talent” ahead of him. Smaller forwards have risen to the spotlight in the NHL in the last few seasons so it would be a great time to experiment with Subban up front.

Of course, with two preseason games left to play, it’s a little late for that.

When the time does come to call a forward up, Subban would be an interesting choice. Heck, Andrey Pedan played up front! Goals may come at a premium this season and Jordan has a decent release. Worth a try. It’s worth a try for many of the young stars trying to make the Canucks. If the goals are coming, the losing doesn’t hurt as much.

Comparing Sbisa to Subban is kind of a moot point as Sbisa has moved on to play for Vegas and any stats above were from last year. However, there are still a handful of players that need to be kept honest because there are guys that can rock the boat and get the fire into the lineup. Taking a hit by allowing more opportunities to score goals is well worth the chance to score more.

Limit his ice time as a bottom pairing defenceman and anchor him with a responsible partner OR put him on the wing. Jordan Subban deserves his shot.

The Canucks won’t challenge for a playoff spot this season but having increased goal production combined with excitement (hey, what’s that?) will get the needle moving in the right direction.

photo – Today’s Slapshot

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Canucks Answers Aren’t On Current Roster

The Vancouver Canucks latest stinker came in the form of a 4-0 drubbing by the Anaheim Ducks. It wasn’t Ryan Kesler’s return that overshadowed it, it wasn’t even the Ducks outplaying them; the Canucks have ZERO answers to what their problems are. They are back to having the same formula they’ve fought to get away from for years: scoring, defense and goaltending; pick two and suffer in the other area. I don’t even think they have two of those covered.

March 2nd is the trade deadline and it comes quicker than you think and Vancouver will have to make a decision of what to do with what they have. The problem lies within, no matter what way they go there won’t be a fix when the deadline comes and goes. The Sedins are aging and are a shadow of what they were a few years ago, it’s time to drop them down the lineup and groom the next “ones”.

Trading them can still net some valuable returns but what the Sedins may lack in their overall game, they make up in teaching. Call it the Linden method. Henrik and Daniel have groomed many a winger and they have a chance to shape the future of the Vancouver Canucks.

The talent that is about to crack this roster is promising and pulling an Edmonton and getting the newbies playing is one way to get big returns back. Kesler was moved, Luongo was moved and that shouldn’t be the end. All the chatter about Jacob Markstrom and how the Canucks are so high on him most definitely means Eddie Lack is the odd man out. So trade him while you can, package him with Zack Kassian, Alex Burrows or Kevin Bieksa and make a move for a 2nd or 1st rounder. This year’s draft class is meaty and the more the Canucks tread water or even improve, the lower they go in the draft. Thatcher Demko has also been impressive for ‘Murica so it only furthers the reason to make a move at goalie.

Bo Horvat was the first to get his chance and he has made the most of it thus far. He’s not going to win the Calder but his development is blossoming at the NHL level. Looks like Hunter Shinkaruk may not yet be the star I said he would be but if Vancouver feels they can get something decent for him then maybe that’s a chip they play. Jake Virtanen looks like he will be a stud and has many tools that had us salivating during the World Junior Championships.

On D, Gustav Forsling(neat article here) and Jordan Subban are turning heads and again, if the juniors are any indication, Forsling is our future QB on the PP. Frankie Corrado made enough of an impression on Benning that when he was called up again, they won’t send him back. The loss of Kevin Bieksa only helps his cause and I would expect Bieksa to be part of a package out of the Lower Mainland. His time in Vancouver, like Kesler’s, has passed and it looks like his game is starting to suffer as well. A new team could rejuvenate “Juice” and the Canucks can get return on him.

There has to be a guy on the other line of the phone to make deals happen and I think Jim Benning has proven he’ll make a deal that makes sense. My guess is that the other GM’s like him. So Mr. Benning, please put this current Canucks team to pasture and begin the somewhat painful process of the rebuild. Don’t tease us with a pathetic showing in the first round of the playoffs, I’ll be watching the Kelowna Rockets make their inevitable run to the Memorial Cup this year.

There is a lot of respect to be given when the future is given their rightful chance. Utica Comets are tearing up the AHL and with a few additions to the grit department, Chiarelli on line 2, things can progress. Pittsburgh made their moves when they had a hole with guys like David Perron, Chris Kunitz and most recently Max Lapierre. When you know your team’s needs, you address them. If you have too many needs, it’s time to rebuild. Vancouver has too many needs.

It’s going to be a boringly painful next few months if we keep seeing the efforts we have seen lately. 140 characters just doesn’t allow the frustration to vent properly over 2.5 hours. I like the fact Ryan Miller is where he basically needs to be but every player in front of him gives him no chance to win, so when the gaffes happen, that’s it, its over.

Nobody likes a goodbye, but when you are constantly disappointed, you kick em to the curb.

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