trade deadline

Gutting Current Roster Stalls Canucks Future

The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching and the rumour mill is churning out new material by the day. Regardless of what side you’re on, the changes the Canucks make could potentially shake the future direction of where the team wants to go. It’s no surprise who’s on the block, what their respective trade destination list looks like or who potentially will be the realistic destination for any of the said players. What may end up being a surprise is what could happen if Jim Benning decides to stock the cupboards with picks and prospects and lose valuable mentors in the room.

Building for the future comes at a cost, how quickly they decide to build will dictate how soon the true results are achieved.

I, like everyone else, want the Canucks to turn the corner and become what they used to be: a competitive, winning hockey team. I understand that they had an opportunity to get to the top of the mountain and they let the window close for any future chances at getting back to the Stanley Cup. It’s been a trying few years and now, Vancouver is facing some tough decisions with their current team.

On the one hand, they can trade Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, and Ryan Miller to name a few and get valuable draft picks to start putting together a stable that will compete 3-5 years down the line. There are other players who haven’t been mentioned that could be moved right now and in return would bring players that have already been developed by other teams.

There have been discussions on the Internet about moving Ben Hutton because of the progression of Troy Stecher and Nikita Tryamkin and the promise of Olli Juolevi. What people don’t realize is that you can’t just eliminate a player like Hutton and expect that everything will be ok. Every action causes a reaction. If Hutton goes that leaves a spot for Erik Gudbranson or even Jordan Subban. Minutes go up for players that aren’t used to seeing that kind of action and the dominos begin to fall.

Does everyone remember when Kevin Bieksa was forced to play monster minutes? Ya, it didn’t go so well. Same goes for Luca Sbisa or even Alex Edler. Unless you are a true star and survive on your own, being thrown into the fire hampers the effectiveness of the player in question. Can taking Hutton out of the mix really help the Canucks? It just doesn’t feel like the right move. The other take there is the question of why would you even consider trading him so early on when he hasn’t even developed yet?

Moving on from Ben Hutton could end up being a huge mistake and considering the huge mistakes the Canucks have made in the past, there could be some serious damage done to the franchise.

Trading away Burrows gains a draft pick and there is a chance the Canucks can re-sign him in the offseason. Same can be said for Jannik Hansen and even Ryan Miller. Parlaying all those players puts a pretty big hole in the lineup and inevitably a freefall will occur. The problem with getting rid of all of these guys is that the leadership of the team takes a monster hit and it puts the Sedins in an awkward position to step their roles up on the team.

The Canucks need to ease the Twins into a supplementary role where they can maintain minutes in the low teens and still be effective. It’s obvious they aren’t getting any faster and their decisions throughout the game are starting to be routinely compromised. Their bodies aren’t reacting as fast as they can think the game and it shows.

Sure, they still sit among the leaders on the team in points but they are placed in so many situations that they have become overworked and in turn, it affects their teammates progression as well.

So what do the Canucks do?

They need to rebuild but they can’t have a massive void that keeps them from smoothly transitioning. Is it a case of starting over cold turkey or can they make the move a few players at a time? There no doubt are players coming up from the farm and in junior that will put the Canucks in a better position to win but not all of those players will be instant impacts on a nightly basis.

When those players make the switch to the NHL it also empties the cupboards of anything they have been working on and puts the team right back in the same position, not enough players drafted that they can develop.

I think this is called a “catch-22” situation.

What the Canucks SHOULD do, in my opinion, is admit defeat with a few players and maybe even the coach and give the players they moderately more responsibility. Loui Eriksson is a good start to move on from. Whatever the Canucks believed they had in Eriksson has not shown up on the scoresheet this season.

Maybe he’s injured and maybe he’s not but a player making $6 million a year for the next 5 years after this one is a pretty big waste of money if this is as good as he gets here. There is no Patrice Bergeron to play with and even playing on a line with Bo Horvat won’t amount to all-star numbers within a season, I just can’t see it happening.

Finding a buyer for Eriksson would be just as hard but Benning is a confusing character so I do have odd faith that he could pull it off. Jake Virtanen could be yet another “power forward” that doesn’t work out and he could be another Hunter Shinkaruk clone that fizzles out. A pick or a comparable prospect or a package deal to go get a star from that Denver team would be great.

Ryan Miller is the odds on favorite to move this year or at the very least, be the first one shipped off. The handling of both goalies this year has really clouded up what the team has in either player. Miller performs well when he’s rested and Jacob Markstrom performs well when he’s played more than once every three weeks.

Thatcher Demko shouldn’t be rushed into the league which means the Canucks need more time. Sending away Miller puts everything on Markstrom’s shoulders and even though he wants the chance to shine, there’s no way he sustains a winning record with no one to spell him after the burnout. Is trading Miller the answer in net?

The critics say yes but what does that solve? Not a whole lot and it creates issues in net which in turn means the Canucks would have to either find a cheap backup for Markstrom or take Richard Bachman from Utica and force Demko to be everything on the farm.

There is no easy fix and it feels like if the Canucks cut the wrong wire or push the wrong button, this team will create more problems than they originally had.

But hey, at least we’ll all scream at them regardless of what they do. That’s our thing.

Follow me on Twitter: @always90four

photo – vancitybuzz.com

Canucks Are Past The Future, It’s Here

Going into the trade deadline as well as the final push to finish the season in the top 16 is an exciting time. Is making a trade going to help the Canucks go deep into the playoffs or is it false hope and a meaningless dump of talent yet again? Jim Benning has played his cards pretty cool this year and even though Ryan Miller hasn’t been entirely as advertised, or really as we fantasized; its been a very productive year.

Thankfully the rest of the NHL is making moves right now that don’t really involve the Canucks and some of them are trading for LTIR spots (while still paying said players). That’s just fine by me. In past years, former GM’s have traded for Keith Carney, Eric Weinrich, Sami Pahlsson (post mono), Derek Roy, Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre. Oh I forgot, one of those GM’s dealt Luongo too!

The actual market that exists still isnt exactly enticing this spring and the best thing Vancouver’s Jim Benning can do is take a nap; well unless Ryan Miller can be moved. It’s not that Miller hasn’t been a good goalie, its that its ALL he’s been. It doesn’t really make sense why they went after him in the first place but I can buy the theory that they wanted to groom the kids under his tutelage. 

Did that happen sooner than management thought? It looks that way. It was a pricey teaching assignment but who really cares, its not my money. So now what does Benning do in net? The cheap option and quite frankly the best option IMO is to move Miller as the Leafs did David Clarkson (Ok ok ok, not the same but it sorta is) to a team that can take the hit OR decide who gets you the most between the IKEA boys and milk it for all its worth as the market is paying great this season. Keeping Eddie Lack and/or Jacob Markstrom keeps the seat warm for Thatcher Demko in about 5 years or less.

What does the rest of the team hold though? Up on line numero uno, the Sedins are still proving their worth but the time is coming soon where they start sliding back down the rankings. Everything else has options; Alex Burrows despite his injuries has had a nice bounce back season. Moving him isn’t neccesarily a smart move. A finisher and clutch playoff performer, he may not put up big regular season numbers anymore but I like Burr when it counts.

Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and Chris Higgins all strike me as trade bait this year. Bonino and Sbisa just aren’t Canucks. Sounds stupid to say what a Canuck is but there isn’t a “fit” there. Higgins is halfway through his 4 year deal but his role as the worker bee seems to be done. On the flip sided, Ronny Kenins, Shawn Matthias and upon his safe return, Brad Richardson, have fulfilled that role in spades and they all seem to be producing on top of many other talents.

Move a piece, get a younger piece.

Bo Horvat was the piece we didn’t reallllly know we needed until he got healthy and started being all faceoff winny and goal scorey. I thought Hunter Shinkaruk would have come up at the same time but that hasn’t panned out yet. Horvat took a shortcut and could really make a difference sooner than later; he’s not going anywhere.

This season was billed as a retool and as they played we would see what the team needed to do. Well, if any of us thought they would do this well, Benning and Trevor Linden probably would have made a few moves sooner. We all talk about the future and when prospects turn into valuable roster players and the results were different than we thought and actually better. 

Kenins has been a find and a half, Matthias has basically been the Tiger Woods 2015 putt preview for Zack Kassian this year and the diamonds in the rough keep coming. The answers always seem to come when the right questions are asked. Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and newbie Frankie Corrado all signed up for injury camp and a few new guys stepped up. Enter Adam Clendening and Alex Biega

A Chicago cast off and a timely call up have turned the sting into a boost. This Canucks team should not be doing as well as they have been and they are far from the team that started in October. Clendening and Biega aren’t stealing anyones jobs right now but the ridiculous depth they have given the Canucks is stunning. They are a few key forwards and maybe a dman short of a poor mans 2011.

AGAIN, the cavalry isn’t here but the services of Kevin Bieksa start to become expendable. Just another salary cut the Canucks can afford to move. The injuries don’t help right now but hey Evander Kane got traded and he’s a mess. Every move towards the future seems to have taken a big step forward. Speaking of forwards…

Then there’s the young amazing young winger version of the career killer Bryan Allen: Jake Virtanen. He might get a shot as soon as next season; I bet Horvat is ok with that.

The future of the Canucks is basically here. So Jimbo, sell the old parts for picks or heck troll the Kelowna Rockets and make a move for Flyers prospect Tyrell Goulbourne, Caps future star blueliner Madison Bowey or somehow parlay the first pick you make this year into a better one for stud forward Nick Merkley. Now about those NTCs.

You are shooting out the lights Benning and the cresendo is about to be occur.

Playoffs or not this year, the Canucks are on the verge and you should be happy.

PS: This is not a public service announcement for the Rockets, but it isn’t hard to do.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10

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Fifty Trades and Vey: Canucks VD TD Primer (Valentines Trade Deadline)

At the very least you have to admit its clever. Almost went with Jannik at the Disco or Now you Sedin me, Now you don’t. Linden Vey isn’t going anywhere but being that it’s valentines day tomorrow and there is a catchy movie coming out, it seemed fitting.

I recently had another deep discussion with my buddy Ted Wong, twitter’s @tee3ree, about the Canucks, their goalie situation, their future and what they should do this season. We covered a lot of ground and I totally thought I had a leg to stand on with a Sedin trade; problem is: they make too much money for any team worth going to.

Pittsburgh was the team we decided on for Henrik and Daniel but their cap hit is just too much without really dismembering the Penguins both present and future. So we left that alone. It’s a shame, they could do some real damage there for a few years.

The Canucks goalie situation is a hot topic yet again. The vibe right now is most would like to trade the “shady” season of Ryan Miller, even though he just signed a 3 year deal. It looks like Jacob Markstrom is a real keeper here and that leaves one chip that ultimately is the only thing they can move: Eddie Lack.

Lack would definitely fetch a decent piece in return for a playoff contender. He’s likable, talented and able to handle a heavy workload if given the opportunity. He also loves tacos if you didn’t already know.

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credit – Eddies Twitter account

If the Canucks decided enough is enough of their current #1 Ryan Miller, his price tag is pretty steep and there really is only one team, maybe two that he COULD go to if a trade availed itself: Washington and New York.

Washington is on the bubble right now and as we have seen before, you never really know their goalie situation. Ryan Miller knows the east quite well, not a shocker, and he would be tested right away. Thankfully, the Caps have goal support so if he lets in his usual stinkers like he has, they can bail him out with an extra goal or two.

Immediately that shores up the net for at least a year or two. Brayden Holtby is doing quite well but with a veteran and former all star running with him, he can have some added confidence if things get dicey.

Packaging Kevin Bieksa and possibly Chris Higgins or Jannik Hansen on the Canucks would give Washington added depth on the back end and on the bottom six. What I would like to see come back is Karl Alzner and 2013 second round pick Madison Bowey.

I don’t anticipate Bowey is available but if Lack is the piece instead of Miller going the other way, that would make them think a bit more. Washington intrigues me and after this season, they have a decent chunk off the books and adding the likes of Kevin Bieksa gives Juice a new start in a conference where he can shine.

Higgins and/or Hansen are pieces that will never have more value than they do right now and whatever team the Canucks are dancing with, these guys should fetch a fair return.

Whatever way Vancouver chooses, they aren’t winning the Cup this year. Jim Benning has proven he’ll make a trade and the Canucks should be ready for Jensen, Shinkaruk and Grenier to name a few, to head up the change. Bo Horvat was given his opportunity and he is just starting to show why he is ready and will thrive in the NHL.

New York has an issue right now with their star goalie Henrik Lundqvist out with an injury. Depending on how long he is out, they need a solid replacement rental. Again, Lack is the only real option that makes sense as I believe as you all do, Markstrom is the future. I’ve heard this before.

What the Canucks would ask for in return would be a prospect or a pick. Anthony Duclair would be fun! He had quite the World Juniors but I’m guessing Sather noticed too.

This year’s draft is pretty stocked so a pick wouldn’t hurt. Lack could definitely help NYR if that move was made.

There are so many possibilities right now as the Canucks can really set themselves up for future success if they sacrifice the present. We are getting closer to that big deadline day frenzy and this year I believe it’s going to be hectic.

Sorry for the “Lack” of 50 shades references, Im going to watch star NHL prospect Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets this evening. But you don’t really care…do you?

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10

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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