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Category: Vancouver-Canucks

Pre-Season Stars In Vancouver May Not Matter

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

With Game 1 or the NHL’s regular season quickly approaching, there are still a number of compelling stories with the Vancouver Canucks.

The star of the pre-season has been Troy Stecher, the 22-year-old blue-liner from Richmond who is threatening to crack the opening-day lineup. After Stecher, it might be NHL veterans Tuomo Ruutu and Jack Skille, who’ve both battled their way into the opening-night conversation. Then there’s Joe LaBate, the unheralded rookie who’s made an impression with his robust play.

They’re all fine stories. They’ve all captured the imagination of the Canucks’ more attentive fans. And their play has been a positive development for the organization.

But here’s something else they have in common. They’re all virtually irrelevant to the upcoming Canucks season.

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Expectations Are Low For The Vancouver Canucks

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

Much has changed since you last saw the Vancouver Canucks.

There’s hope Chris Tanev can be a key piece of the power play. The coach just may have flipped his view on Bo Horvat.

And the word “playoffs” is back in vogue at Rogers Arena. It’s nowhere else, by the way. Not when tied to the Canucks.

Mostly because five months ago, this was the third worst team in the NHL.

There’s just not a lot of confidence that additions like Erik Gudbranson and Loui Eriksson are enough to significantly move them up in the standings.

In fact, Team USA won more games at the World Cup of Hockey than there are analysts picking Vancouver to make it to the post-season.

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Would The Sedin Twins Actually Play For Another NHL Team?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

There are two years left on their current contracts, and the Sedins are steadfast that there is one more contract in their future. You can’t trade one of them — they have trade protection in their matching deals — and with a combined cap hit of $14 million, Canucks GM Jim Benning probably couldn’t find a taker for the aging Sedins as a package.

We would be entirely shocked if the Sedins’ contracts demands caused the Canucks to let them walk away two seasons from now, but they turn 36 on Sept. 26. Down the road, it is conceivable that two expensive 38-year-olds might not work for the Canucks.

“If they don’t want us there, then we’ve got to make a decision,” Henrik reasoned. “We’re not going to retire because we don’t want to play for another team.”

We know that every piece of equipment in their dressing room stalls is identical, and that their on-ice communication is unique to hockey -- an extraordinary, wordless language compared by some to dolphin speak. But when you talk first with Daniel, then to Henrik, a few more fraternal nuances become clear.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+sedin, henrik+sedin

Would Evander Kane Be A Fit In Vancouver?

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

Make a play for Kane, and many believe he can’t and won’t change his off-ice demeanour. At one point Monday, a TSN 1040 poll showed 56 per cent of 700 respondents didn’t want the Canucks to make a trade pitch. Then again, make a play and others will point to an exciting 30-goal winger with a palatable contract of two more years at a $5.2-million-US annual cap hit ($6 million in actual salary). The Canucks have also had past interest in Kane.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning wants to add a proven scorer with grit to take the pressure off Sven Baertschi. With $3.4 million in cap space, there are safer and cheaper routes to travel in free agency, but the Canucks need to take a hard look at travelling the bold road. Trying to win and getting younger at the same time is a conundrum. For everything Kane has done wrong off the ice, he could be the right answer on it. He could help fill those empty Rogers Arena seats, and help propel the Canucks back to the playoffs.

Kane is better than the 20 goals he had in 65 games last season, in 21 minutes of average ice time, because he was shut down with an upper-body injury in March. He has imposing speed and his 6-2, 204-pound frame allows him to drive wide around defenders and unleash a good shot. If he develops a better net presence, and a better two-way game because he was a minus-14, another 30-goal season like the one he had in 2011-12 with Winnipeg should be attainable.

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  Tags: evander+kane

Are The Vancouver Canucks A Playoff Team?

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

Barring a game-changing trade, the Canucks’ 2016-17 roster looks pretty set.

Questions, of course, abound. Will Anton Rodin’s skills translate in the NHL? Is Erik Gudbranson an improvement on Dan Hamhuis? Is Bo Horvat really best-suited in a defensive role after leading the team in scoring in last season’s second half? Is there enough playing time on defence for three players most slotted for a third pairing, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin and Philip Larsen? And where exactly is Alex Burrows going to fit in?

But there is one question that trumps all. At least for the Canucks’ front office, and the sub-section of fans who can’t stomach a rebuilding team. Is this Canucks roster good enough to make the playoffs?

Management sure hopes so. Moves like trading futures for Gudbranson and signing Loui Eriksson, the best 31-year-old winger available, to a six-year deal, are transactions you make in an attempt to get back to the post-season sooner rather than later. But when last season ended, Vancouver had a long way to go.

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Alex Burrows Is Still A Member Of The Vancouver Canucks

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

“I’m still around.”

In those three words, Alex Burrows tried to summarize and justify his wild rollercoaster ride the last four months when it appeared his days as a long-serving Vancouver Canucks winger were numbered. The first hint came in early March when he was told by the coaching staff that younger players were a roster priority. But he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline and wasn’t bought out last month.

And when Canucks general manager Jim Benning was asked if the 35-year-old National Hockey League survivor would be part of any off-season transactions, his reaction was quick, concise and somewhat confusing: “No,” he said. “He’s going to be part of our group.”

“It means a lot,” said Burrows, who has a no-trade clause in his contract. “It means I can still be an asset to the team and still help the young guys and be good leader in the room.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+burrows

A Three-Year Contract Extension For Jacob Markstrom In Vancouver

Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a three-year contract extension. The contract will carry an annual average value of $3.67 million and will run through the end of the 2019.20 season.

“Jacob is a talented, competitive goaltender with size and a proven ability to make big saves at crucial moments in a game,” said Jim Benning. “He set career highs in several statistical categories last season and two years ago led the Comets to their first Calder Cup Final. He’s motivated and wants to help his team win. We’re excited to have Jacob competing in a Canucks uniform for years to come.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacob+markstrom

Thinking Like A Coach

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

Few NHL teams in recent memory will put the copycat coaching theory to the test like the 2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins. Mike Sullivan’s group won the Stanley Cup with a north-south approach that used speed and stretch passes and generated oodles of shot attempts, catering to “analytics hockey,” and it thus may have broken a barrier. More and more teams may try to win with the possession game, and that will be drilled into new coaching recruits from the ground up.

“As a coach you have to be careful,” said Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, “because it’s one thing to run a system with one team, and then all of a sudden you have different personnel, and the system won’t work with different personnel. You always have to adjust what you’re doing to your personnel. Just because it’s worked for one team it doesn’t mean that system will work for you.”

It’s an interesting debate, and it’s one aspiring coaches might strike up with Desjardins at the 2016 TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference. He’ll appear there as a speaker when the conference comes to Toronto July 15 and 16. San Jose Sharks assistant Steve Spott and hockey journalism maven Bob McKenzie, former Hockey News editor in chief, will join Desjardins along with many other prominent names in the industry....

“Most coaches have always had an analytical mind,” Desjardins said. “When I was in Japan, I had what I called ‘success factors.’ It was, ‘If we do these things, we’ll win.’ And that was kind of an early sign of analytics, where you find something, and there’s a correlation between that and your success. The key is what you measure and then accurately measuring it.”

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  Tags: willie+desjardins

The Vancouver Canucks Should Have Kept Dan Hamhuis

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

The Canucks’ lack of interest in re-signing Hamhuis ranks as one of the more peculiar decisions of the Trevor Linden-Jim Benning era. But they were spot on when they traded Kevin Bieksa, so maybe they’ll be proven right again. Until then, here are the five reasons the Canucks will regret letting Hamhuis go:

1. He’s still really good.

This is all you need to know about Hamhuis: He was the Canucks’ second-best defenceman. The team averaged 4.25 more shot attempts per hour when he was on the ice at even strength compared with when he wasn’t. No Vancouver defenceman averaged more.

Oh, and with Hamhuis, the Canucks’ opponents averaged 3.89 fewer shot attempts per hour. That was good enough to finish second in shot suppression to Chris Tanev. This was good.

The team went from an average defensive team when he first got hurt in early December to one of the worst in the league.

There is no getting around this fact. The Canucks’ defence right now would be better with Hamhuis signed.

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  Tags: dan+hamhuis

Canucks Shooting For The Playoffs

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

The Canucks signed one of the top free agents this weekend and he is about to turn 31.

They recently traded a young, promising, goal-scoring prospect along with a really good draft pick for a youngish veteran defenceman.

They’ve recoiled at the idea of selling high on 30-year-old Jannik Hansen, who is coming off a career year he likely won’t repeat.

Then there is 35-year-old goaltender Ryan Miller — earning an average of $6 million per season — who, at best, will be in a job share this season. They’re keeping him too.

The Canucks are going for it. The playoffs, that is.

Any confusion which lingered after the front office addressed the media following the season with mixed messages has been cleared up this off-season. It’s one the Canucks have spent making the types of moves most attribute to contenders.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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