Chatting With Harman Dayal About The Vancouver Canucks

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Harman Dayal of The Athletic Vancouver  (@HarmanDayal2

Dayal primarily writes about the Vancouver Canucks and uses quite a bit of microstats to help drive home his point.

In the interview with Dayal, we talked about various topics including who might be great off-season additions for the Canucks, the Canucks farm system, some of their RFAs and who the Canucks should look to trade. 

So, let’s jump in and see what Dayal had to say about the Canucks.

The Interview

Josh: When you look back on last season, what surprised you the most about the Vancouver Canucks? 
 
Harman: I think the outcome of the season as far as the Canucks missing out on the playoffs was rather predictable, but the way that the youth carried the team was really impressive. For one, for as good as Elias Pettersson was in Sweden the year prior, I don’t think anyone would have expected him to emerge as a near point a game centre. It’s a massive boon for the rebuild moving forward for Pettersson to be the face of the franchise type number one centre that every contending team has. Bo Horvat had arguably the toughest deployment of any centre in the league and continued the development of his two-way game while posting a career high 61 points. Brock Boeser fought through injuries, but was a consistent scorer when in the lineup.
 
Josh: In one of your recent posts, Project Petey, Part 1: Impact players the Canucks can add right now by leveraging their cap space, you discussed potential targets for an offer-sheet. You discussed how Andre Burakovsky would be a good target. Do you have any concern about Burakovsky’s performance last season in Washington?
 
Harman: I don’t because Burakovsky’s production was suppressed in large part because he was marginalized in the bottom-six. He averaged just over 11 minutes per night and saw no power-play time. Looking at his 5-on-5 scoring rate per hour, he still produced at a clear cut second-line rate. I have no doubt that he’d rebound under better circumstances.
 
Josh: Do you believe that Jason Zucker would be a good fit in Vancouver? If you do/you don’t, can you please explain why.
 
Harman: Jason Zucker would be a great fit. He’s scored 20+ goals in three consecutive seasons and would likely be a 50+ point player if his tough luck from last year regresses and he plays with better centres than he did with the Wild. Moreover, Zucker is a phenomenal two-way play-driver whose value goes way beyond the points that he puts up. Zucker would legitimately elevate the play of someone like Pettersson or Horvat whilst also bringing the speed and transition ability that the Canucks so desperately lack.
 
Josh: Should the Canucks sign Josh Leivo or do you believe the Canucks might try to trade his RFA rights?
 
Harman: I think they should re-sign Leivo. Leivo might just be one of the most underrated Canucks because his value goes far beyond his offensive production. What gets forgotten is that when he’s on the ice he’s an excellent possession driver with his team usually doing much better at controlling shots, scoring chances and goals compared to when he’s on the bench.
 
Josh: Alexander Edler is a UFA this offseason. Should Jim Benning look to re-sign Edler? If yes, what do you believe his next contract might look like?
 
Harman: Jim Benning has no option but to pursue an extension for Alex Edler because there are no other viable options on the blue line to take the mantle as the team’s top left-handed defenceman. The stipulation in the negotiations will certainly be about expansion draft protection as I can’t imagine Vancouver would be thrilled about the idea of having to protect a 34 or 35-year-old Edler for the Seattle expansion.
 
Josh: Based on what you’ve seen from Thatcher Demko and Michael DiPietro, who do you believe will be the future number one goaltender in Vancouver?
 
Harman: Goalies really are voodoo and they’re quite tough to project. Demko likely has the better shot because he’s graduated to the NHL level and thus closer to the end point. Ultimately, goalie development is fickle and so only time will tell. It’s definitely good that they’ve got another top prospect in DiPietro.
 
Josh: How much do you believe that Brock Boeser will able to net in his next contract?
 
Harman: Boeser will probably be able to net something in the $7.4-7.6 million range on a six year deal based on past contract comparable.
 
Josh: Which Canucks prospect are you most looking forward to seeing in the NHL down the road?
 
Harman: I don’t know if I still get to call him a prospect because he had his cup of coffee this past season, but I’m stoked to see what Quinn Hughes will be able to deliver next year. He’s an electrifying skater who adds a much needed offensive punch to Vancouver’s blueline. I don’t think the city’s frankly ever seen a defenceman as exciting or with as high a ceiling as Hughes.
 
Josh: Recently, you wrote the post, Why the Canucks should sell high on Ben Hutton. Who do you believe would be a good trade partner for Hutton?
 
Harman: It’s tough to speculate on who’d be interested in Hutton as an outsider, but I figure you’ll be trying to target teams searching for left-handed defencemen. The Jets are one team who’s desperate for help on the left side. Ottawa and Boston have been previously rumoured to be interested in Hutton and if the Bruins move Torey Krug or if Zdeno Chara retires I could see them kicking tires.
 
Josh: Do you believe that the Canucks will look to lure Artemi Panarin to town? A line comprised of Panarin-Pettersson-Boeser could be the most dominant line in the NHL. Should Jim Benning look at making this happen?
 
Harman: I can’t speak for the Canucks interests, but I personally believe that they should be all over Panarin. I see him as a top-25 forward in the league and at 27 he’s definitely one of the younger UFAs in recent times. Anytime you can add a player of that calibre without giving up anything but cap space you have to try and take advantage.

Thank You

Thank you Harman for taking the time to answer my questions on the Vancouver Canucks. Look forward to interviewing you again in the future.

Puck77

NHL Mock Draft Part Two: Selections 6-10

Part one is done, which looked at my prediction of the top-five National Hockey League entry draft selections, which means we are going through picks 6-10 for part two!

 

In this part I predict a trade, but other than that it is a straightforward prediction. For a quick refresher, Kappo Kakko went first, Jack Hughes went second, Cole Caufield at third, Alex Turcotte went fourth and Bowen Byram went fifth. 

 

Sixth Overall Pick: Detroit Red Wings trade back!

A trade kicks off part two, and it is a small one, but with a big impact. The Red Wings, I believe, are eyeing a prospect that should be available at 10th overall, owned by the Vancouver Canucks, and so they swap places, with Vancouver also eating Danny DeKeyser’s contract. Canucks fans have always complained about getting screwed over by the draft lottery, and so the team decides it’s time to move up, at the cost of DeKeyser’s hefty contract. Trade is Detroit’s 2019 sixth overall pick to Vancouver in exchange for the 10th overall pick, and Danny DeKeyser. So, here’s the pick:

 

Sixth Overall Pick: Vancouver Canucks select Trevor Zegras, Center/Both Wings, USNTDP

Zegras is like Alex Turcotte and Bowen Byram (who were selected in part one) in which he could arguably be the third overall pick. But with the Caufield selection at three, and Turcotte and Byram ultimately falling, Zegras is left available for the taking. (Why Detroit wouldn’t take him here will be explained when pick 10 rolls around).

For Vancouver, they have been dying to select a versatile, sure-fire future elite forward on draft day for a while. I know what you’re thinking, what about Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat? Pettersson was selected back in 2016, and needed a season before making the jump and, ultimately, becoming their best player. Boeser was everything but a sure-fire deal, being taken at 23rd overall in 2015. Horvat was drafted in 2013, at the tail end of the top 10 (ninth overall) and also wasn’t exactly a sure thing.

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So, it’s been a few years and the Canucks want more, and Zegras is probably the best forward (aside from Pettersson) that they have selected in the draft, and whether he ends up more vital to the team than Horvat and Boeser will be found out within a few years.

Zegras piled up 14 goals and 26 assists (40 points) in 27 games with the USNTDP juniors. The fact that he didn’t play up with Turcotte and Jack Hughes tells me he has about 1-2 years before making the jump to the NHL, but his playmaking ability is outstanding. He proved that when he played for the US National U-18 team for 60 games, where he put up 26 goals and 61 assists (87 points).

Next season, like with Caufield and Turcotte, he is committed to joining an NCAA club, and for him it’s Boston University. BU is well known in the hockey community thanks to Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle, just to name a few, so I feel that this is a big step in the right direction for Zegras.

Next Year’s Role: NCAA minutes, likely won’t join the NHL club at any point next season, unless he dominates with BU.

 

Seventh Overall Pick: Buffalo Sabres select Dylan Cozens, Center/Right Wing, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL

This is an excellent selection for the Sabres. But then again, if any of the aforementioned players were available here, and the Sabres picked them, it would be excellent. That’s just how strong the top-10 prospects are in this class.

Playing in the WHL last season with Lethbridge, Cozens put up 34 goals and 50 assists (84 points) in 68 games, along with four goals and four assists (eight points) in seven playoff games. Cozens is leading the next wave of power forwards, that is currently led by Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.

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Cozens is well balanced, with a good shot and good vision. But his defensive abilities, paired with his well-balanced scoring touch, prompted LastWordOnHockey’s Ben Kerr to believe he could be a first line center with a chance at winning the Selke Trophy. That’s big praise from a guy who does several scouting reports on all different players every year. Cozens could make the jump to the NHL off of a strong camp, but the chances are he needs another year or so to advance to the next level. 

Next Year’s Role: WHL time with Lethbridge, likely won’t join the club late in the season, but it is possible.

 

Eighth Overall Pick: Edmonton Oilers select Matthew Boldy, Left Wing, USNTDP


Why Matthew Boldy here? I know it’s a little off the board, and he is not the best player available. But that by no means says that he is not a good player. Boldy has good size (6’2”, 192 pounds), and he had a very good season with the USNTDP Juniors club. He racked up 17 goals and 26 assists (43 points) in 28 games, adding another 33 goals and 48 assists (81 points) in 64 games with the US National U-18 team. He might not be the best skater in the draft by any means, but as fellow Puck77 contributor Tony Ferrari points out, with some adjustment in his stride as well as a better first step and in general acceleration, he could wind up being one of the best players in the draft.

Now, when we head on over to Edmonton’s roster, we see they have a strong center core, both young and experienced (Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jujhar Khaira in the NHL, Ryan McLeod, Cooper Marody in their pool) as well as a solid bunch of right wingers with promise (Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi in NHL, Kailer Yamamoto, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Mafin in pool), as well as defenseman (Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse in NHL, Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov, Ethan Bear in pool).

As for left wings, they have Milan Lucic and Tobias Rieder on the NHL club, and Tyler Benson in their pool. That is a very weak core, relative to their other positions (outside of goaltending), and while some players may go and new players will come in within the time that Boldy will be in the juniors/minors developing, they should still get a headstart in building up that very weak left wing.

Boldy is a safer pick than some guys who may have higher upside, but regardless, he fills a pretty large need the Oilers have. This is not that much of a reach either, it’s just that he was in the shadows of the earlier USNTDP picks and is, in my opinion, overlooked by the general fan. I believe this would be a great selection for Edmonton. He has committed to Boston College (NCAA) next season, where he will not be in anyone’s shadow.

Next Year’s Role: NCAA minutes, no chance he joins the Oilers late in season barring major injuries and/or he dominates in Boston College.

 

9th Overall Pick: Anaheim selects Kirby Dach, Center, Saskatoon Blades, WHL

Dach going to the Ducks is a match made in heaven. We all know the frustrating in-your-face, kind of dirty style of play that the Ducks utilize. While Dach isn’t necessarily dirty, he is a big guy, standing at 6’4, 198 pounds, and can very easily use that frame to fit the bill of a Duck.

The Ducks core is aging, and their prospect pool is very weak. They go best player available at this selection, and it really couldn’t be better for Anaheim. His size isn’t the only thing that is enticing.

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Dach had 25 goals and 48 assists (73 points) in 62 games played with Saskatoon, as well as five goals and three assists (eight points) in 10 postseason games played. He did not play any international games this past season with Canada, which is why he “dropped” to ninth (he ranges anywhere from third to 13th in this class) but he is still an intriguing prospect.

The knock on Dach is three things: 1) His acceleration is not good enough to translate to the NHL at this moment and he needs to really improve in that area to be a successful player at the next level. 2) He tends to keep his head down when skating with the puck, and despite his size, has gotten destroyed by hits on several occasions. 3) Finally, a lot of experts and fellow contributors on the site say that he does not have a very high ceiling (potential), but does have a very good skill set, or in other words, a high floor.

Next Year’s Role: Sticks with Saskatoon in the WHL all season, does not join NHL club at the end of Juniors.

 

10th Overall Pick: Detroit Red Wings (via Vancouver) selects Victor Soderstrom, Right-Handed Defenseman, Brynas IF, SHL

First off, right handed defenseman are a rare breed, and whenever you have a chance to grab one through the draft in the first round (especially at tenth overall), you take that guy.

In Detroit’s case, they had the sixth overall pick, but I would consider it a reach if they took Soderstrom there, because of all the talented forwards. You’re probably thinking, why would Detroit, a rebuilding team, trade back when they had talented forwards to choose from? Because they have young NHL centers in Dylan Larkin and Michael Rasmussen, as well as young NHL wingers in Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Bertuzzi. Not to mention, forward prospects in Taro Hirose, Filip Zadina, and Joseph Veleno.

How about young NHL defenseman, that are right handed? Madison Bowey in the NHL, and Filip Hronek as a prospect. Most of their defensive prospects are left handed, including their top D prospects in Jared McIsaac and Dennis Cholowski. So Detroit does not necessarily need forwards, and they do need a right handed defenseman, who happens to be (arguably) the second best D-man in the draft class, while also off-loading a bad contract.

Soderstrom started the season with Brynas IF’s junior team in the U-20 division, where he played 14 games, with one goal and seven assists (eight points). When he made the jump to the SHL, which is Sweden’s version of the NHL, he produced just four goals and three assists (seven points) in 44 games, with a not-so-good -11 +/-. But, the fact that he was constantly relied on and kept at the highest level as an 18-year-old against men says something.

Playing for Sweden at the World Junior Championships, he recorded one assist in four games, which was also underwhelming production. But what makes him arguably the best defenseman available after Byram is taken, is his well-rounded skill set. He is a very good skater, and has an ability to get shots on net through traffic consistently. He is good transitionally, with the IQ to know when to join the rush and attack, and when to stick back.

Despite being 5’11, 182 pounds, he does a good job using his body to win battles in front of the net or in the corners. His floor, offensively, is really low at the moment, but he is playing against men and not kids in his age group, so that sets him back a step. But he has the skating and shooting ability to give him a base in which NHL coaches can build upon once he makes the jump.

As he bulks up, and gets stronger, the more battles he will win along the boards and in front of the net defensively, and playing against men actually boosts his ceiling for his defensive game. If he’s finding success this early with his size in the SHL (and he bulks up), he could be a very reliable defenseman in his own end.

Next Year’s Role: Likely stays in Sweden. I don’t see him coming to North America to play AHL hockey, or CHL hockey. It’s best he stays in Europe one more year against tough competition to build up on his defensive game.

 

All stats via Elite Prospects

Rankings inspired by other contributors on Puck77

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks: The Case For A Jason Zucker Trade

Should the Vancouver Canucks pursue a trade for Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker?

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A few days ago, our very own Spencer Teixeira wrote a post on where might Jason Zucker be dealt. Teixeira suggested that the Colorado Avalanche, the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils would be great fits. But, the Canucks might be a good fit as well.

The Canucks desperately need depth on the wings. Their current wingers aren’t a great and are on the weaker end of the spectrum. The Canucks best winger is Brock Boeser, who spent the majority of his time last season with Elias Pettersson. Aside from Boeser, the Canucks have many top 9 wingers including Tanner Pearson, Loui Eriksson, Jake Virtanen and Josh Leivo. While Pearson, Eriksson, Virtanen and Leivo have value to the Canucks organization, most of them are playing in roles that aren’t the greatest fit. So, it’s time for Canucks general manager to arm his team with additional help on the wing.

Zucker would fit in quite well in Vancouver. While fans saw a decline in Zucker’s offensive productivity last season (21 goals and 21 assists in 81 games), he could still have a bounce back season and be a valuable asset for the Canucks franchise.

Let’s Look At The Charts

Plus, if you look at Jason Zucker’s wins above replacement (WAR) per minute in the chart below (created by Sean Tierney, data from EvolvingWild), you’ll see that had Zucker been on the Canucks last season, he would have had the third higher WAR per minute. Jacob Markstrom and Pettersson had slightly better WAR per minute rate than Zucker.

Primary Shot Contributions

In addition, the chart (created by Sean Tierney, data from EvolvingWild and Corey Sznajder) below shows primary shot contributions for the Minnesota Wild last season. By looking at this chart, you’ll see that Zucker not only had the most shots per 60 of the Wild team, but he also had a lot of primary assists per 60 (A1/60) as well. Aside from Eric Fehr and Mikael Granlund, Zucker had the third highest A1/60 for a winger in Minnesota. 

Primary Shot Contributions vs GAR

Last but not least, Zucker was one of the most effective Wild forwards in primary shot contributions versus goals above replacement (GAR). In the chart below (created by Sean Tierney, data from Evolving Wild and Corey Sznajder), you’ll see that Zucker had the best primary shot contribution numbers on the Wild and had a relative high GAR. 

Zucker Will Be Costly, But Rewarding

While it’s clear that Zucker would be a great fit for the Canucks, he’s not going to be cheap.

The Minnesota Wild aren’t going to let themselves get ripped off. They have the same data that I’m showing you. So, why would they let Benning and the Canucks front office take advantage of them?

Instead, Benning would have to most likely part ways with a high draft pick, a AHL prospect and a NHL ready asset. While you might consider that to be a decent amount to trade for Zucker, I wouldn’t. If you want offensive production, you have to pay for offensive production. Plus, just imagine Zucker playing alongside Pettersson and Boeser. That line could be lethal and would create one of the most dangerous offensive lines in the Western Conference.

stats from NHL.com, hockey-reference.com, EvolvingWild, Corey Sznajder

visuals from Sean Tierney

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers: Thinking Outside the Box

The Edmonton Oilers have a big problem with Ryan Spooner.

That’s not news. The sky is blue, Connor McDavid is the most skilled player in the NHL, and you can still find me in the stands cheering on this team. Some things, unfortunately so in some cases, never change.

My weird love/hate relationship with this team aside the Edmonton Oilers find themselves trapped by one of Peter Chiarelli’s final moves (man does typing that feel good!). However now is the time to start correcting those mistakes and I think there’s an outside solution to the Spooner problem.

Buried in the AHL

It was announced on January 23, 2019 that both Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan Spooner were assigned to the AHL:

The former being there makes sense in the short term, as Yamamoto can play a few games in Bakersfield over the all star break or in the long-term. Personally I feel like Yamamoto should stay the rest of the season on the AHL so he can be a key cog in Bakersfield’s playoff push/run. The latter on the other hand is a different story. Spooner has failed so spectacularly in Edmonton that they no longer feel he is anything but a detriment to the team.

My first ever post on ThePuck77 was on Ryan Spooner and in it I stated that Edmonton needed to find a lineup spot for Spooner that works for him. I won’t go into too much detail on him here but my main points were:

  1. Ryan Spooner is not an offensive driver
  2. Ryan Spooner was, at his most successful, a good 3rd piece of a top 6 line.
  3. He benefited greatly from being on top power-play units
  4. He is a really ineffective possession player.

If you want more in depth analysis on Spooner check out my first piece on him here.

Someone Similar?

You would think this situation would be rare in the NHL. Not many teams employ 3+ million dollar men in the AHL…

But there is another…

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Yes that’s right I’m talking about Sam “8 points in one game” Gagner.

Gagner has been a very nice addition to the Toronto Marlies roster since being sent down. In 36 games thus far Gagner has 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points. He definitely isn’t letting his demotion slow him down any. Even when he has played in the NHL he was not that poor. In 7 NHL games Gagner had 3 points, 1 goal, 2 assists. He has also been very good in terms of possession at the NHL level, posting a surprising 59.9% Corsi rating, and a 15.2 Corsi relative for rating. This, along with his 59.9% Fenwick for rating and 17.4 Fenwick relative for rating, paint a picture of a player who has more to give at the NHL level.

Gagner does a lot of things well that mesh with the Oilers needs right now. While he does have some warts to his game in regards to defending Edmonton at current needs a guy who is an offensive weapon. Gagner is a power-play, overtime, and shootout specialist. Put in the right situation; i.e on the left side of a Connor McDavid/Leon Draisaitl power-play, should result in increased success for Edmonton’s power-play.

Power-play Prowess

For example in 2016/17 he had 50 points, 18 of which came on the power-play. In 2017/2018, in his first year with Canucks (way lower teammate quality), he had 31 points, 11 of which were on the power-play.

In 2016/17 Gagner played on a unit with Zach Werenski, Nick Foglino, Cam Atkinson, and Alex Wennberg. on a much less successful Vancouver power-play Gagner played with a mix of Alex Edler, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, both Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Sven Baertschi, and Thomas Vanek. Vancouver struggled to find the right mix of players and eventually Gagner got lost in the shuffle. He ended up struggling to the point where he was demoted to the AHL at the beginning of this season.

Wherever Gagner goes he always finds a way on to that team’s power-play because that is where he excels. He is an extremely gifted offensive player who has a good shot and is extremely creative with the puck. The thing that he is the best at on the power-play is MOVING. The Edmonton Oilers power-play right now has stagnated. This is mainly due to the same issue that plagued them last year. They are too slow. they do not move the puck around enough to properly open up seams and lanes in an opposing team’s penalty kill. This kills them and they need a player like Gagner that can keep the puck moving on the power-play.

Is This Trade Realistic?

This is always the huge question with the hypothetical articles. It’s why I don’t enjoy making these speculation articles in general, do it wrong and you immediately can ruin your credibility as a writer. 

However in this case I think there’s a realistic possibility a trade like this could work. Right now at left-wing the Canucks employ Nikolai Goldobin, Sven Baertschi, Josh Leivo, Loui Eriksson, and Antoine Roussel. Goldobin has 23 points, Eriksson has 20, Leivo has 7, Baertschi has 13, and Roussel has 19. It’s safe to say they could use a boost. Edmonton currently employs Alex Chiasson, Milan Lucic, Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira, Tobias Reider, and I could go on at wing. Outside of Chiasson none of those players have 20 points, outside of Khaira, none have 15 points. Edmonton needs wingers bad.

So a swap of two players that both make almost exactly the same amount of money, that could potentially re-spark their careers makes a lot of sense. Gagner makes 50k more than Spooner at 3.15 million over the same amount of term. At current neither of Spooner or Gagner are going to see the light of day back in the NHL with their respective teams. It makes sense, at least to me to try to swap the two players in the hopes that they could re-find their offense elsewhere.

Wrap Up

The main reason this probably won’t happen is Vancouver and Edmonton are teams both currently in a dog fight for the last wildcard spot. While it would be an interesting trade as it would create a potential double rental situation if both Spooner and Gagner bounce back, the risk involved nixes that trade.

What do you think? is this trade realistic for both sides? leave a comment or find us on twitter at @ThePuck77 and me personally at @chayzdj.

All stats used in this article came from HockeyReference.com, Capfriendly.com, and HockeyDB.com.

 

 

Vancouver Canucks

Bright Future for Vancouver Canucks’ Fans

The Vancouver Canucks have an outstanding group of talented youth and their future is bright.

When “he” burst onto the scene, fans in Vancouver had little faith in the drafting and talent acquisition of Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and the rest of the Management’s ability to create a winning team. After all they had seen the very best era of Canucks hockey, only to see the very same team disintegrate before their very eyes. And Canucks fans aren’t stupid. Sure they can be a little childish and entitled (this is the Left, sorry West Coast after all) but they do know hockey. Don’t fool yourself and think otherwise.

The Brock Star (Sorry Boston Red Sox Fans)

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Then “he” came along. Don’t get me wrong, Elias Pettersson is a generational talent, but it all started with Brock Boeser. Drafted at 23rd overall in 2015, during his NCAA career, he could score. It translated to the NHL in 2017-18. Most know the stories of his character, how upstanding he is, and if you haven’t look at who he went to prom after she asked. This is as solid a person you will ever meet.

Brock Boeser represented the beginning of the new era in Vancouver. His performance at the all-star game last season was legendary and it is unfortunate his freak injury prevented him from finishing the season. While the Calder was Mathew Barzal’s to lose, it would’ve been interesting race had Boeser hit his projected 42 goals.

Benning Working The Phones

But, Benning and team made a trade at the 2017 deadline, that transformed the belief and expectation from the fans in the team. Boeser was in the system, and the fans eagerly awaited his arrival. Olli Juolevi, while criticized greatly by some, could still be a genuine NHL defenseman.

But that all changed when they acquired Jonathan Dahlen and a pick from Ottawa for Alexandre Burrows. Vancouver’s farm system has something cooking. Legit NHL prospect talent. Potential scoring that you need. A promising core to build around.

Here Comes Gretzky 2.0?

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Then they drafted Pettersson, who admittedly, I was not mad at the pick, I just knew more about Cody Glass. Every fan in Vancouver is glad they were wrong, as it seemed like most Canucks fans wanted the team to select Glass.

I watched Pettersson in person at the prospects summer game in 2017. I was convinced at that game, right there and then, he was generational. (I have the documentation to prove it, workmates holding me accountable to my words). His performance in the Swedish Elite League made us all salivate. Juolevi was improving, Lind was drafted, etc…

Canucks Fans

The rest is, as we say, history. But it is worth going over again, because the Canucks system, while littered with potential, still needs something the fans know. They saw this in 1999 with the drafting of the Sedins (Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin) and the maturity of the West Coast Express. The fans know the Canucks have to have these prospects and talent pay out. The fans know this. Canucks fans cab now watch with bated breath.

And this article is more about the fans who watch this team. Other teams fans like to think the Canucks fans know nothing about hockey. The apathy is there because the fans aren’t dumb. This is why this article is so appropriate.

Canucks fans have a lot to look forward to. Their front office has done an impeccable job in landing top talent including Boeser, Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and the list goes on and on.

Vancouver fans are being repaid for their loyalty. They’re being repaid for their faith in players. And when Trevor Linden wanted to take the old school, play Pettersson in the minors for 2 years approach, the NHL had changed. The fans knew this. Kids from the age of 18 to 22 were having significant impacts on their teams. They were taking mediocre teams and making them contenders. Now, the fans in Vancouver can see this happening on the west coast.

The fans aren’t dumb.

stats from Hockey-Reference

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals