Pass it to Bulis

Pass it to Bulis is Harrison Mooney and Daniel Wagner. The official Canucks blog of the Vancouver Courier, PITB is also the only blog that knows who needs the puck.
  • How likely is a breakout season for Jake Virtanen?

    The Canucks’ revitalization is being led by their first-round picks. Their core four of Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes are all from the first round and are providing Canucks fans with a lot of hope for the future. There are a couple names missing from that group, however: fellow first-round picks Jake Virtanen and Olli Juolevi.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 19, 2019

  • You should watch every goal Vasili Podkolzin scored last season

    Vasili Podkolzin didn’t post eye-popping numbers before he was drafted 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks, but the goals he scored certainly were. If you want to watch all 28 of them, you’re in the right place. I bear no responsibility for any popped eyes that may occur.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 18, 2019

  • Canucks might finally have the depth on defence to deal with injuries next season

    It’s been an annual refrain for Jim Benning: this year, when the injuries inevitably come, the Canucks will have the depth to handle them. And yet, at the end of every season, there’s another annual refrain: the Canucks had too many injuries and not enough depth. “A big part of it, and I don’t like using it as an excuse, is injuries,” said general manager Jim Benning when asked about the Canucks struggles to finish the season. “Take the top two defencemen off any team and it’s tough, because it pushes other guys into minutes and situations they wouldn’t normally play.”

    Daniel WagnerJuly 18, 2019

  • What can Elias Pettersson do for an encore?

    Elias Pettersson had a fantastic rookie season that blew expectations out of the water, but it arguably could have gone a lot better. Sure, Pettersson led all NHL rookies in scoring by a wide margin. Sure, he broke Pavel Bure’s and Ivan Hlinka’s franchise record for points from a Canucks rookie. Sure, he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year. But he also suffered a couple injuries that limited him to just 71 games and saw his scoring slow down in the back half of the season, with just 2 goals in his last 23 games. There was a distinct sense that Pettersson was capable of so much more, that his record-breaking rookie season was barely scratching the surface. But how much more can Canucks fans expect from their underbarn? How high should expectations be for Pettersson in his sophomore season?

    Daniel WagnerJuly 16, 2019

  • The tallest and smallest players in Canucks history

    When Tyler Myers steps on the ice for the first time in a Vancouver Canucks jersey, he’ll set a new franchise record. At 6’8”, Myers will be the tallest player in Canucks history. At least, according to official NHL records.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 15, 2019

  • What can the Canucks do with Loui Eriksson?

    When Loui Eriksson signed his six-year, $36 million contract, it came with certain expectations. Fans and management alike were hoping Eriksson would find the same chemistry with the Sedin twins . . .

    Daniel WagnerJuly 12, 2019

  • Canucks hire blogger and prospect writer Ryan Biech as video analyst

    Other NHL teams have raided the Canucks’ backyard over the years, hiring multiple former writers from the analytics-focussed hockey blog CanucksArmy. Josh Weissbock, Cam Lawrence, and Rhys Jessop were hired by the Florida Panthers, as was Thomas Drance, albeit in a public relations, rather than analytics role. Cam Charron and Rob Pettapiece now work for the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Dimitri Filipovic briefly worked for an undisclosed NHL team, before joining first Sportsnet and now ESPN and Yahoo as a hockey analyst and podcaster. All the while, fans questioned why the Canucks were letting such talented people get sniped from under their noses. That changed Friday, when the Canucks hired CanucksArmy Managing Editor Ryan Biech. He’ll join their analytics department, with the official title of Video Analyst, Hockey Analytics.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 12, 2019

  • Can one of the Canucks’ wealth of middle-six wingers emerge as a first-line forward?

    Though three of their young players came painfully close, the Canucks didn’t have a single 30-goal scorer last season. Elias Pettersson led the team with 28 goals and surely would have reached 30 if not for injuries. The same is true for Brock Boeser, who tallied 26 goals in 69 games. Bo Horvat stayed healthy — he was the only Canuck that played in all 82 games last season — and he scored a career-high 27 goals. While Pettersson and Boeser will surely reach 30 goals at some point, and possibly Horvat too, it’s somewhat troubling that the Canucks only have one player on their roster that has actually scored 30 goals in a season before: Loui Eriksson.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 11, 2019

  • The Canucks won't run out of goaltenders this season

    Michael DiPietro’s first NHL start was one of the oddest stories of last season. Thanks to a series of unfortunate events that would make Lemony Snicket jealous, the 19-year-old DiPietro made his NHL debut against the San Jose Sharks, the highest-scoring team in the Western Conference. DiPietro is a solid prospect, proving himself with another great season in the OHL and a lights-out performance in the World Juniors for Team Canada, where he posted a .952 save percentage and a tournament-leading 1.23 goals against average. He wasn’t, however, ready for the NHL.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 11, 2019

  • Micheal Ferland signs four-year contract with Canucks, another move could be coming

    The Canucks overhauled their defence on the first day of free agency, signing Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn. Canucks general manager Jim Benning made it clear, however, that he wished they could have done more to address the team’s needs at forward. After the frenzy of July 1st, however, there was a lull as the secondary market opened up: free agents that weren’t as hotly pursued, but could still be difference makers. On Wednesday, the Canucks added some grit and goals by signing Micheal Ferland, the team’s one-time nemesis, to a four-year contract with an average annual value of $3.5 million.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 10, 2019

  • RFAs Reid Boucher, Brogan Rafferty, and Josh Teves all re-sign with the Canucks

    While Canucks fans wait for good news on the Brock Boeser front, Jim Benning got three other restricted free agents signed to new contracts. It was inevitable that Reid Boucher, Brogan Rafferty, and Josh Teves re-signed. Only Boucher had arbitration rights and he didn’t have much of a case for a big raise considering he played just one NHL game last season. All three players are on two-way contracts, with Rafferty and Teves signed to two-year deals and Boucher signed to a one-year deal.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 9, 2019

  • The Canucks' Francis Perron has already exceeded expectations for a seventh-round pick

    With Vancouver hosting the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, there was speculation that the Canucks might make a splash. On Day 2, they did exactly that, trading for J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Perhaps it wasn’t a different splash than people were expecting, but it still made waves. It wasn’t, however, the only trade the Canucks made at the draft. Later in the day, they made a minor move, trading Tom Pyatt and a sixth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for Francis Perron and a seventh-round pick.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 8, 2019

  • Better know a Canucks 2019 development camp invitee: Adrian Elefalk

    Nils Hoglander is getting justifiable hype for the Vancouver Canucks. The 40th-overall pick is shifty and elusive with the puck, while also playing an in-your-face game without the puck. One of Hoglander’s most common companions at development camp was an invitee. Adrian Elefalk was the only other player from Sweden participating in on-ice sessions at camp and is an intriguing prospect in his own right.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 5, 2019

  • Josh Leivo re-signs with a great cap hit, but Canucks may regret one-year term

    Josh Leivo’s not leaving. The Canucks have bid farewell to several other restricted free agents — Ben Hutton, Markus Granlund, Derrick Pouliot, Brendan Gaunce, and Yan-Pavel Laplante — but are bringing back Leivo on a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 5, 2019

  • What can the Canucks expect from the hard-working Tyler Motte next season?

    Tyler Motte won a lot of fans last season thanks to his blue-collar, lunch-bucket style of play. He worked hard right from the first game of the preseason, making an impact when the rest of the team struggled. That included Sam Gagner, who was waived to make room for Motte on the roster. That hard work kept on throughout the season, where Motte played in a thankless role and neither complained nor took a shift off. That earned him a new contract in free agency, as Jim Benning and the Canucks re-signed him to a one-year deal worth $975,000.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 4, 2019

  • The story has come full circle for Jordie Benn in return to Vancouver

    Jordie Benn’s first NHL training camp was with the Vancouver Canucks, over a decade ago. Benn grew up across the Georgia Strait from Vancouver, cutting his teeth with teams like the Peninsula Panthers, Victoria Salsa, and Victoria Grizzlies, where he was teammates with his younger brother, Jamie. While Jamie got drafted by the Dallas Stars and quickly rocketed to stardom, Jordie took the road less traveled.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 4, 2019

  • Where do Oscar Fantenberg, Tyler Graovac, and Zane McIntyre fit on the Canucks’ depth chart?

    Jim Benning’s priority on July 1st was simple: upgrade the blue line. “Going into free agency, our goal was to improve our defence and I feel real strongly that we were able to do that,” he said, while sitting alongside the biggest player, in both size and name recognition, he brought in that day: Tyler Myers. Along with Myers, Benning brought in Jordie Benn.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 3, 2019

  • Seven things that are almost as tall as Tyler Myers

    Vancouver made a (long expected) splash on July 1st, securing the services of towering defenceman Tyler Myers for $30 million over five seasons. While there was a mixed response to the signing, there's one thing no one can deny: Tyler Myers is very, very tall. How tall? Myers is a staggering 6’8”. If you find that difficult to picture, don’t feel bad. The human mind is simply not capable of visualizing such vast figures; it’s like trying to imagine a tesseract. To help you visualize just how tall Myers really is, we’ve assembled a list of things that are not quite as tall as his, but do have the virtue of being easier to picture because of that fact.

    Will GrahamJuly 2, 2019

  • According to Jim Benning, signing Tyler Myers was about “more than the analytics”

    When it became clear that the Canucks were pursuing Tyler Myers in free agency, it kicked off a spirited debate in the Canucks’ fanbase. The debate was partially fueled by rumours from national media members like Elliotte Friedman and Ren Lavoie, suggesting that Myers contract would come with a $7-8 million cap hit, but also fueled by the ongoing battle between old-school hockey men and analytics. According to one side, Myers is a top-four defenceman, well worth paying $6 million per year. According to the other side, Myers is a bottom-pairing defenceman, whose five-year contract will quickly become an anchor.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 1, 2019

  • Canucks get good value (and a great beard) with Jordie Benn signing

    When the Canucks chose not to give Ben Hutton a qualifying offer, it opened up a hole on the left side of their defence. While the left side is where the Canucks have the bulk of their prospect depth on defence, including top-ten picks Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi, it seemed unlikely that they would want to enter the season with two rookies on the blue line. Even if Juolevi didn’t start the season with the Canucks, that would have meant someone like Ashton Sautner, Guillaume Brisebois, or Josh Teves in the opening night lineup; that’s not the end of the world, but not ideal either. That’s what made it important for the Canucks to add a little veteran depth on the left side. If they weren’t going to re-sign Hutton — which was still a possibility even without a qualifying offer — then they needed someone else. They got that someone else in Jordie Benn.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 1, 2019

  • Canucks sign Tyler Myers in free agency, making a small improvement for a big price

    The Canucks’ big free agent signing is exactly that: big. As was widely rumoured/reported heading into July 1st, Tyler Myers is coming to Vancouver on the wings of a five-year, $30 million contract. The second-tallest player in the NHL, at a towering 6’8”, is now tied with Loui Eriksson and Alex Edler for the highest cap hit on the Canucks, at least until Brock Boeser re-signs.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 1, 2019

  • The Canucks made the right kind of gamble picking Arvid Costmar in the 7th round

    The vast majority of 7th-round picks never play in the NHL. At the draft, they’re the longest of long shots. The Canucks, however, have had a couple success stories out of the seventh round: Dixon Ward and Doug Lidster. The Canucks can only hope for similar success of out their seventh-round picks this year, like Arvid Costmar, the third-last pick of the draft at 215th overall, who has significant potential, even if scouts are divided on his upside.

    Daniel WagnerJune 28, 2019

  • Jack Malone could be another draft steal out of the USHL for the Canucks

    The Canucks have gotten good value out of the USHL in recent years at the draft and there's a lot to suggest that they did so again when they picked Jack Malone 180th overall in the sixth round.

    Daniel WagnerJune 27, 2019

  • With J.T. Miller trade, Jim Benning has made a risky bet on making the playoffs

    If you only look at the number of draft picks the Canucks made at last weekend’s NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, they look like a rebuilding team. The Canucks’ biggest move at the draft, however, said something else entirely.

    Daniel WagnerJune 27, 2019

  • Canucks get the cap recapture bill as Roberto Luongo retires

    Roberto Luongo has announced his retirement and it’s going to cost the Canucks. The cap recapture penalty clause in the CBA, affectionately nicknamed “The Luongo Rule,” will now come into effect, hitting the Canucks with an approximately $3 million cap hit for the next three years.

    Daniel WagnerJune 26, 2019

  • Canucks’ 7th-round pick, Aidan McDonough, had to cut vacation short when he got drafted

    The Canucks have made a habit of dipping into the USHL at the NHL Entry Draft under Jim Benning and have had a lot of success doing so. There’s Brock Boeser, of course, but also Adam Gaudette, Will Lockwood, and Tyler Madden, all of whom thrived in college hockey. Boeser is a key part of the Canucks’ core, Gaudette looks like a solid NHLer, and Lockwood and Madden are two of the Canucks’ top prospects at forward. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they turned to the USHL again in 2019, taking two more forwards late in the draft: Jack Malone and Aidan McDonough. The latter of those two has a fun Canucks connection: he’s childhood friends with now-fellow Canucks prospect Jack Rathbone.

    Daniel WagnerJune 26, 2019

  • Better know a Canucks 2019 development camp invitee: Darien Craighead

    The Canucks’ 2019 prospect development camp kicks off with open practices on Tuesday at UBC. The bulk of the camp roster is made up of Canucks draft picks and signings, but eight are undrafted and unsigned invitees. Often, a few invitees will come from the Canucks’ backyard: players that are from British Columbia and would be training near Vancouver for the summer. This year, that includes NCAA forward Darien Craighead, who grew up just a stone's throw from Vancouver.

    Daniel WagnerJune 25, 2019

  • Better know a Canucks 2019 development camp invitee: Ethan Frisch

    The Canucks invited three unsigned and undrafted defencemen to camp, two of them 18 year olds that just got passed over at the draft, and one 20 year old out of the NCAA. If one of those three defencemen eventually signs with the Canucks, that might make up for the lack of defencemen picked in the draft. It worked out pretty well with Troy Stecher, a Canucks camp invitee in 2014, who eventually signed with the Canucks in 2016 and has developed into a solid second-pairing defenceman.

    Daniel WagnerJune 24, 2019

  • Better know a Canucks 2019 development camp invitee: Keegan Stevenson

    Stevenson is a two-way forward that made a big jump up Central Scouting’s list of North American skaters to end the year, finishing 95th on their final rankings after being ranked 148th in their mid-term rankings. It’s easy to understand why: Stevenson caught fire to end the season for the Guelph Storm, scoring 7 goals and 16 points in his final 15 games of the regular season before a dislocated shoulder took him out of action for a month.

    Daniel WagnerJune 24, 2019

  • The Canucks bet on upside with 6th-round pick Karel Plasek

    At the 2019 draft, the Canucks selected three players in their second year of draft eligibility: Carson Focht, Aidan McDonough, and, in the sixth round, Karel Plasek. “I knew here was a chance,” said Plasek to the Prerovsky Denik. “I had indications, I sat with a couple of teams and knew it might be Vancouver.” Generally speaking, there’s a reason why players don’t get selected during their first year of draft eligibility. Some are late bloomers, who didn’t produce in their draft year, while others weren’t playing in well-scouted leagues, so didn’t get much attention. Weirdly, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Karel Plasek.

    Daniel WagnerJune 23, 2019

  • The Canucks' 6th-round pick, Arturs Silovs, is a project goaltender with tremendous upside

    While the Canucks didn’t pick any defencemen at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, it wasn’t all forwards for the host city. With their first pick of the sixth round, they grabbed a goaltender that made a name for himself in international play: Arturs Silovs. Well, half a name. His first name is still associated with Latvian legend Arturs Irbe. Silovs caught the Canucks’ eye at the World Under-18 Championship, where he stood on his head for an overmatched Latvian squad.

    Daniel WagnerJune 23, 2019

  • Canucks take 19-year-old Carson Focht in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

    The jokes were immediate: the Canucks got Focht. Regrettably, the last name of the Canucks’ fifth-round pick, Carson Focht, is apparently pronounced more like the word “folk” with a “T” on the end, which is a true shame for fans of puns and expletives. Focht was a surprising pick for the Canucks, as he was largely unranked heading into the draft. The only major service that had him on their radar was Future Considerations, which had him ranked 284th. Considering there are only 217 total picks in the draft, that suggests even they didn’t anticipate he would get picked.

    Daniel WagnerJune 22, 2019

  • Canucks were defenceless at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

    The Canucks picked three defencemen in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, starting with their first round pick, Quinn Hughes. They added Jett Woo in the second round and Toni Utunen in the fifth. It added some much needed top-end talent and depth to their prospect pool on defence, but they arguably need more. That’s why it was surprising to see the Canucks make nine selections at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and not pick a single defenceman.

    Daniel WagnerJune 22, 2019

  • Canucks select Ethan Keppen in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

    The Canucks didn’t have a pick in the third round after moving it to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the J.T. Miller trade, so there was a gap between big cheers at Rogers Arena. They delayed things a little longer in the fourth round, trading the 102nd pick to the Buffalo Sabres for the 122nd and 175th picks. Finally, the Canucks were back on the clock for the 122nd pick and got a rousing cheer from the Canucks fans in the crowd. But that cheer was dwarfed by the one that erupted from one specific section when the Canucks selected Ethan Keppen.

    Daniel WagnerJune 22, 2019

  • Canucks grab a great name and great player in Nils Hoglander at 40th overall

    In the first round, the Canucks drafted a power forward that goes through opponents to get to the net. In the second, they got what looks like his polar opposite, a slippery and elusive winger with superb skill, but below-average size: Nils Hoglander. Here’s the thing: Hoglander plays a gritty, in-your-face game that belies his smaller size, elite skating, and soft hands. He doesn’t back down from anyone.

    Daniel WagnerJune 22, 2019

  • Canucks trade for J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning

    The Canucks were quiet on day one of the draft, doing nothing more than making their pick at tenth overall, selecting Vasili Podkolzin. They weren’t as quiet on day two, swinging a significant deal to acquire a top-six forward for next season. They acquired the 26-year-old J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional 2020 or 2021 first-round pick, a 2019 third-round pick, and goaltender Marek Mazanec.

    Daniel WagnerJune 22, 2019

  • PITB's 2019 NHL Entry Draft Day 2 Open Thread Extravaganza!

    The second day of the NHL Entry Draft just flies by. Where teams take their time in the first round, with a whole entourage of staff, kids, dogs, mascots, and celebrity impersonators taking the stage to announce their pick, the picks in the following rounds are made rapid-fire from each team's respective draft tables.

    Daniel WagnerJune 22, 2019

  • If Vasili Podkolzin wasn’t available at tenth, the Canucks were considering trading down

    The first day of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft was surprisingly quiet. Despite plenty of hype heading into the draft about potential trades, only one actually happened: the Arizona Coyotes moved their 45th overall pick to the Philadelphia Flyers to trade up from 14th to 11th, in order to draft Swedish defenceman Victor Soderstrom. There was plenty of buzz and rumbling around the Canucks, who were rumoured to be involved in all sorts of trades: trading up, trading down, and moving all around. Instead, they stood pat with their pick at tenth, selecting Russian power forward Vasili Podkolzin.

    Daniel WagnerJune 21, 2019

  • Alex Burrows is heading to the Canucks’ Ring of Honour, which is good and correct

    The Canucks weren’t content with the draft standing on its own as a big event in Vancouver, adding a couple big announcements before the first round kicked off on Friday. One was the month of the Sedins jersey retirement, revealing that particular ceremony won’t take place until February, but would be a weeklong celebration. The other was a little less expected. While reports indicated that the Canucks would be adding another name to their Ring of Honour, it wasn’t clear who it would be.

    Daniel WagnerJune 21, 2019

  • The Canucks select Vasili Podkolzin 10th overall at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

    There was a strong chance Vasili Podkolzin, once in the discussion to go third overall after Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, would fall to the Canucks at tenth overall. The question was, would the Canucks take him if he was available? All eyes were locked on the stage as Jim Benning and co. took the stage at Rogers Arena. They sent Stan Smyl to the microphone to make the pick, and he said the appropriate thank yous to the fans before making the pick.

    Daniel WagnerJune 21, 2019

  • PITB’s 2019 NHL Entry Draft Open Thread Extravaganza!

    The day is finally here. Fans have streamed into Rogers Arena, eager to see who the Canucks will pick at tenth overall, if they pick anyone at all. There’s buzz that the Canucks might “make a big splash,” rumbles that they might trade the pick, and a low-level ringing in my ears that might just be permanent hearing damage from the volume of the live music at last night’s NHL media reception.

    Daniel WagnerJune 21, 2019

  • 5 reaches the Canucks could make at 10th overall (that might not be reaches at all)

    Sometimes, going off the board is the right thing to do. A few years down the line, we might look back at the 2019 draft and wonder how some superstar didn’t get picked in the top ten. Which players ranked lower in the draft might be the best player available for the Canucks at 10th overall?

    Daniel WagnerJune 21, 2019

  • Jim Benning knows more blue line reconstruction is needed after re-signing Alex Edler

    The 2017-18 Canucks had a major malfunction on the backend. That made it surprising when the Canucks entered the 2018-19 season with the exact same defence corps. The Canucks backend did see some turnover as the season progressed, though not as often as Canucks fans saw turnovers from the backend.

    Daniel WagnerJune 20, 2019

  • 5 things the Canucks can do with the 10th overall pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

    What will Jim Benning do with the tenth overall pick? He has several options, and I don’t just mean the prospects that will be available. With the pressure on to get back to the playoffs, Benning could go multiple different directions.

    Daniel WagnerJune 20, 2019

  • Canucks re-sign Alex Edler to a two-year contract, every rumour was wrong

    Just a few days ago, it looked like the contract negotiations between Alex Edler and the Canucks were dead in the water. Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal, after reporting that negotiations had gone off the rails, said that it looked like Edler was heading to free agency to test the open waters. The apparent sticking point was term: Edler wanted longer, the Canucks wanted shorter. Not long after, suddenly the negotiations were back on and the two sides were closing in on a deal. Elliotte Friedman said that it appeared to be a three-year deal with a modified no-movement clause. Other reports suggested a $5 to $5.5 million average annual value. Still more reports circulated that it wasn’t a three-year deal; it was a four-year deal. Sometimes it’s best to just let the rumours buzz around without trying to swat them out of the air. As it turned out, none of the rumours were entirely accurate, as Edler re-signed with the Canucks on a two-year, $12 million contract, with an average annual value of $6 million.

    Daniel WagnerJune 20, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson wins the Calder Trophy because he was the best rookie in the NHL last season

    Last year, Elias Pettersson raked in awards like a cheating poker player rakes in chips. After leading both the SHL regular season and playoffs in scoring, Pettersson was named the SHL’s Rookie of the Year, Forward of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Playoff MVP. He was also named the Swedish Forward of the Year and added some international hardware, with a silver medal at the World Junior Championships and a gold medal at the World Championships. This year, the awards have been a little harder to come by. There was one award, however, that he wasn’t going to be denied: the Calder Trophy.

    Daniel WagnerJune 19, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Trevor Zegras at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    One thing clearly lacking in the Canucks roster is playmaking talent. Elias Pettersson is fantastic, Brock Boeser is a decent passer, and Bo Horvat has improved significantly in that area, but after that playmakers get a bit more sparse. The Canucks need more creativity in their lineup and the most creative playmaker that could be available at tenth overall is Trevor Zegras.

    Daniel WagnerJune 19, 2019

  • The 20 best names available in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

    The Canucks have drafted extremely well over the last couple years. No, I’m not talking about drafting future superstars or quality NHL depth; I’m talking about drafting players with great names. At the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks selected one of the best names available in the fourth round when they picked defenceman Jack Rathbone. In 2018, they grabbed another defenceman with one of the best names in the draft when they got Jett Woo in the second round. That’s two elite names in back-to-back drafts. Add in some solid depth names like Petrus Palmu and Artem Manukyan, and the Canucks have clearly made out like bandits at the draft, name-wise.

    Daniel WagnerJune 18, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Philip Broberg at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    Broberg is one of the most divisive prospects in the 2019 draft. Some rankings have him as a clear top-ten talent, the obvious second-best defenceman in the draft behind the Vancouver Giants’ Bowen Byram. Others barely have him in the first round.

    Daniel WagnerJune 17, 2019

  • [REPORT] Alexander Edler and Canucks won’t get a deal done, Edler heading to free agency

    It looks like the best defenceman in Canucks history won’t be a Canuck next season. According to a report from Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal, Alex Edler’s career with the Canucks has come to a close. Dhaliwal previously reported that negotiations between Edler and the Canucks had “gone off the rails” and it seems they’ve come to a crashing halt.

    Daniel WagnerJune 17, 2019

  • PITB on the Radio: The Toronto Raptors and what the NHL can learn from the NBA

    For the first time, I was asked to appear on Sportsnet 650 in studio, joining Scott Rintoul on the Friday Round Table. While Andrew Walker couldn't make it, the ever-capable Brendan Batchelor, voice of the Vancouver Canucks, stepped in. The fourth member of the Round Table was Jeff Hamilton of the Winnipeg Free Press, the beat reporter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in town for Saturday's CFL season opener between the Bombers and the BC Lions.

    Daniel WagnerJune 15, 2019

  • Bizarre choices abound in Canucks 50th anniversary jersey reveal

    On Thursday, the Canucks announced four new jerseys for the 50th anniversary season: new home and away jerseys, a new “vintage” third jersey, and a retro 90’s flying skate jersey. The latter jersey was fully expected: fans voted on which retro jersey they wanted to see way back in August, even if the vote itself seemed like a setup designed to land on the flying skate. The Canucks made a series of oddball choices in introducing the new jerseys, choices that have made the announcement of the jerseys land with a thud in the Canucks fanbase.

    Daniel WagnerJune 13, 2019

  • Dave Pratt appears to be moving from radio waves to digital realm with the “Prattcast”

    For nearly two decades, Dave Pratt was a mainstay on 1040 on the AM radio dial. In March, however, cutbacks by Bell Media sent Pratt packing, as his morning show was replaced by Mike Halford and Jason Brough. It seems, however, that Pratt isn’t done with being a part of the Vancouver media landscape. Some cryptic clues and a new website suggest he’s moving to the digital realm with a new podcast: the Prattcast.

    Daniel WagnerJune 13, 2019

  • In a contract year, Jim Benning still has to focus on the future

    Most sports fans are familiar with the Contract Year Phenomenon. It’s the name for when a player performs at a high level in the final year of their contract, presumably because they have the added motivation of earning a new deal to go with the everyday motivation of winning a championship. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule — plenty of players perform at a similar level every season, while others fluctuate significantly from year to year — but there is some statistical evidence of this phenomenon at work in the NHL. For some anecdotal evidence, the Canucks can just look to their biggest problem contract: Loui Eriksson’s.

    Daniel WagnerJune 13, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Matthew Boldy at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    Prior to 2015, the Canucks didn’t have much luck with drafting out of the USHL. Their first draft pick out of the USHL came in the disastrous 2002 draft, which didn’t find a single NHL player. Their USHL pick, Brett Skinner, was the most successful, eventually playing 11 games with the New York Islanders before bouncing around Europe and the AHL for the rest of his career. Over the last four years, however, the Canucks have been a lot more successful when it comes to the USHL.

    Daniel WagnerJune 12, 2019

  • 10 ways the Canucks could get bigger for next season

    The Canucks need a little bit of everything this off-season. More speed, more skill, more top-six wingers, more top-four defencemen, and more prospects. They also, according to GM Jim Benning, need more size. “We’d like to get bigger and more physical and stronger,” said Benning on Monday. “That’s an element that I thought we were missing at times last year and we’ll see if we can try to address that somehow.’ This quote has upset some Canucks fans, because Benning has said similar things many times in the past. In fact, it was used as part of the justification for signing Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, and Tim Schaller last off-season. If the Canucks still need more size, is that an indictment of Benning’s past attempts?

    Daniel WagnerJune 12, 2019

  • How sweet should a sweetener be for the Canucks to swap Eriksson for Lucic?

    Apparently nobody ruled out Milan Lucic playing for the Canucks. What started as rumblings has turned into a full-fledged rumour: the Canucks are reportedly interested in Lucic, a once-great player on a now-terrible contract. The rumours involve the Canucks moving their own struggling veteran on an awful contract, Loui Eriksson, back to Edmonton. There was even idle speculation about the possibility of the Flames getting involved: a three-way trade with Lucic going to Vancouver, Eriksson to Calgary, and James Neal going to Edmonton.

    Daniel WagnerJune 10, 2019

  • Which top-ranked prospects could potentially fall to the Canucks at tenth overall?

    In 2018, no one expected Quinn Hughes to slide to the Canucks at seventh overall, but higher-than-expected picks of Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Barett Hayton allowed him to fall. The Canucks couldn’t have been happier. Could something similar happen again?

    Daniel WagnerJune 6, 2019

  • Canucks need to find impact defencemen outside the first round of the draft

    One year ago, the Washington Capitals scored their way to the Stanley Cup, putting to lie the old adage that “defence wins championships.” They weren’t the worst team defensively, but their biggest strength was obvious: potent offence from elite scoring talent like Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Nicklas Backstrom. This year, however, it’s back to the blueline for the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues, the two teams in the Stanley Cup Final. Sure, the Bruins and Blues can score — the Bruins dropped seven goals on the Blues in Game 3 — but the strength of both teams lies in their defence.

    Daniel WagnerJune 6, 2019

  • Canucks reportedly interested in Jason Zucker, but at what cost?

    When it comes to their wings, the Canucks aren’t quite flight ready. The Canucks have two very good top-six centres in Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat, but they lack wingers to play with them. Aside from Brock Boeser, there are more questions than answers on the wings. Can Sven Baertschi stay healthy? Was Tanner Pearson’s late season run with the Canucks a mirage or a sign of things to come? Can Jake Virtanen or Josh Leivo take a big step forward? Will things click into place for Nikolay Goldobin? With that much uncertainty and little help expected from their prospect pool next season, the Canucks could look elsewhere for a top-six forward, like free agency or the trade market. In fact, there’s on particular forward that has popped up in rumours: Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker.

    Daniel WagnerJune 5, 2019

  • Acquiring Nikita Zaitsev isn’t what anyone meant by weaponizing cap space

    The Vancouver Canucks have plenty of salary cap space. Oodles of it. Even with the Canucks needing to re-sign significant restricted free agents like Brock Boeser and Ben Hutton, and wanting to re-sign unrestricted free agent Alex Edler, they’ll still have room under the cap to add a new contract or two, whether in free agency or by trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are sitting a little less pretty.

    Daniel WagnerJune 5, 2019

  • [REPORT] Alex Edler contract negotiations have “gone off the rails”

    There are certain things you want to keep on rails. Trains, for example. Rollercoasters. A whole bunch of web apps. Classic arcade shooter The House of the Dead. When something goes “off the rails,” it’s never a good thing. It’s never something that wasn’t supposed to be on rails in the first place, like a Jeep or a birthday cake. It’s always something that was on the right path, but has gone seriously awry. That brings us to Alex Edler.

    Daniel WagnerJune 4, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Alex Newhook at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    There is some incredible talent coming out of the US National Team Development Program in the draft this year, including expected first-overall pick Jack Hughes and potential top-10 picks like Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras, Matthew Boldy, and Cole Caufield. There’s just one region that rivals the US when it comes to the top of this year’s draft: Western Canada. Judd Brackett specifically spoke to that in the Canucks’ scouting meeting video: “This is a strong draft class. By region, I think certainly out here in the west of Canada it’s a strong year, big pool in the US too." Those west Canadian players include some of the top talent in the WHL, but also the BCHL’s leading scorer, Alex Newhook.

    Daniel WagnerJune 3, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Peyton Krebs at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    The Canucks maybe have left their “Compete is in our nature” slogan in the past, but they still love hard-working, gritty, competitive players. Some of the best players in the world make the game look effortless, while others seem to be constantly working their tails off. Both have their virtues, but visible hard work and competitiveness does have a certain appeal. When you get that hard work and skill combined together, you tend to end up with a fan-favourite. That brings us to Peyton Krebs.

    Daniel WagnerMay 31, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Victor Soderstrom at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    The Canucks gave fans a glimpse behind the scenes heading into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, showing some clips of their scouting meetings and interviews with Director of Amateur Scouting Judd Brackett and Assistant GM John Weisbrod. In that video, Brackett and Weisbrod repeatedly emphasized that their philosophy at the draft is to take the best player available, as opposed to drafting for need. At the same time, Brackett suggested that in an ideal world, the best player available would directly fit a significant need.

    Daniel WagnerMay 30, 2019

  • It’s likely that more Canadians will watch the NBA Finals than the Stanley Cup Final

    The Stanley Cup Final matchup between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues is drawing in viewers in the United States, with around 5.15 million viewers taking in Game 1. In Canada, however, more and more sports fans are tuning out on the NHL and tuning into the NBA. With their extraordinary playoff run, the Toronto Raptors keep breaking ratings records in Canada.

    Daniel WagnerMay 30, 2019

  • No prospect games for Canucks as they announce development and training camps

    The Canucks are done playing games with their prospects. Literally. Canucks fans found out months ago that there would be no Young Stars Classic in Penticton this year. The popular prospect tournament had just two teams participate last year, as the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers chose to stay in Alberta and pit their prospects against each other. So, last year’s “tournament” wasn’t really a tournament at all: just two games between prospects for the Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, as well as a two-game series between CIS teams the UBC Thunderbirds and Alberta Golden Bears. Now it seems that the cancellation of the Young Stars Classic, which generated an estimated $2 million per year for the city of Penticton, goes a little further: the Canucks prospect won’t be playing any games against other NHL teams in September.

    Daniel WagnerMay 29, 2019

  • Draft scouting meeting video reveals Canucks had Quinn Hughes ranked third overall in 2018

    The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is less than a month away and the Canucks have some crucial decisions to make. The Canucks need to finalize their draft list, hammering down exactly who they think will have the best career out of the legions of teenagers eligible for the draft. That means more than just figuring out which player they’ll pick 10th overall in the first round, but nitpicking the finer details of players available in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds. As they’ve done in the past, the Canucks released a video of their pre-draft scouting meetings, giving fans a little glimpse behind the scenes.

    Daniel WagnerMay 29, 2019

  • Should the Canucks draft Cole Caufield at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?

    The Canucks need goals. Elias Pettersson burst out of the gate in his rookie season with 10 goals in 10 games, showing the potential to be an elite goalscorer. Brock Boeser, if he can stay healthy for a full season, should be a perennial 30-40 goal threat. Bo Horvat has stepped up his game and could potentially score 30 in the future. Unfortunately, after those three, the Canucks don’t have much. Clearly, the Canucks need some more scoring punch in their pool and might be able to find it with their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Who better to take 10th-overall then arguably the best goalscorer in the draft?

    Daniel WagnerMay 28, 2019

  • Canada falls to far-fetched Finland in gold-medal game, Stecher snags silver

    Finland’s starting goaltender played part of the season in the ECHL. Their leading scorer is 5’7” and their top goalscorer is 18 years old. They had just two players that spent any time in the NHL last season and each of them played half their season in the AHL. Neither one has ever scored an NHL goal. This Finnish team wasn’t supposed to finish second in Group A in the preliminary round. They weren’t supposed to knock off Sweden in the quarterfinals. They definitely weren’t supposed to shut out the powerhouse Russian offence in the semifinals. And they really, really, really weren’t supposed to win the gold medal in the final game against Canada.

    Daniel WagnerMay 26, 2019

  • Troy Stecher sets up opening goal, heads to gold medal game with Team Canada

    It has been a wild and wooly World Championship tournament for Team Canada. Canada suffered a surprise upset to a Finnish team devoid of NHL players that looks less like an upset now that Finland has made the gold medal game. They pulled out a win with a last-second goal in a wildly entertaining 6-5 game against Slovakia. Then it took another last-second goal in to push their quarterfinal against Switzerland to overtime where they won to make the semifinal. Now Canada is heading to the gold medal game against Finland after a big win over Czechia. Along for the ride is the Canucks’ Troy Stecher, but he’s definitely not just a passenger.

    Daniel WagnerMay 25, 2019

  • Scouring the upcoming free agent class for some potential UFA bargains

    The Canucks have gotten themselves into trouble in free agency over the last few years. Loui Eriksson is the big one, a $6 million albatross that still has three more years left on his contract as he’s sunk to the fourth line, but with Eriksson are more minor missteps like Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller, and Matt Bartkowski. This isn’t unusual: GMs around the NHL make their biggest mistakes in the free agent frenzy, frequently overpaying players and landing themselves in salary cap trouble. The Oilers certainly regret signing Milan Lucic and the Flames can’t be happy that James Neal is signed for four more years. Yet, there are bargains to be found in free agency. It’s just sometimes difficult to see who those bargains are going to be. One way, would be to use a contract projection model and see which projected contracts don’t fit a player’s real value.

    Daniel WagnerMay 24, 2019

  • NHL’s officiating issues don’t end with the big blown calls in the playoffs

    When all goes well for the NHL, the referees and the calls they make recede into the background. This is particularly true in the playoffs, when the adage, “Let the players play” comes into full effect. In the playoffs, the NHL rulebook, like the pirate’s code in Pirates of the Caribbean, is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Unfortunately for the NHL, the officiating in the playoffs has taken centre stage thanks to a series of controversial calls.

    Daniel WagnerMay 24, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson scores a beauty, but Sweden falls to Finland in overtime thriller

    Finland wasn’t supposed to be one of the top teams at the World Hockey Championship this year. They didn’t have a single full-time NHLer on their roster, with stars like Mikko Rantanen, Aleksander Barkov, Sebastian Aho, Patrik Laine, and Teuvo Teravainen missing the tournament due to an injury, a long playoff run, or both. Sweden, on the other hand, was coming off back-to-back gold medals and was a favourite to medal again. While missing some stars, they still had a strong team, led by a deep defence corps anchored by John Klingberg, Mattias Ekholm, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Adam Larsson. At forward, William Nylander set a new record for most points by a Swedish player at the World Championships, while Elias Pettersson, Patric Hornqvist, Alexander Wennberg, Adrian Kempe, Anton Lander, and Elias Lindholm all had great tournaments. In net, Sweden had the legendary Henrik Lundqvist, backed up by Jacob Markstrom, who had a superb season for the Canucks.

    Daniel WagnerMay 23, 2019

  • The Boston Bruins might play “heavy” but they’re not exactly a big team

    It’s that time of year again: the time when teams learn what you need to win in the new NHL based on who got to the Stanley Cup Final. Is it speed and skill? Size and toughness? Veteran savvy? Youthful energy? It’s silly, really. The attributes that lead to a winning season can’t be narrowed down to a couple pithy words and definitely shouldn’t be derived from the small sample size of a few playoff games. It’s always going to be a combination of factors and winning teams usually have a bit of everything: size, speed, skill, experience, youth, and a little luck to hold it all together.

    Daniel WagnerMay 22, 2019

  • All six Canucks qualify for quarterfinals at Worlds, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing

    The preliminary round of the 2019 World Hockey Championship came to a close with a couple marquee matchups featuring Canucks: Canada versus Team USA and Sweden versus Russia. All six Canucks at the tournament were in the lineup in those two games, though one didn’t play — Cory Schneider got the start for Team USA ahead of Thatcher Demko. Troy Stecher and Canada didn’t have any issue dispatching Quinn Hughes and Team USA, but Elias Pettersson, Jacob Markstrom, and Loui Eriksson had all kinds of trouble with Russia.

    Daniel WagnerMay 21, 2019

  • Pettersson gives Latvia death stare, Sweden survives surprise scare

    After an early upset at the hands of the Czech Republic, Sweden has gotten down to business at the 2019 World Hockey Championship. They’ve easily dispatched the lower tier of teams — Italy, Norway, and Austria — then got past Switzerland in a close game over the weekend. Against Latvia, however, Sweden looked vulnerable. They barely beat Latvia to ensure qualification to the quarterfinals.

    Daniel WagnerMay 20, 2019

  • If Jim Benning wants a defenceman in the first round, Canucks should consider trading down

    Was the band They Might Be Giants singing about the Canucks’ top pairing of Alex Edler and Chris Tanev when they said, “You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older”? No. They were singing about the inexorable passing of time in a more general sense. The sentiment, however, still applies. Edler and Tanev are the lone remaining members from the 2010-11 Canucks and time has not been overly kind. Simply put, the Canucks need more defencemen in their prospect pool, particularly a defenceman or two with top-four upside.

    Daniel WagnerMay 17, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson gets fancy at Swedish practice, heads puck into net

    Elias Pettersson has some clever tricks up his sleeve. Sure, he can rip the puck and is a great passer, but Pettersson goes a little further, incorporating all sorts of unique and nasty moves to control the puck in traffic, beat defenders, or just show off. There were his ankle-breaking dekes from his rookie season or his ludicrous back heel against Czechia in Sweden’s opening game of the 2019 World Championship or the insane stick flip trick he pulled off at a Canucks skate. On Friday, he added a soccer move to his repertoire, heading an airborne puck into the net at practice for Team Sweden.

    Daniel WagnerMay 17, 2019

  • Elias Pettersson breaks through against Austria at 2019 World Championship

    Through his first three games at the 2019 World Hockey Championship, Elias Pettersson had been kept relatively quiet. Sure, he had a point in all three games, and flashed some incredible skill in the tournament opener, but when other players are racking up points around you, a point-per-game pace isn’t quite as impressive. The points were sure to come, of course. Pettersson already had 11 shots through three games without one finding the back of the net and there’s nothing like games against the lesser lights of the World Championship to get on a roll, as Loui Eriksson demonstrated against Italy. Sure enough, when Sweden faced Austria, Pettersson finally got off the schneid, scoring his first goal of the tournament and adding a couple assists as part of a 9-1 walloping.

    Daniel WagnerMay 16, 2019

  • Conference finalists in Stanley Cup Playoffs prove you don’t need to win the draft lottery

    Over the last four seasons, the Canucks have been one of the worst teams in the NHL. Only two teams have fewer wins and points over those four seasons and one of them is the Vegas Golden Knights, who have only been in existence for two of those seasons. Despite the Canucks’ struggles, however, the highest they’ve picked in the NHL Entry Draft is fifth overall. In fact, the Canucks haven’t picked higher than fifth since 1999, when they drafted Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The draft lottery hasn’t been kind to the Canucks.

    Daniel WagnerMay 16, 2019

  • What should the Canucks do with Markus Granlund?

    The Canucks have a dozen restricted free agents to deal with this off-season. Reports have already come out that some of those RFAs won’t be getting new contracts — neither Derrick Pouliot nor Brendan Gaunce will be receiving qualifying offers from the Canucks — and it seem possible, if not likely, that Reid Boucher and Yan-Pavel Laplante join them in unrestricted free agency. That still leaves eight RFAs in need of new contracts, with Brock Boeser the biggest of them all. Beyond Boeser, however, the Canucks have some interesting decisions to make on Josh Leivo, Nikolay Goldobin, and Ben Hutton. Then there’s Markus Granlund, who might be the most difficult of the group to evaluate.

    Daniel WagnerMay 15, 2019

  • Canucks unlikely to sign Kristoffer Gunnarsson, as he signs in the Allsvenskan

    “I want to pick Gunnarsson. I think he’s gonna play.” That was Jim Benning at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft before he and the Canucks picked Swedish defenceman Kristoffer Gunnarsson in the fifth round. Unfortunately, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Gunnarsson will ever play in the NHL, particularly for the Canucks. The Canucks have until June 1st to sign Gunnarsson or they’ll lose his rights, but the word was already out that Gunnarsson wasn’t likely to be signed. The news out of Sweden on Wednesday is that Gunnarsson won't be signing with his Swedish Hockey League club, Frolunda, either. Instead, he’ll be moving to the second tier of professional hockey in Sweden, the Allsvenskan.

    Daniel WagnerMay 15, 2019

  • Troy Stecher scores key goal for Team Canada in wild win over Slovakia

    Undrafted, undersized, and underrated: Troy Stecher has had to work for every inch of respect he’s been granted on the ice. Now, with Team Canada at the 2019 World Hockey Championship, Stecher should be getting more respect than ever. Stecher was a force in Canada’s win over host nation Slovakia, playing over 21 minutes, scoring a goal, and effectively defending against a surprisingly strong Slovakian team that had already upset Team USA. It was a wildly entertaining game, complete with comebacks and controversy.

    Daniel WagnerMay 13, 2019

  • Loui Eriksson lights up Italy with three-point game at World Hockey Championship

    The format of the World Hockey Championship, with two groups of eight teams each, means that countries of widely varying skill levels face off against each other at the tournament. Different countries have different goals at a tournament like this. For countries like Canada, Sweden, and Russia, they’re playing to win gold. At the very least, they’re aiming for a medal. On the other hand, countries like Italy, Great Britain, and Austria are just happy to be in the top division of the World Championships.

    Daniel WagnerMay 13, 2019

  • Canucks players on the receiving end of upsets on opening day of 2019 World Championship

    All three teams featuring Canucks prospects were in action on Friday, as the 2019 World Hockey Championship tournament kicked off in Slovakia. Unfortunately, all three teams got off on the wrong foot, losing their opening games in upsets. Troy Stecher and Canada dropped their opener to Finland 3-1. Then Quinn Hughes and Team USA fell to the host team, Slovakia, 4-1. Finally, Elias Pettersson, Loui Eriksson, and Sweden lost to Czechia 5-2. Each of those is a surprising upset, even if FInland, Slovakia, and Czechia are all respectable hockey countries.

    Daniel WagnerMay 10, 2019

  • When do overtime goals get scored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

    If playoff hockey is the best hockey, overtime in playoff hockey is somehow better than the best. The back-and-forth frenetic pace of hockey combined with the threat of a goal ending the action at any moment keeps fans in both ecstacy and agony. Or, as Jon Bois put it, “why watch overtime playoff hockey when you can simply snort cocaine and ride a motorcycle out of a helicopter?”

    Daniel WagnerMay 10, 2019

  • REPORT: Brendan Gaunce heading to free agency with no qualifying offer from the Canucks

    Every time I look at statistics from last season for the Canucks, Brendan Gaunce shows up. Unless I remember to filter by games played or time on ice, there’s Gaunce at the top of the list in points-per-game and goals-per-60-minutes. The forward that was constantly criticized for never producing points did exactly that in his limited opportunities this past season. It wasn’t much — three points in three games — but it was a far cry from the player that once went 94 games without scoring a goal. Alas, it wasn’t enough to get him any more games with the Canucks last season and it looks like he won’t get any more in the future either.

    Daniel WagnerMay 9, 2019

  • The Eastern Conference Finals give Canucks fans a good reason to cheer for the Hurricanes

    There are some Canucks fans that are enlightened souls, content to let the past stay in the past. Old rivalries and past slights are now just water under the bridge. All is forgiven; can’t we all just get along? Every other Canucks fan still hates the Boston Bruins.

    Daniel WagnerMay 9, 2019

  • What’s left of the Canucks roster that Jim Benning inherited?

    The Canucks’ decision to walk away from Derrick Pouliot and let him go to free agency cut off a branch on one particular tree: the remains of the roster that Jim Benning inherited when he became general manager of the Canucks. One of the main defences mounted by Benning’s most ardent supporters is that he walked into a very difficult situation when he was hired as GM. The prospect pool was limited, with only Bo Horvat and Ben Hutton going on to make a significant impact. Most of all, Benning didn’t have much to work with to acquire more picks and prospects; as it’s frequently put, in order to make a trade, you need to have players that other teams want.

    Daniel WagnerMay 8, 2019

  • REPORT: Derrick Pouliot will not receive a qualifying offer from Canucks, will be UFA

    For the second year in a row, the Canucks have chosen not to give restricted free agent Derrick Pouliot a qualifying offer. Last year, it was because they wanted to avoid arbitration that might have granted the puck-moving defenceman a contract richer than they wanted to give him. He ended up signing a one-year deal with the Canucks worth $1.1 million. According to a report from Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks will once again eschew a qualifying offer for Pouliot. This time around, however, it doesn’t appear to be to avoid arbitration but to avoid Pouliot altogether.

    Daniel WagnerMay 7, 2019

  • With next season’s compensation limits, does an offer sheet make sense for the Canucks?

    One of the most intriguing tools in a general manager’s toolbox rarely gets used: the offer sheet. An offer sheet is the only way to sign another team’s restricted free agents and can only be tendered after that player has received and rejected a qualifying offer from their current team. After a player signs an offer sheet, their current team has the option to match the offer or accept a compensation package of picks from the team that signed him. In the last twenty years, there have been just eight offer sheets in the NHL, with all but one of them getting matched by the player’s original team.

    Daniel WagnerMay 6, 2019

  • Jacob Markstrom and Michael DiPietro both got injured on the weekend

    The Canucks had some tough luck with injuries last season, something Jim Benning has been quick to point out despite his stated reluctance to use injuries as an excuse. Just one Canuck played all 82 games this season: Bo Horvat. One other Canuck, however, was on the roster for all 82 games this season and shows that the Canucks’ luck with injuries could have been a lot worse. Jacob Markstrom played 60 games this season, but was actually on the roster for all 82; he didn’t miss a game.

    Daniel WagnerMay 6, 2019

  • Looking back at some of the best Bobs in hockey history

    If you’re not familiar with Jon Bois, it can be tough to explain his appeal. He’s long been my favourite sportswriter, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact that he’s barely recognizable as a traditional sportswriter. He’s written about the best sports gifs, breaking sports video games with absurd scenarios, and speculative sports-adjacent fiction. Bois has a knack for turning the seemingly inane into the profound. His latest video in his Chart Party series, “The Bob Emergency: a study of athletes named Bob,” is no exception. What sounds like an absurd endeavour — exploring the history of athletes named Bob — delves into serious corners of the sporting world, touching on racism in turn-of-the-century boxing, an incredibly unlikely Hall of Fame pitcher, a basketball innovator, and the greatest season by a pitcher in major league history.

    Daniel WagnerMay 3, 2019

  • Loui Eriksson admits he and Travis Green “don’t get on 100 per cent”

    Publically, Travis Green has always been supportive of Loui Eriksson. He has repeatedly defended Eriksson, pointing out the subtle details in his game that make him an effective player, to the point that Jason Botchford coined the nickname “Little Things” for Eriksson. Some of those “little things” were readily apparent — he was one of the best penalty killers in the league last season, for instance — but it was still hard to ignore his lack of offensive production. That’s particularly true when you consider Eriksson’s contract, a six-year, $36 million albatross that made Eriksson the highest paid player on the Canucks last season. Green has said that he doesn’t care about a player’s contract. That’s for management to worry about; all he cares about is the player himself. From what’s been said publically, then, it seems like Green and Eriksson are on the same page. At least, that’s how it seemed until Eriksson spoke to the Swedish media this week.

    Daniel WagnerMay 3, 2019

  • Milan Lucic “wouldn’t rule out” playing for the Canucks; can someone else rule it out please?

    Three years ago, Jim Benning and the Canucks wanted Milan Lucic and they wanted him bad. Lucic, however, responded like Club Kuru and simply said, “I don’t feel the same for you.” Now, however, Lucic’s feelings have changed. During an appearance on Sportsnet 650, Lucic was asked by James Cybulski if he could “see a day where [he] could finish [his] career here in Vancouver.” “That’s definitely something I wouldn’t rule out,” responded Lucic. “It’s obviously something that potentially could happen.”

    Daniel WagnerMay 2, 2019

  • Canucks are on the precipice of a nearly-unprecedented run of rookie success

    In a shocking development, Canucks centre Elias Pettersson has been named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year. Okay, so that’s less “shocking” and more “inevitable.” Pettersson was hoisted up as the surefire winner of the Calder about a month into his rookie year after he scored ten goals in his first ten games. Even after his scoring pace slowed down in the second half of the season, Pettersson was still the odds-on favourite to win the Calder, with The Hockey News even speculating that he could be the first rookie since Teemu Selanne to win the Calder with a clean sweep of first-place votes from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

    Daniel WagnerMay 2, 2019

  • No, Nikolay Goldobin didn’t sign in Russia, but he does have a new agent

    Jannik Hansen retired a champion. After 626 games in the NHL, the vast majority with the Vancouver Canucks, Hansen played one season in the KHL, winning the Gagarin Cup with CSKA Moscow. This weekend, he announced his retirement from professional hockey at the age of 33. What does that have to do with Nikolay Goldobin? After the Canucks traded Hansen for Goldobin at the 2017 trade deadline, it looked like Goldobin might swap spots with Hansen for a second time. It was rumoured that Goldobin would sign with CSKA Moscow, his hometown team, this off-season, bolting the Canucks for the KHL like Nikita Tryamkin before him.

    Daniel WagnerApril 29, 2019

  • REPORT: Troy Stecher will join Team Canada at the 2019 World Hockey Championship

    Team Sweden will have plenty of Canucks content at the 2019 World Hockey Championship, with Elias Pettersson, Jacob Markstrom, and Loui Eriksson all committing to play for their country. So will Team USA, represented by youngsters Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko. For a while, it seemed like Sweden and the US would be the only two countries with Canucks. Finland’s Markus Granlund declined the invitation, Switzerland’s Sven Baertschi is coming off a concussion, and France’s Antoine Roussel is recuperating from knee surgery.

    Daniel WagnerApril 27, 2019

  • Ask it to Bulis: Could Mike Gillis return to the Canucks?

    Ask it to Bulis is a semi-regular feature where I answer your Canucks and Canucks-adjacent questions. We’re in a bit of a lull in the Canucks’ world, as we’re still two months away from the NHL Entry Draft and even the World Hockey Championships is a couple weeks away. That makes this a perfect time to pause and consider some Canucks questions. I put out the call on Twitter and got some captivating queries. Let’s dig in.

    Daniel WagnerApril 26, 2019