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.
  • I Watched This (Other Preseason) Game: Canucks comeback falls just short in Victoria

    The Canucks dressed their “A Squad” for their split-squad game in Victoria: it was clearly a step above the team they sent to Calgary. At the same time, “A Squad” is a bit of a misnomer. While the Canucks team in Victoria had a healthy does of NHL talent, they were still missing a lot of their best players, partly because the Canucks will be playing another preseason game on Tuesday in Vancouver.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 16, 2019

  • I Watched This (Preseason) Game: Virtanen scores two, while Bachman saves the day

    The Canucks kicked off the preseason with a pair of split-squad games with the Calgary Flames. It was pretty clear once the lineups came out for both games that the game in Calgary was getting the Canucks “B Squad.” That’s no slight to the players in Calgary. It’s just that maybe five of the players in the Canucks lineup could be expected to also be in the lineup on opening night.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 16, 2019

  • Canucks beat the buzzer, re-sign Brock Boeser minutes before start of preseason

    Jim Benning saved the best for last. The Canucks’ general manager was active all off-season, making big moves like trading for J.T. Miller and signing Tyler Myers. But none of his deals were the one that Canucks fans wanted to see most: a new contract for star winger Brock Boeser. Fortunately, the stalemate between the two sides was resolved just before the puck dropped for the first game of the preseason. The Canucks re-signed Boeser to a three-year bridge deal with an average annual value of $5.875 million per year.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 16, 2019

  • The 7 biggest questions for the Canucks heading into the 2019 preseason

    The Canucks’ preseason kicks off in earnest Monday night with two split-squad games against the Calgary Flames. For the first time in months, NHL hockey, or at least a reasonable facsimile, will be on TV. The preseason will be key for the Canucks as they acclimate new additions to the roster and look to find some chemistry in their lines and pairings. This is a team that has legitimate aspirations of making the playoffs, and that begins with getting the season off to a strong start. The preseason plays a big role in that process. As the Canucks head into the preseason, there are some big questions facing the management and coaching staff that will need answers before the start of the regular season. Here are seven of them.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 16, 2019

  • 9 goals that Jake Virtanen was supposed to meet this summer, but didn’t

    An NHL training camp is prime time for overreacting. That overreacting can come in different flavours, both positive and negative. Fans can get over-excited about a prospect scoring a gorgeous goal in an intra-team scrimmage or a player on the edge of making the team throwing a big hit to make a statement. They can also overreact negatively when a player struggles during a drill or a skilled player is put on line rushes with fourth-liners.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 14, 2019

  • How good and consistent wingers could have a big impact on Bo Horvat this season

    Bo Horvat had a fantastic 2018-19 season. He set career highs in goals (27), assists (34), and, by deduction, points (61). That’s despite having to take on more defensive responsibility when Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle were out with injuries. Most impressively, Horvat’s career year came while playing with a rotating cast of linemates.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 13, 2019

  • With first-line experience, Micheal Ferland set to play with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser

    When Vancouver was first introduced to Micheal Ferland, it was as a hard-forechecking pest in the 2015 playoffs. The rookie got under the skin and into the heads of the Canucks in their first-round matchup against the Calgary Flames. He caused Kevin Bieksa to lose his cool and capped off the series with two goals and an assist in the deciding game six. Since then, however, Ferland has evolved into more than just an agitator. For the last two seasons, Ferland has been a first-line forward for two different teams.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 13, 2019

  • For Travis Green, the Canucks getting more goals is about more than just top-six or top-nine

    The classic construction of a hockey lineup is simple: you have your first line with your best offensive players, a secondary scoring line, a checking line to play sound defensive hockey, and a grinding fourth line that gets in on the forecheck, hits hard, and maybe drops the gloves every now and then to keep the other team honest. Often, this type of lineup construction is described as top-six forwards and bottom-six forwards. The top-six — the first and second line — is where you put your skilled, offensive-minded players, while your less-skilled, defensive-minded players play in the bottom-six — the third and fourth lines.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 12, 2019

  • Who could be an unexpected breakout star for the Canucks in the preseason?

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas — we’re not allowed to talk about Christmas until after Halloween, thank you very much — but the start of NHL training camps and preseason. This is the time of year when fans can have boundless optimism, unfettered by the reality of the regular season once it begins. Now is the time to have big dreams of 100 points for Elias Pettersson, 50 goals for Brock Boeser, a Calder Trophy for Quinn Hughes, and making the playoffs, if not more, for the Canucks. It’s also the time to believe that every prospect is bound for stardom at the NHL level, particularly when said prospect lights up the preseason unexpectedly.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 12, 2019

  • PITB Chats with Thomas Drance about returning to Vancouver and why he loves Artem Chubarov

    A few years ago, Thomas Drance was everywhere in the Vancouver Canucks media market. He was writing and editing CanucksArmy, eventually moving up to become Editor in Chief of the entire Nation Network. For a while he was an editor at The Score, then a columnist at Sportsnet, and even appeared on Canucks broadcasts at times during intermissions with Dan Murphy. His freelance work appeared in The Province, The Sporting News, Vice Canada, Canucks.com, and Yahoo! Sports, and he co-wrote a book with Mike Halford called “100 Things Canucks Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.” He was even a guest writer on Pass it to Bulis, with his regular “Drance Numbers” column introducing readers to new concepts in hockey analytics.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 11, 2019

  • Zack MacEwen has done all the right things on his path to the NHL

    When the Canucks signed Zack MacEwen as a free agent out of the QMJHL, it was about as under-the-radar as a signing can get. MacEwen was a late-bloomer who had put up a decent, but not outstanding, 74 points in 66 games as a 20-year-old overager after middling numbers in his one previous QMJHL season. Generally speaking, such players don’t go on to much success in professional hockey. Canucks fans would be familiar with this from previous undrafted free agents out of junior hockey like Dane Fox, who had a whopping 64 goals and 107 points in 67 games in his over-age season in the OHL. Unfortunately, Fox couldn’t even crack the Utica Comets’ lineup and spent his professional career in North America in the ECHL before heading overseas to ply his trade in Germany.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 10, 2019

  • Kole Lind and Jonah Gadjovich struggled as first-year pros, but Canucks hope that made them stronger

    “Why isn’t anyone taking Kole Lind?” That was the question Jim Benning asked to the rest of the Canucks draft table late in the first round at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. While Lind wasn’t ranked in the first round by every draft ranking, a couple prominent ones had him in the top 25: International Scouting Services and Hockey Prospect.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 9, 2019

  • After one season without a captain, will that change for the 2019-20 Canucks?

    The Canucks have had 13 captains in their history, starting with Orland Kurtenbach in their inaugural season. The veteran Kurtenbach led the Canucks in their first four seasons before retiring. After Kurtenbach retired, however, the Canucks chose to go captain-less for the 1974-5 season. Perhaps it was because they didn’t have a clear candidate: over the next seven years, the team would cycle through four captains before Stan Smyl took on the role. Prior to the 2018-19 season, that was the only time the Canucks had gone without a captain. What was different about last season is that the Canucks definitely had a clear candidate for captain: two-way centre Bo Horvat.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 6, 2019

  • NHL marketing falls flat on its face heading into the 2019-20 season

    The NHL doesn’t know how to market itself. At this point it’s nearly a truism, to which the aging audience of the league attests. The problems are clear: hockey culture has a tendency to stunt individuality and squash its biggest personalities. There are even uglier sides to hockey culture, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. Those are all obstacles in the path of attracting a larger audience to the game, but not insurmountable ones. They just require a thoughtful, creative approach to the marketing of the game, particularly on social media channels inhabited by the younger audience that they want to attract.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 6, 2019

  • There’s more pressure than ever on Nikolay Goldobin

    There’s a side of Nikolay Goldobin that fans rarely get to see: a loose, fun-loving side. If you follow him on Instagram, you might catch some glimpses of that side, but it’s only shown up in bits and pieces here in Vancouver. For instance, before his media scrum at the end of the 2018-19 season, he ducked out of view as soon as he saw cameras, and re-emerged with his hair carefully re-arranged, smiling at the laughs that provoked. As soon as the cameras clicked off, with a cheeky grin he reached up a hand and messed up his hair again.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 5, 2019

  • Sven Baertschi could be the Canucks’ biggest wild card this season

    The Canucks have made a concerted effort to add top-six forwards heading into next season. Along with Tanner Pearson at last season’s trade deadline, Jim Benning acquired J.T. Miller in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Micheal Ferland in free agency. Along with those three wingers, the Canucks will be adding another top-six forward to the lineup: Sven Baertschi.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 5, 2019

  • Canucks re-sign Nikolay Goldobin to perfectly reasonable one-year, $900,000 contract

    Jim Benning’s off-season work is almost done. Heading into this week, he had just two must-complete items on his checklist: sign the Canucks’ two remaining restricted free agents, Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin. Like me when I’m procrastinating, Benning did the easier task first, signing Goldobin to a one-year, $900,000 contract on Wednesday.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 4, 2019

  • Quinn Hughes and 18 other prospects will report to Canucks camp this weekend

    According to multiple rankings, the Canucks have one of the best prospect pools in the NHL. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranks their pool fifth in the league, while Elite Prospects has them a notch higher at fourth. The Canucks’ prospect pool boasts both top-end talent like Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko, Olli Juolevi, and Vasili Podkolzin, and also intriguing depth, like Jett Woo, Nils Höglander, Tyler Madden, Kole Lind, Jack Rathbone, and many others. A good chunk of that prospect pool will be showing up at Rogers Arena this weekend; unfortunately, Canucks fans won’t get a chance to get a glimpse of them.

    Daniel WagnerSeptember 3, 2019

  • Brandon Sutter is not a shutdown centre

    The Canucks’ top two centres are set for years to come. Elias Pettersson has all the makings of a franchise forward, the type of elite, playmaking centre that every team dreams of having in their lineup. Bo Horvat, meanwhile, has developed into a two-way force, driving the puck up ice and to the net with ruthless efficiency. There’s a lingering question, however: who will play behind Pettersson and Horvat?

    Daniel WagnerAugust 30, 2019

  • Can the trickle-down effect give the Canucks a more effective third line?

    The trickle-down theory of economics has been widely debunked, but that doesn’t mean that trickle-down theory can’t be applied to other disciplines. Take, for instance, an NHL team’s roster construction. That’s not the way the Canucks have been building their roster over the last few years. General manager Jim Benning has spent big on bottom-six forwards, dating back to the 2015 trade for Brandon Sutter. Last year, in free agency, Benning signed Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, and Tim Schaller for a combined $7.9 million. Even Loui Eriksson, initially signed to be a top-six forward for $6 million per year, has found himself sliding into the bottom six.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 29, 2019

  • Who will kill penalties for the Canucks in 2019-20?

    Two of the Canucks’ most-used penalty killers last season are no longer on the roster. Markus Granlund led the Canucks’ in shorthanded ice time in 2018-19, playing over 183 minutes on the penalty kill, while Ben Hutton was third, with over 158 minutes. Neither one was given a qualifying offer by the Canucks, so both went to free agency, where Granlund got signed by the Edmonton Oilers and Hutton remains on the market.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 28, 2019

  • Nils Höglander and Arvid Costmar are aiming to make Team Sweden at 2020 World Juniors

    Vasili Podkolzin excelled at the Four Nations Under-20 Tournament in Perm, Russia this weekend, but somehow was held without a single point. Two other Canucks prospects, however, managed to hit the scoresheet with a goal each. Nils Höglander and Arvid Costmar, picked in the second and seventh rounds of the 2019 draft, respectively, were both on the Swedish roster and are each looking to earn a spot on Team Sweden for the 2020 World Junior Championships.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 27, 2019

  • Vasili Podkolzin was invisible on the scoresheet, but not on the ice at Four Nations tournament

    Three of the Canucks’ 2019 draft picks took part in the Four Nations tournament in Perm, Russia: Nils Hoglander and Arvid Costmar for Sweden and Vasili Podkolzin for Russia. Podkolzin was a standout for Russia, but somehow didn’t tally a single point. It might even be considered a bit of a pattern for Podkolzin at this point: outstanding performances that just don’t show up on the scoresheet.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 26, 2019

  • Canucks sign 6th-round pick, goaltender Arturs Silovs, to three-year, entry-level contract

    Arturs Silovs is a bit of a character. That was immediately apparent from his spiffy bow tie and pencil moustache at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. “That was my fashion choice, so I can be different,” said Silovs at the Canucks’ prospect camp. “Because [they were] all wearing ties and I couldn’t do that.”

    Daniel WagnerAugust 23, 2019

  • Canucks’ ECHL affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings, unveil fan-designed flying skate jersey

    The Vancouver Canucks are bringing back one of the most popular jerseys in their 50-year history next season, reviving the skate logo that was worn during the 1994 playoff run. Now the Kalamazoo Wings, the ECHL affiliate for the Canucks and Utica Comets, are getting in on the retro skate logo fun.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 23, 2019

  • NHL writers project 77 points for Elias Pettersson, 45 for Quinn Hughes

    The Canucks’ off-season moves have made their intent clear for the upcoming season. The trade for J.T. Miller and free agent signings of Tyler Myers, Jordie Benn, and Micheal Ferland are all indicators that the Canucks see themselves heading back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. As much as the addition of those four veterans will help, however, the truth is that the Canucks will only go as far as their young core can take them, namely Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Quinn Hughes.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 22, 2019

  • After extending Jim Benning, Canucks plan more additions to staff

    Calling Jim Benning’s contract extension divisive seems like a significant understatement. Benning’s tenure as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks has inspired both ardent devotion and outright disdain in the fanbase.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 22, 2019

  • Jim Benning’s revisionist “rebuild” history doesn’t hold water

    At one point, Benning was asked if his plan for the Canucks had taken longer than expected to come to fruition, referencing his initial declaration when he was hired in 2014 that “this is a team we can turn around in a hurry.” It’s a quote that has come back to haunt Benning in the following years, as the team decidedly has not been turned around in a hurry. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Benning was prepared for that line of questioning with a little bit of spin.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 21, 2019

  • Canucks hope to have Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin signed before training camp

    There’s one re-signing eagerly awaited by Canucks fans and, no offence to Jim Benning, it wasn’t for the general manager. What Canucks fans really want to hear is that Brock Boeser, the golden-haired sniper, has a new contract. Unsurprisingly, talk quickly turned to Boeser during the media scrum after Benning’s contract extension. While Benning has made plenty of moves this off-season, supplementing their forwards and defence with veterans J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland, Tyler Myers, and Jordie Benn, he hasn’t gotten one of the Canucks’ key players to sign a new deal.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 20, 2019

  • Ranking all the number 1s in Canucks history, from Luongo to Ouellet

    The Florida Panthers announced last week that Roberto Luongo would be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired. It makes sense: Luongo is the best goaltender in Panthers’ history, holding the franchise records for most wins, saves, and shutouts. Despite his lack of individual awards — he got robbed of the Vezina by Martin Brodeur in 2007 and arguably in 2004 as well — he’s a solid bet to make the Hockey Hall of Fame. The only debate is whether he’ll be a first-ballot hall of famer or have to wait a year or two after he becomes eligible.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 19, 2019

  • REPORT: Canucks extend Jim Benning’s contract on a Friday afternoon in August

    For all of the misery in the history of the Canucks, they’ve never gone very long without making the playoffs. The longest stretch the Canucks have gone without qualifying for the postseason is four seasons. It’s happened three times: 1970-1974, the first four seasons in franchise history, 1996-2000, the dreadful Mike Keenan/Mark Messier years, and the past four seasons. The Canucks have never gone five seasons without making the playoffs.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 16, 2019

  • To get the most out of Tyler Myers, Canucks need him to be on the power play

    The Canucks have gotten better this off-season, but their moves haven’t been universally praised. The issue isn’t necessarily the players the Canucks have brought in, but the price they paid to acquire them. Fans that place stock in analytics were particularly dismayed by the signing of defenceman Tyler Myers. While Myers is an upgrade on the right side, there’s a question of how big an upgrade he actually is, and that upgrade came at a significant cost.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 15, 2019

  • Every goal Micheal Ferland scored in the 2018-19 season

    If the Canucks want to make the playoffs next season, they’re going to need some more scoring. The Canucks were 26th in the NHL in goals, which simply isn’t good enough. That’s likely a big reason why Canucks GM Jim Benning added a couple 20-goal scorers in the off-season: he traded for J.T. Miller and signed Micheal Ferland in free agency.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 13, 2019

  • Every goal J.T. Miller scored in the 2018-19 season

    Last season, the Canucks managed to make up for the offence lost when the Sedins retired, but didn’t take a step forward. They scored 219 goals in the 2018-19 season, just one more than the previous season. That’s good, considering the two greatest players in franchise history were no longer on the team, but it also wasn’t enough. The Canucks need more goals next season. Some of that will hopefully come from the maturation of their young talent — Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser will need to score more than 28 and 26 goals — but they’ve also added a couple wingers that should complement their young talent.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 12, 2019

  • A change in skate profile could make Elias Pettersson even harder to handle next season

    Skating was one of the few areas in which Elias Pettersson supposedly wasn’t elite when he was drafted. His skating was described as good or above average, with the highest praise being “efficient.” When he hit the NHL, however, he quickly established that he could skate with the best in the league. Pettersson showed blazing speed at the fastest skater competition during All-Star Weekend, and was shifty and elusive with his quick changes in direction and puck control through the neutral zone and in the offensive zone. Clearly, skating is one of many areas where Pettersson refuses to simply be “above average.”

    Daniel WagnerAugust 9, 2019

  • The Canucks’ Brock Boeser is part of a big group of unsigned RFAs

    An unusually large number of restricted free agents haven’t been signed this off-season, including some of the best players in the NHL. Mitch Marner was 11th in league scoring last season with 94 points. Brayden Point was right behind him with 92 points and was sixth in goalscoring with 41 goals. Other top RFA forwards that have yet to be signed include Mikko Rantanen, Matthew Tkachuk, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Travis Konecny, and Colin White. Then there’s the defencemen, like Zach Werenski, who had 44 points last season, Ivan Provorov, who was sixth in the NHL in ice time per game, and Charlie McAvoy, the new number one defenceman for the Boston Bruins. This group of RFAs have limited leverage, as they haven’t played in the NHL long enough to be eligible for salary arbitration, a process that brings in an independent arbitrator to decide on a fair contract. Teams generally try to take advantage of that lack of leverage to sign players to team-friendly contracts that extract the most value possible.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 8, 2019

  • Canucks could have a couple captains at 2020 World Junior Championship

    The Canucks have focussed on a few things at the draft table over the past few years, from speed and skill to drive and motor. One of the overarching criteria for the Canucks at the NHL entry draft, however, is character. It’s fitting, then, that the Canucks could have a couple of their prospects captaining their national teams at the 2020 World Junior Championship.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 7, 2019

  • Loui Eriksson’s agent claims his client’s comments have been blown out of proportion

    Loui Eriksson has been a lightning rod for criticism from Canucks fans, which has only been magnified by comments Eriksson made in Sweden this off-season. Speaking with HockeySverige, Eriksson said, “The coach and I don’t really get on 100 per cent. It is difficult when I do not get the same trust that I received from all the other coaches I had during my career. Of course it is tough on that front.”

    Daniel WagnerAugust 5, 2019

  • Yes, Olli Juolevi is still a top prospect for the Canucks

    When Sami Salo was the same age as Olli Juolevi is now, he hadn’t even been drafted yet. That may sound crazy, but Salo wasn’t drafted until he was 21 and just a few months shy of 22. At the time, NHL teams couldn’t sign European players unless they drafted them, but the Ottawa Senators were in no rush to bring Salo over to the NHL after drafting him in the ninth round in 1996. He played two more full seasons in the Finnish Liiga before finally making his NHL debut at the age of 24. Perhaps that can provide a little perspective when evaluating Juolevi, who just turned 21 in May.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 3, 2019

  • The Vancouver Canucks 2019-20 Prospect Pyramid

    How would you rank the Canucks’ prospects? Number one would be pretty easy, but who’s the Canucks’ second-best prospect? Third-best? Fourth-best? And that’s the easy part: how do you differentiate between a team’s 12th-best and 13th-best prospects? How do you decide which also-ran prospect sneaks into the 20th spot on your top 20 list?

    Daniel WagnerAugust 1, 2019

  • Thatcher Demko should push Jacob Markstrom to be his best in 2019-20 season

    The Canucks acquisitions this off-season seem to be sending a clear message: it’s time to make the playoffs. That’s the kind of message you send when you trade a first-round pick for J.T. Miller and sign a 29-year-old Tyler Myers for $6 million per year. It’s understandable that GM Jim Benning is pushing for the playoffs: the Canucks have missed the playoffs for four-straight seasons and need to start turning the corner from rebuilding to contending, particularly while their young superstar, Elias Pettersson, is still on his cheap, entry-level contract. Also, Benning is on the final year of his own contract and needs to make a bid for keeping his job.

    Daniel WagnerAugust 1, 2019

  • Canucks prospect Toni Utunen tallies two against Canada at World Junior Summer Showcase

    If you only watched Toni Utunen when he played against Canada on the international stage, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s an offensive dynamo, projected to rack up points in the NHL. Instead, he’s more of a defensive defencemen, who can also efficiently move the puck up ice, but rarely put points on the board. Utunen must love playing against Canada: in the last calendar year, Utunen has scored four goals total across all competitions. Three of them have come against the Canadian U20 team, including two in Finland’s 8-3 rout at the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase on Wednesday.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 31, 2019

  • Oddsmakers foresee a big improvement for the Canucks (but not the playoffs)

    When it comes to making predictions, oddsmakers have a vested interest in getting them right. After all, if their predictions are too far off, the sportsbooks could lose a lot of money. That’s a lot of incentive to set the right money line. Last season, the oddsmakers slightly underrated the Canucks, perhaps because they didn’t anticipate the immediate impact Elias Pettersson would have on the lineup. Bodog set the line at 77.5, as did Westgate Sportsbook; the Canucks made the over at 81 points.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 30, 2019

  • Numbers Never Lie: Were the 2018-19 Canucks unlucky?

    I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 The writer of Ecclesiastes probably didn’t have hockey in mind when he wrote those words thousands of years ago, but he still nailed a timeless truth that applies to the fastest game on earth: time and chance happen to them all. In hockey, we can apply those words in two ways: we can look at how players, even the best players, decline as they age. That’s time. We can also look at how randomness can affect a player from season to season. That’s chance.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 29, 2019

  • Where can Bo Horvat go from here?

    Life is pretty good right now for Bo Horvat. He’s coming off a career year, he’s a couple months away from (probably) being named captain of the Canucks, and he just got married to fellow elite athlete and longtime sweetheart, Holly Donaldson. What’s next for the 24-year-old centre?

    Daniel WagnerJuly 25, 2019

  • The Lucic/Neal trade shows there’s no such thing as an untradeable contract

    Loui Eriksson has one of the worst contracts in the NHL. This isn’t a controversial statement: he has three years left on his six-year deal, with a cap hit of $6 million a year, which makes him one of the top-60 highest paid players in the NHL, but he’s performed like a third-line winger for the Canucks. To top it off, most of Eriksson’s contract is made up of signing bonuses, making it completely impractical to buy out. The contract has become an albatross, taking up a large chunk of cap space that could be put to better use. There’s a reason why it’s “one of” the worst contracts, however: there are worse ones out there.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 25, 2019

  • There’s something rotten in the state of the Collective Bargaining Agreement

    David Clarkson’s contract was a millstone around the Maple Leafs’ neck the day it was signed. The Leafs drastically overpaid the 30-year-old winger back in 2013, giving him a seven-year deal worth $5.25 million per year. That was a shocking amount at the time, particularly for a player that had breached 20 goals just once in his career, a 30-goal season a year prior. The odds of a power forward like Clarkson being worth his contract as he aged into his 30’s was slim, but then-GM of the Leafs Dave Nonis justified the expense and length of the contract as just the cost of doing business.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 24, 2019

  • Ranking every NHL team name by weight

    After the St. Louis Blues bullied their way to the 2019 Stanley Cup, there is a renewed sense in the NHL that size matters. What if we ranked every NHL team by the weight of their name? Would this be exceptionally silly? Well, yes. Would it also be fun? Quite possibly.

    Daniel WagnerJuly 22, 2019

  • 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