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There’s little question that the Vancouver Canucks have been floating in a fowl, still body of water for a few years now. They may be heavily deluded by the playoff appearance of 2015 that they somehow spasmed out of nowhere, but the two seasons after that hasn’t seen them clear 75 points and they’re certainly going to get nowhere near that this season. Anyone with half-decent eyesight and at least five functioning neurons upstairs could see this team needs big changes. It has one player it can build around in Brock Boeser, and maybe a decent piece in Bo Horvat, Troy Stetcher, and Ben Hutton. Maybe. Clearly, there’s a long way to go.

The Canucks had some things that they might have been able to move along for at least additional draft picks, and the more spins at the draft wheel you get the better chance you have of landing something meaningful.

Erik Gudbranson, who uncategorically sucks and that’s not even a phrase, was heading into free agency this summer. Thomas Vanek was another. Alex Edler might be starting to have old man stink, but he’s only got one year after this left on his deal and if the Canucks ate just a touch of his money due, they might have been able to convince some idiot that he can be a puck-moving bum-slayer. Chris Tanev has two more years after this one, and would have been harder to move, but given that he’s 28 and can actually still play, that might have been worth kicking the tires on too. And kicking this season into the can as hard as possible raises the odds of Rasmus Dahlin landing in town, which is a real start. Hell, maybe even flogging Lisa Ann’s favorite defenseman Michael Del Zotto would have been worth inspection.

The Canucks did… none of this.

They only made two trades. One was of Philip Holm, a young d-man who couldn’t crack their lineup, to Vegas for reclamation project Brendan Leipsic. Like, ok, maybe the Canucks can get Leipsic to the heights of a third line player. So…fine. And they did move Thomas Vanek…

…for Jussi Jokinen and Tyler Motte.

HUH?!

The Canucks tried to claim that there was no picks available for Vanek. But he got a third round pick at the deadline just last year. Surely a lower pick could have been had. And what the fuck are the Canucks going to do with Jokinen and Motte other than have other jerseys to make? Jokinen will play for all 31 NHL teams by 2020 at this ace, and Fifth Feather called Tyler Motte an ECHL all-star upon one viewing of him in preseason. Are they really selling that a player on his third organization by 24 is going to be a piece?

Not only that, they re-signed Gudbranson for another four years. He’s a big, dumb d-man in a league that’s getting smaller and faster. This deal is going to look awful…well, now. They didn’t move Edler, who is only going to lose value now, and they didn’t move Tanev. Tanev still has use but will he at 31 or 32 when the Canucks are good again? Assuming they do everything right, which they won’t.

The Canucks will spend $23.2 million next year on Gudbranson, Brandon Sutter, Sam Gagner, Loui Eriksson, and Bo Horvat. Only Horvat isn’t a synonym for “millstone” at the moment, and only just barely away from that. And remember, they might not get to 65 points this year.

Sure, Adam Gaudette and Kole Lind are in the pipeline already. But look at how much more the Nucks need? This was a whiff.

 

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Stefan Heck is a true treasure, part of the @RealGoodShow. His Canucks and hockey thoughts are found @HockeyDipshit, and believe us when we tell you it’s a necessary follow. 

Assess the Canucks trade deadline. Put do give us time to hide in the other room before you start….
Surprisingly, Jim Benning’s strategy of “wait until the last minute to do something” failed to pay off! Brandon Leipsic seems like a decent little spark plug, at least, but Tyler Motte is yet another piece of tweener flotsam, and Jussi Jokinen… well, if this were 2006 and we needed to win a shootout, he would have been a great pickup.
We’ve asked you similar before, but everything we read from out there suggests Canucks fans are ready for a full rebuild and that’s what they’d prefer. So where is ownership getting this idea that their fanbase won’t settle for a fallow period, which is what they’ve got anyway?
After nearly half a century of abject failure (seriously, the Canucks have only finished in the top half of the league 12 times in their history), I still have absolutely no clue where Aquilini got the idea that this fanbase wouldn’t accept losing. The fact that a franchise this sad hasn’t folded or left town by now is evidence enough that Canucks fans will put up with losing seasons. In fact, attendance-wise, they’re still middle of the pack right now, which is insanely impressive when you, y’know, actually watch this team play. If ownership and management actually had any sort of semblance of a plan, they’d be dealing with approximately half the criticism they’re currently receiving. Even just coming out and saying “we were wrong” about the last few years would be a huge boost of morale to the fanbase. It’s never going to happen, though.
We guess holding on and extending Gudbranson gives us our answer, but will they attempt to unload some other terrible contracts in the summer like Sutter’s or Gagner’s or the like?
I really, really hope so, but at this point I know better than to expect anything positive out of this management group. My guess is they’ll hold on to all of their awful contracts and then add David Perron or James Neal to the mix. Can’t wait!
Nikolay Goldobin was a point per game in the AHL, is he something to look forward to in the future?
When Travis Green isn’t smothering the creativity out of Goldobin, he’s a lot of fun to watch. It’d be nice if they just let him focus on scoring goals in yet another lost season, but they seem 100% set on turning him into another boring grinder, which apparently we just can’t get enough of.
 
Ok, you’re hired as GM (it honestly could happen). What do you do from here?
1. No major free agent signings
2. Trade Sutter, Gagner, Gudbranson, Del Zotto, Granlund, Baertschi for whatever I can get
3. Trade Tanev for futures
4. Pick the BPA with our first rounder and emphasize skill with the rest of our picks
5. Seriously. Zero major free agent signings.

 

Game #75 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built