Weekly Canucks Report: Week of December 5-11
Who Had a Good Week:
Jack Skille- This was the week of Jack Skille’s career. Skille scored three absolutely gorgeous goals, and found himself skating alongside Bo Horvat. Skille showed some of the talent that lead to his high draft selection.
Troy Stecher- With Edler and Tanev on the sidelines, Stecher has somehow stepped right in as a competent number one defenseman. Stecher’s presence has proven a stabilizing force for even Luca Sbisa, who is putting up big minutes next to the rookie.
Erik Gudbranson- Gudbranson got his first of the year, but that’s not the only reason he’s on this list. He also put up some quality defensive play throughout the week, and had a good performance against his former team, giving some of his former friends a rough ride.
Jayson Megna- Megna deserves some mention for his two goal performance. In general, Megna doesn’t look too dangerous out there, but it’s good to know he can capitalize when the chances come.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Brandon Sutter- The advanced stats crowd has come out in full force against Brandon Sutter’s deployment alongside the Sedins, and it appears that the coaching staff has given in. Sutter was demoted to second/third-line center again, with Jannik Hansen taking his place. Sutter hadn’t been having his best week up until that point.
Jacob Markstrom- Markstrom had a chance to impress with Ryan Miller out, but he failed to do so. Markstrom played solidly, but his goals against average for the week is not pretty, and he simply didn’t look like a number one goalie. Markstrom needs to go on a good run sometime soon.
Michael Chaput- Chaput was finally demoted back from the top-six, and fans breathed a sigh of relief. Chaput was outshone by other depth players this week, and may soon find himself in Utica. Chaput was at the center of some drama, at least, fighting twice in the infamous New Jersey game.
There was a bit of chatter about a potential Sedin trade this week, so it’s a fair subject to address. Realistically, there is just no way the Canucks could trade both Sedins to the same team without salary retention, or taking on some bad contracts, which should be avoided. The Sedins take up $14 million of cap space together, and nobody has that kind of room. If the Canucks were to retain half of their salaries, however, the potential return for them could be absolutely massive. Think multiple firsts and a bluechip prospect or two.
It was also noted that the Canucks had shown interest in Peter Holland, who was eventually dealt from the Maple Leafs to Arizona. Given that the Coyotes only paid a conditional 6th rounder for Holland, it’s doubtful that the Canucks showed much interest at all. The Canucks probably offered a similar return but asked the Leafs to take a contract back in return for Holland, which Toronto wasn’t interested in.
With the Canucks showing interest in Holland, it might have been nice to see them grab Josh Jooris on waivers. Jooris was a semi-power forward who often played well against the Canucks for the rival Flames, and had spent some time playing in Abbotsford. Alas, the Coyotes got him first, but it would be interesting to hear if the Canucks put in a claim.
Remember when the Colorado Avalanche used to be a major rival? Those days are long past, but perhaps there is enough hatred there for Canuck fans to take joy in Colorado’s 10-1 drubbing at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. The Avalanche, in general, are having a pretty terrible season.
It sounds like former GM and assistant GM Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman might be close to being hired by the Islanders. Gillis has been experiencing a little vindication of late, and to see him replace Garth Snow, a man he was unfavourably compared to during his tenure here, would be nice.
The Comets’ schedule is starting to feel routine, with a game early in each week followed by a Friday-Saturday back-to-back. The Comets got things started on Wednesday with a 3-2 win over Toronto. Jake Virtanen scored and Jordan Subban got the winner, with Marco Roy also scoring his first of the year. Curtis Valk and Alex Grenier each picked up an assist and continued their team-leading scoring. Thatcher Demko was in net for the win and played great.
Friday, Utica visited Binghamton for a 4-3 loss. Virtanen got another goal on a late effort, assisted by Subban and Grenier, but it was too little, too late. Valk and Borna Rendulic got the other goals, with Darren Archibald notching two assists. Demko picked up the loss.
Another 4-3 loss ensued on Saturday, against the breakfast cereal-esque Syracuse Crunch. Michael Garteig took things to the shootout, where he allowed two of three shots. Virtanen scored yet again but failed to strike in the shootout, with Valk being the only successful Comet. Pascal Pelletier got his first of the season, and Cole Cassels scored his third. Subban and Grenier each got an assist, and Cody Kunyk got two.
Bits and Bobs:
-Most of all, everyone’s thoughts should be with Philip Larsen. Injuries like that have proven time and time again to be very dangerous and to potentially have serious long-term effects, so the primary concern is that Larsen be able to live a full life after this. Hockey is secondary at this point.
-As for the hit itself, Hall was well within his rights and should not have been suspended. However, it would be nice to see players start to let up in situations like this. Hall clearly anticipated Larsen putting himself into a vulnerable position and lined up his hit accordingly.
-Sven Baertschi’s scratch was a curious move, at best. Baertschi wasn’t at his best this week, but it doesn’t seem like effort is a part of the problem for him. There must be something going on his game the club doesn’t like.
-Anton Rodin is headed to Utica on a conditioning stint, which is great news. It shows that Rodin has a good attitude, for one, and also ensures that he’ll be back on the active roster within two weeks. Here’s hoping he and Virtanen can light it up for awhile.
-Jannik Hansen’s return couldn’t have come at a better time. The team could certainly use a boost, and Hansen provides that in multiple ways. If he is traded at the deadline this year, it will be a sad day for Canuck fans.
-PS: Luca Sbisa Watch is over. Sbisa has played enough games to meet requirements for exposure in the Expansion Draft, so there are now some interesting decisions to be made when all defensemen are healthy. Or is that more of an “if?”
-I’m not 100% sure, but I think this is the first week that Bo Horvat hasn’t made the “Good Week” list. He didn’t have a bad week by any stretch, but it’s worth mentioning.