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Weekly Thoughts: Trading skill for physicality, Boeser’s injury, and Guddy’s extension

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Would the Canucks Trade Sven Baertschi?

I’ve seen a couple of media personalities including J.D. Burke suggest that the Canucks should shop Baertschi for future assets.

While I can’t imagine them flipping the 25-year-old pending RFA for picks and prospects specifically, I can foresee a different scenario where Baertschi gets traded.

Ignoring Taj’s derogatory remarks, the key takeaway is that Benning is targeting hockey trades for the trade deadline. More specifically, he mentions seeking someone with size and strength who can slot into the top nine.

What might he give up to make that happen? Well, Benning’s comments tell us that he certainly won’t be afraid to move skilled players.

The first name that may come to mind is Nikolay Goldobin, but another is Baertschi.

This is purely speculation, but how would the Canucks feel about a Sven Baertschi for Nick Ritchie swap?

The Canucks would get a young power forward who can instantly slot into their top 9. Meanwhile Anaheim, whose searching for scoring, gets the more skilled player in Baertschi.

It’s not a trade that I’d necessarily make, but one that would fit management’s desire with regards to adding size and toughness to the top 9.

I still think it’s a long shot that Baertschi gets traded, but it’s intriguing to wonder if this is the type of hockey trade that the Canucks might at the very least consider.

Should Boeser Be Playing?

It’s one thing to be playing with a taped wrist, but a whole other to be fighting through pain to make it happen.

You admire Boeser’s competitive nature to play in spite of the injury, but should the Canucks really be letting their rookie star risk further injury in meaningless games? Making matters worse is that it’s the same wrist that had to be surgically repaired just a year ago.

Obviously we don’t have the full details of what’s happened, but this seems irresponsible based on the information we do have.

The Canucks need to be wary of the long-term stability of Boeser’s wrist— after all his shot is his most potent weapon.

Gudbranson’s Extension

For the Gudbranson extension to make sense from my point of view, the Canucks need to either believe he’s a top 4 defenceman, or have serious intentions about shopping Chris Tanev.

As it pertains to the latter part of the assertion, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Canucks want to keep at least one of Tanev or Gudbranson for the foreseeable future, given the team’s depth on the right side. Without both of them, the Canucks are left with Troy Stecher as their only right shot defender.

Keeping Gudbranson makes it viable to move Tanev— either at the trade deadline or the draft.

If the Canucks don’t move Tanev though, this Gudbranson decision looks a whole lot worse. The contract itself isn’t horrible; the bigger issue is the potential assets that the Canucks might have missed out on.

A lot of fans bring up the valid point that the Canucks can still trade Gudbranson in two or three years, but by then it might not be worth it.

As Ryan Biech suggested, it’s fair to predict that around 2021 will be when the Canucks’ new core enters its prime.

If the team movse Gudbranson for draft picks or early stage prospects in two or three years, it’ll likely be too late for those piece(s) to become contributors during the prime of the new core.

Had they moved Gudbranson for future assets now, whatever pieces they would have gotten would be entering the prime along with the new core.

It’ll be a moot point if Tanev is eventually traded, but it’s something to consider and keep in mind moving forward.

Pressure on Juolevi

Player progression isn’t linear and it’s a little bit unfair to compare prospects two years after they’ve been drafted, but the success of players taken after Olli Juolevi certainly creates early pressure.

The player taken directly after Tkachuk— Clayton Keller— is also on pace to hit the 60 point mark.

There’s merit to the argument that defensemen take a bit longer than forwards to develop, but Mikhail Sergachev, Charlie McAvoy, and Jakob Chychrun have already established themselves as NHL regulars as well.

Juolevi is the only 2016 top-10 pick who hasn’t played in an NHL game, despite being a safer and lower ceiling player.

I didn’t mind the pick at the time(though I would have preferred Sergachev), but the pressure is going to be on Juolevi to take significant strides forward- whether it’s warranted or not.

I still think Juolevi can be an effective top four defensemen, but until he gets there he’s undoubtedly going to have to face the music.