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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: We Have A Jayce! Gaudette And Virtanen Re-Sign!

A couple re-signings! A new signing! And still lots of work for Jimbo to do. The NM Roundtable discusses who’s next to go. Say, is Burkie still willing to drive people to the airport?

NHL: FEB 20 Jets at Senators
 Ottawa Senators right wing Jayce Hawryluk (79) after a whistle during third period National Hockey League action between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators on February 20, 2020, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s time once again for the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable, a weekly feature that takes a look at current issues facing the Vancouver Canucks, with opinions from some of the writers here at NM. As always, we encourage you to add your thoughts in the comments section. And just so you know, Jimmi is well aware of how wrong he is.

1- It’s 2 years at $2.55 Million per season for the kid from Abbotsford. How do you feel about this new deal for Jake Virtanen?

Westy - The deal itself is hard to judge on its own until he starts playing. 18 goals in a shortened season seems like that this deal might be ok. Playoff Jake makes this seem like too much money. The first time Jake does time on the 4th line, the Twittersphere is riot. If Jake can backcheck this year, I will be happy.

jimmi - Since Kent has already deemed me in the wrong, I will just say all the right things. Whatever they are.

If Jake takes over Loui’s spot on the 4th at a mere $2.5M, I would call that a huge cost saving. Except that Loui has that spot on the 4th nailed for six bazillion seasons or something.

Also... it would be horrible for the Nucks to lose their #1 spot in the league. The #1 spot for the highest paid 4th line in hockey.

But that was pre-covid... during covid, the trend might become pay-to-play 4th lines as NHL revenue dips to levels not seen since the original 6. Or 7. Or 8. Or 10.

Markus - If they had to bring him back 2 x 2.5 is a perfectly reasonable contract. I would have simply preferred that money be used for something else (paired with a Sutter buyout to say, just bring back Toffoli), but given that was not going to happen this is fair value.

Rob - The contract is fine for a third line NHL winger who put up 18 goals in a shortened season. The Cap hit is almost certainly about $500,000 less per season than an arbitrator would have awarded him.

The real issue is whether or not his performance this year can turn it into a value contract. If he is able to seize the available top six right wing spot vacated by Tyler Toffoli and puts up 25 goals and 50 points this season and his tools finally fit into his tool box it could turn into an excellent contract.

It’s last call at Jake’s nightclub and Nils Hoglander is playing every shift hard in Sweden and has started playing right wing his last three games or so with his eyes firmly on earning that same top six spot at the Canucks’ next training camp whenever that happens.

Beggsy - A tidy piece of business for Jimbo, especially when you consider the fact that Virtanen is the 11th highest-paid forward on the team.

Kent- I don’t think it’s a bad deal on face value, but make no mistake: The pressure is on Virtanen in a way he’s yet to see in his time in Vancouver. If he can’t get it done with Top 6 ice time, it’s gonna get real ugly. And I don’t mean just on Canucks Twitter. That being said, maybe he can live up to his potential, be that homegrown kid who becomes a star for this team and helps push them further in this rebirth.

2- Armed with a new 1 year deal and a new number on his back, let’s get your thoughts on the Adam Gaudette deal. Is this what you were expecting?

Westy - I wasn’t expecting this, but I sure like it. This might be a do or die year for Gaudette with the Nucks. He needs to work on his two-way game and faceoffs...and along the boards. 3rd line minutes are all he might see, so he better make the most of it.

jimmi - Westy stole all my good points. Not that there were many. I’m just happy to keep Gaud on our side without paying a hellish price. Gaud knows he has to work harder, if he wants to keep NM’s fickle devotional services.

Markus - Gaudette had no leverage given his contract status, so this is exactly what I anticipated. There’s a lot of potential there and if he rounds out his game he’ll be hugely valuable.

Rob - I agree with Markus. No leverage and Canucks management and coaches are undecided yet whether or not Hockey Gaud will reach his potential and be a significant contributor to a championship team. I predict more improvement from him this season.

Beggsy - Gaudette scored at a second-line rate last season and he’s getting paid fourth-line dollars. I’m not sure if he has it in him to become a checking center, but if he can just be less of a liability while continuing to score at the same rate, he’ll earn a raise next season.

Kent- I like this deal. One year to show he belongs with this crew, and a chance to earn a longer, more lucrative deal. Consistency will be the biggest obstacle for him to overcome, but if he can get it together, he could give the 3rd line a bit of a scoring punch that it’s lacked for so long.

3- The team also added a bit of depth for Utica as they added Jayce Hawryluk. Anyone actually familiar with him before this week?

Westy - Who?

jimmi - Why? Oh... depth.

Markus - No not really, but he seems like a cheaper Roussel so I’ll take it. Let’s see what he can do.

Rob - I’ve been following him closely ever since he put up 138 goals and 264 points in 54 games as a 14 year old playing for the Russell Rams’ U15 squad in the PBHL.

Of course I am lying. I vaguely remember his name from when Florida put him on waivers last year and read somewhere that the Canucks’ had interest in him.

His above stats as a 14 year old are true though. Look it up.

Beggsy - I remember him putting up points during a limited stretch in Ottawa last year. I assumed that was because he was their first line center.

He’s got some tenacity to his game that I like. If he can make the Canucks bottom six a little less sluggish, it will be a win for the organization.

Kent- With Reid Boucher voluntarily shipping himself to Siberia or wherever in the KHL he’s playing, the Canucks AHL squad (probably playing closer to home next year as the COVID-19 border closures continue) will need to fill that gap. Maybe he’s the guy that can do it.

4- And with the 2 remaining RFA’s now dealt with, the Canucks need to address their cap situation again before adding some more pieces. Someone’s gotta go, so let’s see your pick for who you wish it was and you think it actually will be?

Westy - Calm down. No one is getting bought out. If I could get rid of any contract, it would be Myers. Francesco’s wallet said no. Sven will go down to Utica again....I hope Loui joins him. Unfortunately Michael Ferland will probably be on LTIR for the season and that clears cap space.

jimmi - Calm Down!?! WTH?! This is the screechy little soapy corner of the internet. Loui ain’t going to Utica. He ain’t going to get bought out. He ain’t going to spoil our grip on the #1 spot in the league. See above about the spot.

Also... you can’t afford to look above at the spot. Only Franny can. And really... does Franny care whether he loses an extra $6-10M when he’s on target to lose $70-80M next season (if there is one)?

Markus - I mean I obviously wish Loui was gone, but that won’t happen. I also wish Sutter was bought out, but Locker Room Leadership Character or something. I’m guessing they’ll move out Jordie Benn for nothing, which is fine, let Juolevi or Rafferty take his spot.

Rob - I thought Sutter would be bought out but the Aquilini cash crunch must be real.

If they bury Loui and Sven in the AHL and go with a 22 man roster (instead of a max 23) they can easily be Cap compliant without any other player movement. That said, I expect Ferland to go on LTIR sooner than later opening up more Cap space.

Beggsy - I think that Loui and Sven will both be buried in the AHL...but if they could bury Sutter as well, I’d be A-OK with that.

Kent- I guess we just can’t ever have happiness as Canucks fans. No matter how good things are going, eventually the Hockey Gods remind us we are doomed to walk this earth cupless... Still, if Brandon Sutter is in the opening night lineup, I will be angry (what else is new, right?)

5- And finally, with the list of who is still available as a free agent, who would you like to see the Canucks add to the roster for the next season?

Westy - Canucks are over the cap as it is. I hear Tim Schaller is still available. There is no player out there that really jumps out to me. Travis Harmonic on a tryout might be an interesting idea.

jimmi - Maybe sign Josh Leivo. Er.... Deryk Engelland. He’s cheap. And vintage. Don’t want the team to get too young too fast. Or Travis Hamonic. Not as melodic as Westy’s choice, perhaps, but possibly the better, more dissonant player.

Markus - I’ll echo Hamonic, and also Michael Grabner would be an interesting, cheap get. Really, though, barring a major cap dump they don’t have the space to do much of anything.

Rob - My head says Harmonica but my heart says go with Olli Juolevi and Brogan Rafferty plus the five current veterans and call them The Group of Seven. Their on ice artistry may pay off big. OJ and the Serial Killer have more upside than retread veterans.

My head says one dimensional Dustin Hoffman but my heart says make Homelander one of The Boys.

No more free agent signings this off season please.

Beggsy - The Canucks have some holes on defence, you say? I hear that Ben Hutton, Michael Del Zotto and Derrick Pouliot are still available...

Kent- I wanna see some more of the Comets kids get a chance here, but there’s still too many over-paid, under-producing guys in the bottom 6. Juolevi and Rafferty will push like hell at camp, as will Kole Lind. And Zack MacEwan is a fulltime Canuck next year, book it.

Adding someone through free agency? Hmmm... Hamonic or Anthony Duclair. Or just to fuck around, they could offer sheet Ethan Bear and piss the Oilers off.