Quinn’s Questions is a feature where you the fans tell us your thoughts, through your vote and hopefully in the comments, as well. It’s named after Quinn Hughes, Pat Quinn, or both, depending on your age and era.
Results of previous Quinn’s Questions: What would you do with Nils Höglander?
Play him in the top six - 49%
Play him in the bottom six - 31%
Trade him - 12%
Send him to the AHL - 8%
I’m surprised top six won, but I suppose a Brock Boeser injury will do that. I’m willing to bet it’s way further down if I wrote the column a week earlier. Glad to see the fanbase is using common sense and not sending him to Abbotsford (except for that 8% of you — what the hell guys).
As pre-season rolls on, the races for roster positioning are starting to narrow down. While every once in a while you’ll see a high profile player demoted — think Sven Baertschi or Sam Gagner for a couple of recent Canucks examples — more often than not it’s a couple of line-up spots left for either fringe guys or up and comers.
This certainly seems to be the case this year.
The top of the lineup seems reasonably set (with the possible exception of Nils Höglander, as I detailed in last week’s column). Once you get to the fourth line and beyond, though, things start to look a little iffier. So my question this week: who ends up being the last cut, the 13th forward for the club?
Curtis Lazar, a somewhat high profile free agent signing in the off-season, is almost certainly going to be a fourth line fixture. From there it’s an open door. Dakota Joshua, a gritty centre also signed in the summer, received little fanfare at the time of his arrival but has been spoken highly of by management. He seems on track to make the roster, but it would not shock me if he ended up being on the outside looking in as the 13th forward. He seems to be a perfectly good player with an edge, but does he absolutely need to be on the ice opening up? I’m not so sure.
You could also make the case that Jason Dickinson should be the 13th man. If the team decides there are other guys who could match his defensive acumen (which was not all that impressive season) while bringing something else — maybe more offence or speed — it’s entirely conceivable he doesn't make the cut. An unfortunate development, sure, but one within the realm of reality.
In my view the most likely candidate is Phillip Di Giuseppe. I think he has enough NHL experience along with the tenacity and speed to make the cut, but is maybe not quite a strong enough player to make the lineup. He’s a guy who always gives it 100% and impresses in training camp and whatnot, but has never been a truly slam dunk NHLer. I’ll say he makes the leap this year to be a starting day NHLer, even if he’s not physically on the ice. I think he brings an element of speed that the team needs and will appreciate.
You could go off the board in a few ways. Will Lockwood does some of the same thing as Di Giuseppe, but is younger and would represent a developmental win. Maybe you’re bearish on Höglander and think he falls to the 13th slot. The organization liked Justin Dowling last year, so maybe he makes it. Or perhaps a dark horse like Linus Karlsson or Nils Aman makes a run — unlikely, but possible.
Let us know what you think, as always, in the poll and the comments what your take is!
Who should be the Canucks’ 13th forward?
This poll is closed
Phillip Di Giuseppe
Other (reply in comments)