The Vancouver Canucks are chasing a Cup this season....the Calder Cup, that is.
Down in Abbotsford, the baby Canucks are 14-9-2. Their roster features two of the best young Canucks in Jack Rathbone and Vasily Podkolzin.
Now, Travis Dermott and Nils Hoglander will join them.
The club announced on Monday that Travis Dermott would be sent to the AHL for a conditioning stint. He’s missed the entire season so far after suffering a concussion in training camp.
Hoglander, on the other hand, was sent to the AHL after another brutal Canucks
win loss — a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the mediocre St. Louis Blues.
After playing against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, Hoglander was scratched for last night’s contest as Brock Boeser returned to the lineup.
Ironically enough, Hoglander had arguably his best game of the season when he registered two assists in a 4-3 Canucks win against the Flames just two games ago.
But, he clearly hasn’t been trusted by this coaching staff on a consistent basis over the past 12 months, and those brutal d-zone turnovers are still evident in his game.
Still, if you asked any pundit at the beginning of the season, few would have predicted that all three of Rathbone, Podkolzin AND Hoglander would be in the minors together at any point in 2022-23.
Yet, here we are.
It’s fair to wonder if all three players being demoted signals a change of direction for this Canucks management team.
Based on their offseason moves and comments about not wanting to take a step back, it’s clear that this year was an all-in push to at least make the playoffs.
With that now looking like a pipe dream, is Canucks management deliberately sending more talented players to the minors in order to ice a worse NHL squad?
I don’t believe that to be the case, but I can see the argument.
Both Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford came from a Penguins organization that traditionally let their prospects over-marinate in the minors.
The Canucks, on the other hand, have rushed prospects to the NHL for years.
I don’t think the Canucks are deliberately trying to be worse. What’s more likely is that they want Rathbone, Podkolzin, and Hoglander to dominate down on the farm before re-joining the big club.
For the record, neither Rathbone or Podkolzin are lighting up that sheet right now. Rathbone has three assists in seven AHL games. Podkolzin has two goals and five points in nine games.
Abbotsford has been playing well though, with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games.
“Bulldog” Biega retires
At 34 years old, a former Canucks fan favourite has announced his retirement.
Biega played 179 of his 243 career NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks. He was a fun player to watch during a time when the Canucks were, well, not fun to watch.
In other news...
- There was another retirement announcement yesterday, as White Rock, BC native and former Ottawa Senators legend Andrew Hammond hung ‘em up.
- The Horvat asking price has been reported...should the Bruins pay it? [NBC Sports]
- Speaking of the Bruins, they’ve recorded a point in 19 (!!!!!) straight home games. [NHL]
- Quinn Hughes should be considered an untouchable [The Province]
- The Canadiens are going to honour PK Subban before a game next month [Daily Hive — Offside]