It’s time for another edition of the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable. We get our writers together and ask them a number of questions about the state of this team we’ve been cursed to follow. Sometimes they play it straight, sometimes it’s Westy and Jimmi, but you’ll always get the unvarnished opinions on the Canucks here.
1- The Canucks are far closer to a berth in the post-season than anyone thought at the start of December when they did their management and coaching purge. New GM Patrick Allvin has a mess to clean up, but also has to try and balance needs for the future as well as the rest of the season. Can they sort of go for it, or should they stay firm in the knowledge that the future needs outweigh the present?
jimmi - No sorting. All going. With some roster tweaks and cattle prodding just before the first drop.
We can’t be sure there’s going to be a ‘next’ season thanks to Ovi’s mad dictator bestie.
Beggsy - The smart thing to do would be to ignore a playoff push and keep an eye on the future. Hey, look at the Anaheim Ducks, who are one point behind Vancouver, but just got a good return (RHD Drew Helleson and a 2nd round pick in ‘23) for Josh Manson.
Westy - Don’t change a thing until the draft. Not a thing. Unless you get two first round picks for Miller.
Rob - The team that Benning built has a .681 points percentage since Bruce took over which would place them fifth overall in the NHL standings right now. Clearly the coach was the problem not the roster. The Rutherford group would be wise to let things unfold without messing with the team’s chemistry right now. After all the talk of selling, it wouldn’t surprise me if Trader Jim 2.0 and his crew stand pat and sign Tyler Motte to a reasonable third liner contract extension.
Kent- Man, I honestly don’t envy Jim Rutherford, Patrik Allvin and the management team and the work they have to do over the next few days. There are some tough choices that need to be made, as offers will be coming in for players like JT Miller, Conor Garland and Tyler Motte. I think what’s best is to not make the mistake that Benning did when the Canucks were able to play their way into the pandemic playoffs a couple seasons ago. Now is not the time to go for it, and they’re likely going to be able to make better moves come the draft and free agency time than now. Unless a deal comes along that is a clear win not just now, but down the road for the Canucks, they may just have to go to a potential playoff date with the horses that got them here.
2- Who’s the Canuck most likely to get dealt on Monday?
jimmi - Most likely or one we’d most like to trade? Assume it’s the latter and it’s Brock. Perhaps a Marino for Brock to keep it in the family. Brock has embraced the shooter role, but appears to have regressed on the defensive side. And he’s slow and JR likes fast.
So... they’ll probably trade Motte and we can start a new NM Trader-Jim support group - lots of leftover empties we can use for tear trays and gnashed teeth storage.
Beggsy - Readers will hate this answer, but I’ll say no one off of the main roster gets traded before Monday. Hope I’m wrong.
Westy - If you trade one, you might as well trade a few more. Myers contract would be something I would like to trade, but not necessarily him.
Rob - Tyler Motte is the most likely one to be traded due to his pending UFA status. However, I think an extension gets hammered out for him in the next couple of days.
Kent- As much as I hate the thought, I agree with Rob in that Motte is a target of teams looking to add depth, and he’s so damn affordable as a rental. The question is: Do the Canucks know what they have in him?
Will Tyler Motte be a Canuck after Monday?
This poll is closed
3- It’s insanely quiet leading up to the deadline, but a rash of injuries are creating situations for a full-on frenzy. Who do you see in the Western Conference that goes all in on changes?
jimmi - Are you talking about Pete?! He’s listed as day-to-day. He’ll be back on Tuesday. Or next season. If there is one.
Other teams having liaisons with the injury faeries? Avs are looking to pull a T-Bay — but who wants to play along? Habs? Sens?
Beggsy - Avs and Flames have already made their moves. I think St. Louis and Minnesota are two other teams in the West who will look to add before the deadline.
Westy - I’m surprised Vegas hasn’t done anything considering how bad they have been. But I guess they are hoping the curse of Eichel isn’t real.
Rob - I can see the Los Angeles Kings trading some of their future pieces to give their veteran core one last kick at the can.
Kent- Well, we’ve already seen Colorado make two deals, and they are far from done, as it’s looking like they’re amassing cap space to bring Claude Giroux over from Philadelphia. I can see Minnesota and Nashville trying to make some changes that can push them over the edge, and the Oilers are going to have to do something about their goaltending and defence. Add in the panic buying of Vegas as they try to avoid the inevitable and it should be an entertaining day in the West.
4- And who do you see in the East going nuts on Monday?
jimmi - Habs? Sens? Oh right... already going nuts with the Avs.
Maybe the Laffs make a play for a good goalie. Just kidding. They want another soft forward who can score. Philadelphia probably makes a play for Giroux - or the Avs do.
Beggsy - Tampa seems destined to weasel around the cap system and add another piece. Could it be Tyler Motte? I also think the Bruins would like to add some offensive punch with Bergeron and Marchand seemingly keeping their pint-sized Cup window open.
Westy - I would think Toronto needs to do something, but then again they have those 3 contracts that stop anything big.
Rob - I think Florida will make a substantial upgrade or two to their line-up.
Kent- The East is basically decided already, so I would expect Boston and Washington to try and shake things up in the hopes of having a chance of getting out of the first round. Florida is convinced their time is now, and will tweak, and Toronto has to get a goalie or they’re going out in Round One again.
5- And finally, there are three games left until the deadline, let’s have your predictions on how the Canucks do, please.
jimmi - I predict they win - at least the 2 MUST WIN games. Except there are now
4 3 MUST WIN games in order to achieve the 5-2 record that we democratically agreed was the minimum win record for this homestand. They MUST WIN them all - not a prediction - an imperative.
Ok, fine. They could also get away with a 4-1-2 record. But that’s it. We want 10!
The key to 10 will be how well the Nucks can play in the first 5-10 minutes of each game. I can’t predict how they will solve their slow start issues, only offer solutions.*
One option is full contact warmups. Hit the visiting teams fast and hard when they least expect it. Probably bounce a few refs around just to keep them in check as well. Another option is clog up the net for the first 10 minutes - then blame the officials for not clearing 250,000 used WWE rubber masks and belts from the net.
Could also pretend the pro NHL hockey players of the Canucks know the importance of starting fast and hard by equipping the bench with 23 personalized remote-controlled whoopee cattle-prod cushions. In conjunction with NM-operated electric ‘motivators’ embedded in certain padded areas of the player’s gear.
*Or... the Nucks could start like they just did against the Devils. But still... could be useful to keep those remote-control motivators handy.
Beggsy - I said in our last roundtable that they need to beat New Jersey, Detroit and Buffalo on this homestand. That’s the bare minimum needed.
After seeing the Canucks lose two straight, the fear has to be that the Canucks just barely cling onto their playoff hopes by the end of the deadline, stand pat, and then lose a bunch of games as the schedule gets tougher after March 21st.
That would be peak Canucks.
Westy - They can’t lose another game outright on the homestand.
Rob - They’ll sweep all three. This team is headed to the playoffs and will do some damage.
Kent- Having dealt with the Devils, they now face Detroit, Calgary and Buffalo. They should win over Detroit, no question. The Flames will be looking for payback after being utterly embarrassed by the Canucks a couple weeks back, and Buffalo will have a tired Canucks team to play on Sunday. They better beat the Flames because that Sabres game worries the heck outta me.