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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: Ch-ch-ch-changes Edition

New Assistant coaches, and signings galore, and that means it’s time to gather the troops for a new Round Table.

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Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks

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.

Summer’s here, and that means that the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and free agency are just around the corner. It’s already been a busy summer for the Canucks, so let’s ask the NM writing staff how they feel about the moves so far, and ones that could go down in the coming weeks.

Vegas Golden Knights v Vancouver Canucks

1. Big news breaking on Canada Day that the Canucks have locked up Brock Boeser to a 3-year, $19.95 Million deal. Thoughts on the deal?

Westy - I understand this deal from Brock’s point of view. 3 years of guaranteed money. I’m not sure what happens next for the Canucks though. Is Miller gone because of this? Is this a friendly deal so Boeser can be traded? I have been saying that Brock should be traded for quite a while. From a stat point of view, Brock has never played more than 71 games and never broke 60 points. Don’t start with projected stats over 82 games as it’s moot if he doesn’t play 82 games. I guess the Canucks gamble is that Brock will turn into a 30+ goal scoring...stay more physical....and if he doesn’t this year or next, they can trade his friendly short contract.

jimmi - Had hoped this brief respite from the icy words of uncommon sense would give Westy a chance to stop stealing my lunch opinions. JR has proclaimed the Nucks must get faster and faster. I really like Brock, but can he get his skating up to speed? Probably not. Is this signing at a million below what could have been, the skateboard of hope we need at the next TDL? Probably not. Will Brock score 30+ goals? Probably. Just not for us. Does this mean JT is on the auction block? Probably. Can I answer my own rhetorical questions correctly? Probably not.

Beggsy - Looks like we have a couple of Debbie Downers above me...I love this deal for both the Canucks and Boeser. Boeser spent his first four NHL seasons scoring at a first-line rate at even-strength. Last year was likely an anomaly, and betting on him to bounce-back, while inking him to a deal that isn’t a one-year, $7.5 schmil qualifying offer, is another win for Patrik Allvin.

Kent - Overall, I think this deal works for both sides. I think a lot of people are forgetting or at the least discounting, what Boeser’s had to endure over the past three years. He came off a pretty severe back injury, got COVID, and has had to deal with the stress of his father’s illness. That’s a lot to bear, and I don’t doubt it affected his performance. The team believes in him, and I think this is a fair deal that gives him the opportunity to show he is who they thought he is.

Markus - I think this is a solid, win-win deal. The Canucks get a core player on an affordable deal for a few years, while Boeser gets fair compensation and a not-too-long contract to possibly springboard himself into something bigger. I could easily see Boeser having a big rebound year. so I think this is tidy work across the board.

Philadelphia Flyers v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

2. The coaching staff changes continue as Trent Cull gets a promotion from Abbotsford, and the Canucks add Mike Yeo as assistants. They’ve also named former Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton as the new bench boss in Abbotsford. Do you like these additions?

Westy - The better question is do the players like these additions. I can see the defensive change with Yeo. Not sure what system he will bring in, but I hope the push-forward Bruce style doesn’t change too much. I’m not sure what Cull brings to the table. Colliton is an unknown as well as the Blackhawks team he coached never wanted him.

jimmi - Yee-oowzers! That’s a lot of changes behind the bench. Bruce got the guy he wanted as top senior assistant, so that’s good. Probably. But yikes! Drama queen!

Trent, our AHL coach did well with Abby - sort of. But so did Green, so Westy’s withering heights gaze will be upon him.

Crawford is the new video coach - no, not that Crawford - the other one, Dylan Crawford - Marc’s son. It’s a vital position. As we saw from T-Bay, video challenges win championships.

Beggsy - Reports suggest that the Canucks didn’t want to lose Brad Shaw, but he was wooed by the allure of John Tortorella (and a hefty four-year contract).

I’m firmly in the wait-and-see camp for these moves. Allvin and company clearly dipped back into old connections here. I never liked Mike Yeo (or his shenanigans) as a head coach, but he did win a Cup as an assistant in Pittsburgh.

Jeremy Colliton had success coaching Allvin’s former club, Mora IK, in the Allsvenskan. I think he was over his head with the Chicago Blackhawks but I’m curious to see how the baby Canucks perform under his watch.

I also have mixed thoughts on Trent Cull’s work down in Utica, but I liked how he basically called out the Benning regime for rushing young players to the NHL. He gets a mulligan.

Kent- I have some concerns. Mike Yeo’s record isn’t bad per se, a .542 win percentage is okay, and he’s had a winning record everywhere except Philadelphia which was, to be fair, a pretty crappy team. We’ll have to see how it goes, but his record of flaming out after a while is a little worrying. As far as Cull, again, decent record in the AHL, but his usage of players at times in Abbotsford was something that has been an issue. He’s not the head coach, though, so perhaps under Bruce’s wing, he develops into a better coach.

The Colliton hiring was a little surprising, but I think maybe the AHL, and a chance to develop the talent on the farm, might be more to his skill set as a coach.

Markus - I don’t have any particularly strong thoughts here, despite the big names involved. I think Cull is better suited to an assistant’s position than an AHL head coach job. I was never especially impressed by him and his reliance on veterans, but maybe that translates better to an NHL gig. I think Colliton was in a bit of a bad situation in Chicago, so I’m intrigued to see how he does. In terms of Yeo, eh, I've never been big on him but the league seems to think highly of him as an assistant, so I’m more than fine with it. Too bad to see Shaw go, but I'm not sure it will make a huge difference.

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks

3. Another signing was the announcement of a one-way deal for Jack Rathbone. Is he ready for a full-time NHL role? Is there anyone else from Abby that needs a long look this fall?

Westy - I think Rathbone will be given every opportunity to make the team. I hope the coaching staff has the patience to let him make lots of mistakes. I think this might be the year that the decision will be made on Jett Woo as well. Not much offence from him in Abbotsford and there are still questions about many areas of his play.

jimmi - This a good move. We need some upgrades or at least the hope of upgrades on D. Still disappointed our new Trader-Jim hasn’t snagged Makar - imagine Cale and Huggie together on the breakout.

Beggsy - I think he could have stuck around in the NHL this season. His defensive game still needs work, but this is a smart bet on a player who seems destined to outperform his contract.

In terms of anyone else from Abby making a the Canucks even have any prospects left in Abbotsford?

Kent- Rathbone played well enough to make the team last year in my opinion, but was a victim of the numbers and some guys who simply weren’t a better option (looking at you, Travis Hamonic and Tucker Poolman). With a situation where the roster spot is his to lose, and given the way he played when called up to finish out the season, I think Rathbone becomes a big part of the Canucks D for the new era.

Markus - I thought he looked okay this year in his stint, though not amazing. His skating will be a huge asset. I fully expect him to be a regular, and if not, I’d start to get a bit concerned quite honestly. I don’t think anyone else is all that intriguing. Does Woo play a game maybe? The blue line pipeline is a massive concern that I hope is addressed this off-season. And not with AHL tweezers. With actual, legit prospects.

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

4. J.T. Miller is as good as gone with the re-signing of Boeser. Is it a done deal, or can GM Patrik Allvin work some magic to give them the room to re-sign Miller?

Westy - Emotional Canuck fans want Miller here. Logic shows he was the best player last year and would still be a very good player at 80 points next year. If you believe that the Canucks are building for 2-3 years down the road, then you get rid of Miller now. His contract next year will be too high for the Canucks unless you get rid of a $6 million/yr player. And the only realistic player than could be traded is the newly-signed Boeser. I have no issue with Miller being traded for the right package of players and picks.

jimmi - Unemotional Nucking fans want JT traded for uncertain picks. And Cale Makar. Whatever team gets JT will instantly improve. Assuming it’s October already. Uncertain if JT will be traded on the draft floor (probably) or at the TDL (probably) unless the Nucks are leading the division - then it’s all in and we’ll feel silly for trading Demmers for Makar in the summer.

Beggsy - I still don’t believe Miller is as good as gone...but the odds certainly lean that way. The Fiala trade set another barometer for a Miller return. Vancouver should snag at least a mid-first rounder, a quality prospect and a decent young NHLer in return.

In the short term, it will be fascinating (and perhaps a bit daunting) to see how the Canucks carry themselves without Miller. Lost in all the potential trade hoopla is that Miller was the Canucks’ driving force last season.

Kent- Is it possible the Canucks make a deal that gives them the cap flexibility to keep Miller? Sure. Arizona’s rumoured to be looking to add cap money, and you know they’d take Ekman-Larsson back in a heartbeat. There are also some other potential moves they could make that, combined with a bit of a hometown discount, would keep Miller here. Do I think it will happen? No. I think the team and player both know he’s an extremely valuable commodity, and there are teams out there willing to give him stupid money and hand over part of their future to get him as a part of their efforts to win now. With a management team that knows what the meaning of the word ‘future’ is, they’re going to be looking big picture on this and all other moves, unlike the near decade of the inconceivable ‘win now’ mentality of the previous crew. The future could be brighter without Miller, and it would suck, because there’s so much to like about him. At the end of the day though, what is best for the team is what needs to happen.

Markus - Barring some miracle contract, I think JT Is gone. and that is fine. Again, he had a great year. He was a great soldier, and he has a tremendous skill set. The contract he will more than likely demand simply does not make sense for the Canucks’ window. JT Miller in his mid-30s at $8 million (or that ballpark) will, in all likelihood, be poor value when the Canucks should be optimizing their opportunities. It makes no sense, and I suspect this management group has the foresight to maximize Miller’s value (maybe to fix the aforementioned blue line pipeline).

Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks

5. The Sedins and Luongo going to the Hall of Fame, a prized KHL free agent choosing the Canucks, Boeser re-upping on a decent deal? Is it freaking you out that things seem to be going so well right now?

Westy - The Hall of Fame selections are surprising because they were first-year selections. I was expecting a snub. I am not sure how Kuz will do in Canada and in the NHL of play. And my concerns about Boeser are mentioned above, so I am not sure how “good” things are right now. Ask me at the end of October.

jimmi - Thrilled with the Twins receiving the acknowledgment they deserve - albeit a decade late. Happy as I can be about Lu Sucky Contract being inducted to the HoF while still (almost) on the Nucks payroll.

Not freaking out about how ‘well’ things seem to be going. And not cowering under JB’s money-stained free agent beach towel either. Most relaxing summer in years.

Still... summer has traditionally been the high season for Nucking hope - for decades. Ask me at the end of November.

Beggsy - It’s summer baby, life is good.

Also, it’s funny how life just magically improves without Jim Benning...

Kent- I’ve said all along it would be madness if the Sedins didn’t get in on the first ballot, and that goes for Luongo. And Lu won’t be taking that contract with him, Jimmi. It’s done, and the Canucks are free, apart from just under $2 Million for Braden Holtby and a half mil for he who shall not be named. They’re going to have to shift out some salary though because there are still some guys who need to be re-upped. Alex Chiasson and Juho Lammikko both earned a shot at new deals and I would be happy to see them back in the same role as last season. Matthew Highmore? If it’s a cheap deal, fine, he was alright in a 4th line role. One thing to watch is Michael DiPietro. He’s an RFA, and I won’t be surprised to see him traded, leaving a pretty deep void in terms of goaltending prospects. The cupboard is still pretty bare, folks. Oh, and it was great to see a player turn down a chance to roll with McDavid and Draisaitl to be a Canuck. It’s a low-risk gamble for the Canucks that not only could pay off, but will help Vasily Podkolzin as well. There’s hope for the future, even if the hard work is still to come.

Markus - Yeah, honestly, it’s good to be a Canucks fan these days. I echo Beggsy — what a weird coincidence that when Benning leaves, life gets better! Let’s be real — the Sedins were easy first-ballot Hall of Famers, and Lounge perhaps was even more so. It’s incredible to see them get in, and Canucks fans should all be super proud of this HHOF class. Maybe next year the Canucks theme continues with Alex Mogilny?