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Nucks Misconduct Roundtable: Breakout Candidates Edition

The Nucks Misconduct crew takes time off from the summer slacking to reconvene on another roundtable.

NHL: APR 14 Coyotes at Canucks
Vancouver Canucks Left Wing Vasily Podkolzin (92) celebrates after teammate Canucks Left Wing Sheldon Dries (51) scores a goal against the Arizona Coyotes during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on April 14, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

NHL News is quiet this time of the year, but summer slacking is coming to a close, and training camps are now just one month away.

Let’s see if we can pull the NM team away from drinks by the (kiddie) pools to reconvene once again.

New Jersey Devils v Vancouver Canucks
Is Nils Hoglander (left) ready to surprise fans with a breakout season?
Getty Images

1. Thanks for checking in, comrades. Give me your breakout candidate among Canucks’ players for 2022-23.

Westy - Can I set the lineup myself? Mikheyev will be given every opportunity to play with top-line guys to try and justify the contract so he better be the breakout player. Other than him, I would love to see Podz get going. Of course, that would mean one of the higher-paid wingers is sucking. Never a silver lining.

Markus - I think the easy answer is Podkolzin, given the strides he took late last year and how well-rounded he became. So he’s probably my answer, but I will also say keep an eye on Jack Rathbone. I think he could emerge as a real difference maker, particularly given his unique skillset (on the Canucks, anyways) as a dynamic skater.

Beggsy - Well gents, Podkolzin is an easy answer, but Kuzmenko is the easier answer.

We obviously have no idea what we’re going to get from the 26-year-old rookie, but I love this low-risk gamble by Canucks management, and I’d wager that he finishes with more points than Mikheyev or Podkolzin.

Kent- I think there are a few interesting possibilities here for the Canucks. The first one that comes to mind is Nils Hoglander. After a promising rookie campaign, Hoglander’s sophomore season was a huge disappointment. I would expect to see him try and put that in the rearview mirror and let us see more of what we got from him a couple seasons earlier. Jack Rathbone is second on my list. With a chance to battle for a slot on the Canucks’ third pairing, he’ll be up against a seasoned NHL vet in Travis Dermott. Rathbone wants to prove he can stick with the big club, and this will be something to watch from training camp onward. And finally, Linus Karlsson has been putting in the work and is ready to show he can make the leap to the big time. Could he surprise people and make the roster?

jimmi - This is easy. Petey. We have long forgotten his tepid start to last season (thanks, wrist-faeries). This season will be his breakout season. 1000+ points is my expectation. Adjusted for inflation.

NHL: APR 09 Sharks at Canucks
Should the Canucks load up their top pair with Quinn Hughes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (pictured) next season.
Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2. Markus recently wrote a good article, asking who the Canucks’ fourth defencemen is. I want to put a different spin on this by asking...who should play with Quinn Hughes next season?

Westy - I can’t believe the amount of people who voted for Luke Schenn. I like the guy, but come the fuck on. Schenn is a band-aid 4th defenseman when the injury fairies go all John Wick on the defensive core. The fight might be between Dermott and Rathbone...unless Poolman and his contract are healthy.

Markus - Yeah, the Schenn Train I think has gotten a tad out of control (sorry, readers, but come on). He’s perfectly competent as an emergency four, but nothing more than that on a regular basis. I honestly think they’ll try OEL on his right side and slot in someone else with Tyler Myers. Will it work? Who knows. If not him, I think Dermott gets a long look. I think it could work, seeing as he can keep up with Hughes. Or maybe they’ll default to Myers. I think it’s a very open question, but yeah, my money is Ekman-Larsson.

Beggsy - My guess for the Schenn love is that Bruce Boudreau is a big NM fan, and voted for Schenn 78 times.

In all seriousness, I hope Travis Dermott gets a long look to play alongside Quinn Hughes next season. He has the defensive awareness and puck-moving ability to exceed while playing next to Hughes. Schenn is tough which is fine, but Hughes would benefit from playing alongside a better puck mover.

Kent- Sure, Dermott will get the look, but I agree with Markus in getting OEL to switch sides and roll with Hughes. Luke Schenn is a great in-the-room guy, but he’s not a top-four defenceman in a normal, non-catastrophic injury situation.

jimmi - I do not care where Schenn slots in. Just as long as Myers and OEL are not playing together. And why is no one at Nucking HQ making the move to add Makar? Some say it’s because of contracts. Others say, get better contract lawyers.

3. It’s been so long since we talked about JT Miller...give me your prediction on what happens with him over the next 12 months.

Westy - The beaten-down Canuck fan in me says that Miller gets hurt and we get diddly-squat for him at the deadline, ala “the Vrbata-Hamhuis debacle”. The other scary version is Allvin feels the pressure to sign him to a too long, too much contract. Realistically, I think he gets the team a player and a 2nd rounder at the deadline, after he states he wants out during the year.

Markus - I’m going to try and be optimistic and say I think he’s gone by the time the regular season starts. It’s just such an untenable situation! Imagine, he stays, he’s great, the team is on the bubble, they keep him after the deadline, they barely miss, and he’s gone for nothing. This is maybe even the median outcome! I just really don’t see how keeping him or an extension works well, and I think you’re playing with big fire hoping you can maximize value at the deadline (maybe he won’t be a point a game guy again, folks). I hope JR and Patrik are smart enough to realize that something simply needs to get done, and I think it will (though the Dobson extension was tragic news for that pipe dream).

Beggsy - I think most of the fanbase has been surprised with how quietly conservative the Allvin/Rutherford tenure has been through their first 8 months.

It’s abundantly clear that the Canucks already missed their best two chances to trade JT Miller, both at last year’s trade deadline and at the draft. The market for forwards has softened, as we saw with both the Johnny Gaudreau signing and Jonathan Huberdeau trade.

Westy might be right about his 2023 deadline package for Miller, but I predict worse. The Canucks hang onto Miller as their own playoff rental, and lose him for nothing next offseason.

Kent- I still think he goes to the Islanders. Crazy Lou is under a TON of pressure after being one of the teams that did less than the Canucks this offseason, and a deal to bring in Miller would, with the right package, benefit both teams immensely. Miller’s a great guy, and a hell of a player, and I would rather the Canucks be in a situation to keep him, but their past is continuing to plague them, so for the future of this club, they’re gonna have to move him at some point.

jimmi - Mr. Miller is still driving the Nucking bus. But with Petey bagging over 500 points by the TDL, Alvin and the other chipmunks will finally seize the day and/or player - Makar for Miller is a match made in solar-enriched fever dreams.

Tampa Bay Lightning Boat Parade
Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning is sprayed with champagne during the boat parade to celebrate the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup July 12, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

4. What’s your go-to summer drink?

Westy - Summer? Not where I am. All this fucking rain. Jimmi would insert a rum drink here, but I save that for the season. A glass of red usually works for me......or rum punch. I guess Jimmi’s perception came from somewhere.

Markus - I’m a simple man. I like a good Kokanee or a rum and coke. Non-alcoholic, I cannot recommend Dr. Pepper Cream Soda Zero Sugar highly enough. I discovered this year in the USA, and folks, it rocks.

Beggsy - I’m not much of a pop guy, but Dr. Pepper and Cream Soda? That’s the love child of my two favourite sodas...

Give me a bitter, hoppy IPA any day of the week. All of my friends who think that’s gross can get bent.

Kent- First, our apologies for Beggsy’s horrifying admission. We had no idea, and we’re so, so sorry. I’m not particularly picky when it comes to beer apart from knowing that IPA’s are an abomination. I do enjoy the IRON MAIDEN Trooper, and Smithwicks (Lager from Ireland) is also pretty decent. As far as non-alcoholic drinks, I rarely drink pop, but Pineapple Bubly is nice on a hot day.

jimmi - This hot dry summer on the wet coast has been vital to my deteriorating deck and wood butchery skills. So many hot-hazy days working to turn the tide of wood rot, water + gravity is relentless and sneaky. As a consolation to the inevitable loss of reno sanity, discovered an affordable, tasty red (Quid Pro Quo - Portugal). Still puts it at the higher end of our new luxury lifestyle - food and shelter.

Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks
Kevin Bieksa hugs Henrik Sedin near Daniel Sedin during a ceremony celebrating their careers as Vancouver Canucks on February 12, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada.
Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

5. If you had to spend seven days on a deserted island with any Canuck (past or present) who would it be?

Westy - Bieksa. Until he beats the crap out of me for saying his skating was always suspect. I think event occurs on day 2 when Kev gets cranky because I have eaten all the food easily available to us.

Markus - Markus Naslund, so we can bond over our cool ass name.

Beggsy - Bieksa and Burrows are the two most obvious answers for me. Give me the dragon slayer for some solid deserted island entertainment.

Kent- John Garrett, because a) the stories would help pass the time, and b) the guy’s gonna have a stash of ketchup with him, and that’ll make whatever there is to eat palatable.

jimmi - I like Westy’s choice for Juice. The bruises and facial scarring would be offset by the biting wit. However, I would choose the Sedins. They’re smart, funny and full of great stories. Have proven to get along with each other. This would give me time to mend the deck - using only palm leaves and false Nucking hope as Kent would ensure my deck is the desert island. The Twins are good swimmers, right?