Having talked to a mixture of eight different NHL general managers and agents today, with five more set to get back to us with some verifications by Sunday, the number one sentiment regarding the Vancouver Canucks is “What are they?”
In the context of Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin being open to deals at the moment, other GM’s don’t ultimately care during those discussions “what the Canucks are”, but they are curious. Just like a head coach will say on a daily basis when asked about an opponent, “we’re not worried about them, we’re just worried about taking care of our own game,” opposing GM’s are not too concerned about the Canucks problems, unless of course the player who’s being dealt brings baggage.
A number of clubs will be gathering their pro scouts together for in-person meetings this month prior to the holiday break. They’ll prioritize their options and preferences.
Canucks Fragmented Leadership
One of the intangibles for clubs nosing around Vancouver’s assets relates to leadership, particularly important if the player being considered is a veteran, and if the acquiring club is hoping to make a long playoff run this season.
The Canucks leadership is fragmented. Inconsistent. Cliquey. We’ve heard this before.
So much so that at least two Canucks core stalwarts would be welcome to a change of scenery. Ones that may or may not surprise you. Just know that this is the atmosphere in which they’re operating.
Management needs to make some choices and the sooner the better.
Now As Opposed to Later
Why not wait until the trade deadline? That’s a naive comment often made, but when you speak to managers that have actually played in the league, you’ll hear stories of just how difficult it is to acclimate in the short time period between the deadline and the end of the season. Players leave their families behind, they have to adjust to new systems, communication styles and blend into new dressing rooms. It’s not easy.
It’s “the earlier the better” in most cases for the club acquiring a playoff-bound asset. January for example, after meetings, after the holidays, closer to the midway point, is ideal.
Which means the team moving an asset actually has leverage in this regard on a sliding scale, not just in March.
For a team potentially re-grouping, such as the Canucks, anything earlier can bring about a bit of a public relations problem. That’s why there comes a point when management needs to come clean on intentions. “Who are they” becomes “where are you going and when?” Also, what’s ownership’s level of playoff desperation and does that concept even fit?
The Canucks are getting plenty of calls on Luke Schenn. He’s a right-shot defenceman, a verbal and non-verbal leader, and he’s tough; an “enforcer” by the 2022 standards of that term. Ironic, since these are all things the Canucks need and want in a player.
For management’s declared long-term plans, the obvious caveat is his age. If they can leverage the 33-year-old for a prospect with similar upside, then have at it. Know that it would gut the current line-up, which isn’t a problem unless you believe this current entity is a strong playoff contender.
Unhappy young man. “Fly, be free.”
Leadership? Congeniality? Know that his no-move clause doesn’t kick in until the start of his new contract next summer. He’s two years older than Bo Horvat and his skating is not suddenly going to improve before his contract ends at age 37.
We’ll just leave that here for now.
We’ll cover coaching following Saturday’s must-win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Psuedo Journalism Quote of the Day:
‘Insider’ overheard: “If the Vancouver Canucks are going to trade Bo Horvat, I’d imagine the price would be high, maybe not as much as Chychrun, or maybe more than Chychrun.”
You don’t say. Not sure he had to verify two sources for that nugget.
— Defenceman Jakob Chychrun is in Vancouver on Saturday night with the Coyotes.