Disclaimer: This is not a slam piece or an “attack.” I am making a case against keeping two, valuable pieces at the expense of the future of this organisation, which should take precedence above all else.
I have been mulling over writing this post for the last four years for the most part. But what better place than in the midst of a six-game slide? Sentimentality is great, and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However, when you’re still Cup-less and are on a downward trend, its useless and does nothing but hold organisations back.
My original goal with this post was to put in at least a dozen hours of research and really make my case. Although, life has gotten in the way, but there is enough in the recent news to justify my position. It’s time to trade the Sedins, for a variety of reasons.
The Sedins are each making $7m a season for this year and next. Currently this team has $1,877,014 in cap space, on a team with a -10 Goal Differential after 10 GP this season. Last year they finished five points ahead of the Oilers, and six points ahead of the Maple Leafs, while finishing dead last in Goal Differential with a -52. My point being, how are their team leading points helping out?
Next year Gudbranson, Tryamkin, Hutton, Gaunce, and Rodin will all be RFAs. Now, according to Cap Friendly, the Canucks will have $20,730,833 in cap space, which is nice, however, if this team keeps up its current trajectory, it will need every dime to ice a competent team. Also, I am not insinuating that entire $20m+ will be spent on those RFAs, but for a team this bad, why spend to the cap when you don’t have to?
More money will also be needed to sign future contracts to current prospects. Demko, Boeser, Stecher and others will potentially need larger contracts in the near future, so carrying extra money will come in handy. There is already fear of being able to keep guys like Stecher, although for other reasons outside of just money.
The main point here is a lack of money this season, is a lack of flexibility with the future. This team can’t afford to have zero flexibility with their future.
The best way to help a lot of these younger guys develop into full time NHLers is ice time. Virtanen has already been told he has to earn time, while others have it handed to them by just being in the league. While Bo Horvat’s progress seems to be going well, the next step is getting him on the ice for Offensive Zone face-offs. This is tough when the Sedins have been getting all the looks.
Again, whats the point of giving the Sedins all the Offensive Zone time? They’re 36 years old. What is better for the future? People are complaining because Jack Skille is getting more time than younger guys and he’s only 29. Now the Canucks are better than Skille for sure, but what good is that doing? Oh instead of finishing third to last in 2015-2016 they would have finished dead last? That would have been embarrassing!
The future of this team is what should be focused on, but for some reason two 36-year olds are being prioritized over the guys who we have been sold as the foundation over the next few years. The way this Front Office handles their statements, we’re going to hear the excuse of “Well they didn’t get enough ice time during their early years.”
I’m sure people are going to think I am going to bash Henrik as a weak leader, but I’m not. I just don’t think he is a very effective one. You never hear the stories of Henrik pulling people aside, or spending extra time with some of the younger guys. Maybe those are out there and I am just missing them, but I would think if he is doing something like that it would be more publicized.
Your best player doesn’t necessarily need to be your leader, and often times isn’t. Look at the Kings for example, or the Blackhawks for example. While Toews is very good, he and Kane had the same timeline of development. Toews was chosen because he exuded leadership qualities. He was vocal, he motivated his teammates. The Sedins show the same emotion whether its before a preseason game, or Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
I can’t imagine their post-game interviews are very motivating either. I can’t imagine many other captains in the NHL saying their team, which is in a six-game slide, played “well enough to win the game,” after just being shut out for the third time in that skid. He doesn’t need to throw guys under the bus, but I’ve said it before, I can pretty much recreate every Sedin post-game interview. It doesn’t instill belief in me that this team will turn it around, and I can’t imagine it does for some of the guys who have been there for a couple years or more.
Scotty Bowman was not a sentimental coach when it came to winning. When Martin Lapointe got a generous offer from the Boston Bruins they let him walk. And as a Detroit Tigers fan, trust me it wasn’t because Mike Illitch (Tigers and Red Wings owner) is cheap. This is before the salary cap, and Illitch was never cheap with home-grown guys. It was because Lapointe had scored 27 goals the year before, and Scotty Bowman knew he could find those elsewhere, for cheaper and have money to address other needs.
Same goes for the Boston Bruins in the early 2000s. Their captain, and a guy synonymous with the franchise, as well as a sure Hall of Famer, Ray Bourque was traded to the Avalanche. Now you can say it was so he could win a Cup, which is why he requested it. However, the Bruins received three players and a first-round pick in return for a 39 year-old Defenceman. The Bruins also realized they weren’t going anywhere with their current team, and this served several purposes for them.
The Canucks have to focus on the future. The Sedins had their time, and they almost made it to the promise land, but they didn’t. This team is not anywhere close to competing in the next three to four years, when they will be 40 years old.
I don’t hate the Sedins, I actually rather like them, and always will for what they’ve contributed to this team, and its history. However, I was a fan of the Canucks before them, and I will remain a fan of them long after the Sedins playing days are over. I’m just not understanding how keeping them on this team is benefiting the organisation on any level.
If we’re seeing the future foundations of this team, they need the time to develop and gain valuable experience. Playing behind two, aging and declining guys serves no purpose except to make everyone feel good when they eventually retire and we can all say “Isn’t it great they spent their entire career here?” Then we can add two more banners to the rafters that contain zero Stanley Cup banners, but hey at least we’ll feel good about it.