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Markus Meyer The Hockey Writers

Published on Monday, April 18, 2016





The Nuck Stops Here: The Blue Line, Loui Eriksson

‘The Nuck Stops Here’ is a Vancouver Canucks news and opinion column running every Sunday throughout the season.


Canucks sign defenceman Troy Stetcher

The following is a press release from the organization:

Vancouver, B.C.  –Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the club has signed defenceman Troy Stecher.

Stecher, 22, recently completed his junior season with the University of North Dakota, leading the Fighting Hawks to their eighth NCAA Championship while being named to the All-Tournament Team. A Second Team West All-American, Stecher led the Fighting Hawks defencemen in goals (8), assists (21), and points (29) this season. His career-high 29 points also ranked him sixth in scoring among NCAA blueliners. The 5-11, 191-pound defenceman has appeared in 119 NCAA games over three seasons for the University of North Dakota where he has collected 53 points (13-40-53).

Prior to his collegiate career, the Richmond, British Columbia native spent three seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He helped the Vees capture the RBC National Junior A Championship in 2012, where he was named the Top Defenceman.

Brendan Gaunce Comets

Canucks reassign Pedan and Gaunce

The following is a press release from the organization:

Vancouver, B.C.  – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have reassigned defenceman Andrey Pedan and forward Brendan Gaunce to the AHL Utica Comets.

Pedan, 22, appeared in 13 games for the Canucks this season, where he recorded at least two hits in each game played and led the team with 3.1 hits per game. He made his NHL debut earlier this season on December 1st at Los Angeles. The 6-4, 213-pound defenceman has also skated in 42 games for the Comets where he has registered 20 points (6-14-20) and 83 penalty minutes.

A native of Moscow, Russia, Pedan was originally selected by the New York Islanders, 63rd overall, at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Gaunce, 21, appeared in 20 games for the Canucks and in 43 games for Utica this season, where he currently ranks fourth among Comets skaters in points (33), second in goals (15) and ranks tied for sixth in assists (18). The 6-2, 207-pound forward made his NHL debut earlier this season on October 29th at Dallas and notched his first career goal the following night at Arizona. A native of Markham, Ontario, Gaunce was originally selected by Vancouver in the first round, 26th overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Daniel Sedin

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Canucks team award winners

The following is a press release from the organization:

Vancouver, B.C. – The Vancouver Canucks announced their annual player awards for the 2015.16 season in a pre-game ceremony before hosting Edmonton for their final game of the season. One special award presentation was made earlier today as players arrived on Pat Quinn Way to meet dedicated fans in the Canucks Fan Zone.

Jannik Hansen was voted by fans as this season’s “Unsung Hero” and presented the Fred J. Hume award by a young fan this afternoon, Mikhail Maliouguine, as players entered Rogers Arena through the Canucks Fan Zone to greet and thank fans for their support. Hansen set career-highs for goals (21) and game-winning-goals (5) in 66 games played.

Daniel Sedin was the recipient of three awards this season; the Cyclone Taylor “Most Valuable Player, Cyrus H. McLean “Leading Scorer” and Three Stars Award for most selections this season. Sedin led the Canucks in scoring with 61 points (28-33-61) through 81 games played.

Ben Hutton was voted by fans as winner of the Walter (Babe) Pratt “Best Defenceman” award in his first NHL season. Hutton is the highest scoring defenceman on the team (1-24-25) and is the first rookie to lead all defencemen in scoring since 1997-98, when Mattias Ohlund scored 30 points in his rookie year.

Bo Horvat is the fan-voted recipient of the Most Exciting Player award, completing his second NHL season with career highs in goals (16), assists (24), points (40), power play points (12), game-winning goals (4), OT goals (1) and shots (152).



(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nikita Tryamkin (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Questions surrounding Canucks blue line

Heading into the off-season, questions remain around the Vancouver blue line, and this year, it’s not about which players they’ll pick up in free agency. Going into next season, with Dan Hamhuis likely leaving the club, the Canucks boast Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Luca Sbisa, Ben Hutton, Nikita Tryamkin, Alex Biega, Andrey Pedan and Philip Larsen as the pieces to work with. With Edler and Tanev making up the top pairing and Hutton playing on the second, these are the only players that look like safe bets to play in those positions. In terms of the #4 slot, it’s still up in the air, as one could argue for Luca Sbisa, the most experienced of the remaining options, or Nikita Tryamkin, who established himself well late this season, as Hutton’s partner. On the bottom pairing, whichever of Sbisa/Tryamkin doesn’t get the no. 4 spot will get an opportunity, while the last selection may come down to training camp. Andrey Pedan, arguably the front runner, has a little bit of NHL experience, while bringing sandpaper and a bit of mobility to the table. Alex Biega has the most experience, and is liked by head coach Willie Desjardins, while Philip Larsen, a deadline pickup currently playing in the KHL, could be the guy due to his alleged puck moving ability. Whatever the case may be, the battles for positioning on the Canucks’ will be an interesting storyline to watch.

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Signing Loui Eriksson not the right call for Canucks

Since the end of the season, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the potential signing of Bruins’ winger Loui Eriksson. Eriksson has been linked to the Canucks for a few years now, since having success with the Sedins at the World Championships a couple of years back, and now, it may just happen. Despite the interest from the Canucks, and the fact that Eriksson had a strong season (30-33-63), signing the 30-year-old forward would be far from a good move for Vancouver. For a team that is trying to get younger, signing a big-name forward that’s likely past his prime makes little-to-no sense, especially when that’s a spot that Jake Virtanen could be in the mix to get. Additionally, signing Eriksson would mean a key power play spot that would be open to a Sven Baertschi, a Bo Horvat or even an Anton Rodin, would be in all likelihood sent his way. One could also make the argument that the cap space spent on Eriksson would be better spent on another area: defense. While they already boast an abundance of fringe NHL defencemen, as covered above, signing a big-name top-4 would, while not ideal, make more sense than signing a top-six forward. With the Canucks now entering full-on rebuild mode, signing Loui Eriksson makes no sense for this team, and would generally go against everything they’ve preached about a rebuild or a youth movement heading into 2016-17.


Fun links about the Vancouver Canucks from all around the internet

The most intriguing draft position for the Canucks might just be at 4th overall [Vancouver Sun]

The Canucks will have to suffer a bit before things get better [The Globe and Mail]

Ryan Miller was let down by his team this year, and now he no longer fits on to this roster [National Post]

A profile for potential Canucks draft pick Pierre-Luc Dubois [The Canuck Way]

Pierre McGuire on TSN 1040, saying Thatcher Demko needs to “redefine his game” and “get stronger”. [TSN 1040]


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