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  • Kyle Welsford

Player Grades 2022-2023

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Report Card


Grading Scheme:


A: Exceptional, Fantastic, Great

B: Good, Solid, Quality

C: Average, Ordinary, Meh

D: Bad, Poor, unsatisfactory

F: Terrible, Fail, Insignificant

N/A: Incomplete


Grades are based on Point Production, Usage, Value In Relation To The Cap, Overall Expectations, and How I Feel


Minimum Requirements: 10+ Games Played


In order of Games Played

 

Travis Dermott: C-

Last year’s rank: B


GP 11 G 1 A 0 TP 1 +/- (-4)


After being acquired at last season’s deadline for a third-round pick, Dermott played 17 games down the stretch and showed well. Many thought he would slot in on a bottom pair this season or at the very least be in the mix; however, numerous injuries derailed his season.


Dermott played in only 11 games during a 1-month span (Dec 29-Jan 25) where he put up one point and was a minus 4. While we didn’t see Dermott much this season, in the games we did, it was clear that other defensemen surpassed him on the depth chart as he only averaged 13 minutes and 45 seconds of ice time. He is an RFA, but I would not be surprised to see him on a new team next year as the Canucks have a gluttony of left-handed defensemen who are younger and have more potential.


Patrik Alvin and Co spent a 2022 third-round pick to acquire Travis Dermott so I am intrigued whether this regime can swallow its pride and move on quickly.


 

Jack Rathbone: C+

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 11 G 1 A 1 TP 2 +/- (-1)


After a stellar AHL campaign in 2021-2022 where Jack put up 40 points in 39 games at the age of 22, many thought he was poised to take that next step and become a full-time NHLer. Rathbone got an earnest chance early in the season to show he belonged in the NHL but failed to move the needle and was sent down to the minors. His season went from bad to worse in early January as Rathbone was on the tail end of a scary hit which sent him off on a stretcher. Concerningly, he suffered a similar incident only 11 months prior which also sent him off on a stretcher…


Rathbone returned to the ice after only missing 1 month and was called up in late March, playing 5 games for Rick Tocchet. He registered only 1 point under Tocchet, a nice one-time goal against Dallas. He played extremely sheltered minutes for Tocchet as he averaged under 13 minutes a game, but didn't look out of place when on the ice and received second-unit powerplay time.


Rathbone is under contract for next season in what will be a make-or-break year for the soon-to-be 24-year-old.


 

Noah Juulsen: C+

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 12 G 0 A 0 TP 0 +/- (+1)


Noah Juulsen was one of 16 defensemen to play for the Canucks this season as the injury bug struck the team late. Primarily playing in the AHL, Juulsen suited up for only 12 games averaging just shy of 15 minutes of ice time. While not registering a point, Juulsen filled in admirably as he displayed his physicality regularly and showed the ability to play on the penalty kill. Unfortunately, his speed is below average making him vulnerable to getting beat on the outside.


Juulsen is an RFA this offseason and for a team with limited right-handed defensemen in the system, you would think the Canucks would be eager to resign the 26-year-old. Overall, Juulsen is a solid AHL player who has the ability to play in a pinch.


 

Tanner Pearson: C-

Last year’s rank: B


GP 14 G 1 A 4 TP 5 +/- (-9)


I was tempted to exclude Pearson due to the serious complications from his injury and resulting surgeries, but the reality is he played 14 games healthy and was a non-factor. In 14 games averaging only 13:30 of ice time, he was a dreadful minus 9 and had a lacklustre 5 points.


Pearson has 1 more year left at 3.25AAV, but complications from his surgeries have already put next season in doubt. We may never see Pearson in a Canucks uniform again... You got to feel for him, and I hope he has a speedy and full recovery.


 

Vitali Kravstov: C

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 16 G 1 A 1 TP 2 +/- (-3)


Vitali Kravstov was acquired from the Rangers a week before the trade deadline for Will Lockwood and a 2026 7th-round pick. Kravstov was a former high-round draft pick as he was selected 9th overall in 2018, only two selections behind Quinn Hughes. He struggled to find a role with the Rangers as he only played 48 games for them throughout two seasons and to create cap space to facilitate the looming Patrick Kane trade, he was shipped off to Vancouver.


Kravstov played up in down the lineup for the Canucks and was often featured on the second-unit powerplay. Much like his tenure with the Rangers, Kravstov failed to be an everyday NHL player only putting up 2 points in 16 games and was scratched down the stretch.


In his limited time with the Canucks, he showed flashes of his high-end skill and overall physical ability, but his inability to do it consistently was a disappointment, yet not surprising.


Kravstov is an RFA so it will be interesting to see if management thinks he is worth another flyer. The Canucks have a lot of wingers in the pipeline...


 

Christian Wolanin: B

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 16 G 0 A 3 TP 3 +/- (+5)


Christian Wolanin had a spectacular season for the Abbotsford Canucks and was selected to the AHL all-star team. He put up 55 points in only 49 games which still leads all AHL defensemen, and that stellar play translated to the NHL. Wolanin played 16 games for the Canucks logging 15 minutes and 45 seconds a night. While he only put up 3 points in that time, Wolanin consistently made smart plays on the ice, often jumping up in the rush to create 3 on 2’s, making well-timed pinches to keep the puck in the zone, and displaying the ability to move the puck quickly in transition.


Wolanin was impressive this season and has flourished in the Canucks system. This clearly has not gone unnoticed as Patrik Alvin gave Wolanin a two-year, two-way contract extension, linking him to the Canucks until 2025. This signing has virtually no risk to it and will only help to make this team more competitive and deeper. Beauty!!


 

Guillaume Brisebois: B-

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 17 G 1 A 2 TP 3 +/- (-2)


It has been a long road to the NHL for Guillaume Brisebois. Drafted 7 years ago (2015), he suited up for 17 games for the Canucks, registering his first 3 points of his career (1 G, 2 A). Averaging 16 minutes and 30 seconds a night, Brisebois played low-risk hockey in the new Tocchet system and was utilized on the PK quite heavily, averaging over 2 minutes on the penalty kill per game.


Brisebois looked good playing on the bottom pairing and was rewarded by Patrik Alvin with a two-year, two-way contract extension, making it his 6th contract with the organization! The only two players that have been with the team longer are Thatcher Demko and Brock Boeser. Brisebois’ perseverance is exemplary, and having a feel-good story on the squad is always nice!


 

Collin Delia: C

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 20 GAA 3.28 SAV .882


Collin Delia was signed to a one-year, two-way contract in free agency, effectively ending Michael DiPietro’s tenure as a Canuck. He was brought in to play in the AHL, but due to Demko’s injury was leaned on at times as the Vancouver Canucks starter. Delia, to his credit, won more than he lost going 10-6-2, but this winning record had more to do with the team playing in front of him. A save percentage of .882 is no bueno…


Delia struggled in the AHL as well. Playing in only 9 games he had a .888 save percentage and an abysmal 3.39 goals against average. Delia is a UFA and is turning 29 in June. I hope the Canucks get younger and move on from him...


 

Nils Hoglander: C+

Last year’s rank: C+


GP 25 G 3 A 6 TP 9 +/- (-4)


The Canucks have a slew of wingers under the age of 26 and Nils Hoglander is one of them. That covid season seems like a decade ago, but it was only two years ago when a 20-year-old Hoglander broke into the league and finished with 13 goals and 14 assists in only 56 games. Over the next 85 games, spanning 2 seasons, Hoglander has scored 13 goals and 14 assists…


The high-end skill, speed, and tenacity are elite with Hoglander, but his two-way game has been criticized by 2 coaches now and with more competition in the organization than ever, Hoglander could be on the outside looking in. He is an RFA this offseason which leaves a lot of room for question marks.


It hasn’t been all bad for Nils this season! He put up 32 points in 45 AHL games and will be an integral part of Abbotsford’s playoff run. Big opportunity for him!


 

Spencer Martin: D

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 27 GAA 3.99 SAV .871


I honestly had to do a double-take when looking at Martin’s stats… this isn’t the 1970s


Martin was thrust into a starting role when Demko went down with injury and was frankly not up to the task. Although the team in front of him did nothing to help, to have a -27.4 Goals Saved Above Average in 27 games is really bad... he essentially let in one bad goal a game


When Demko came back from injury Martin was sent down to Abbotsford where he regained his form. In 16 AHL games, he had a respectable 2.43 goals against average and a save percentage of .916. He is signed for one more season and should be in the mix for the backup spot once training camp roles around.


 

Phil Di Giuseppe: B

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 30 G 6 A 6 TP 12 +/- (-1)


Phil Di Giuseppe was a free agent signing in 2021 but was relegated to Abbotsford despite an impressive showing in the preseason. Much like last season, Di Giuseppe found himself in the minors to start this season but earned a callup when Tocchet was hired after putting up 31 points in 37 AHL games.


Di Giuseppe caught the eye of Tocchet early drawing praise for his ability to forecheck and win board battles. He got the chance to play with J.T. Miller, where he set career highs in ice time and put up a respectable 12 points in 30 games. Clearly, the coaching staff and management liked Di Giuseppe as the Canucks signed him to a two-year, two-way contract extension. I like this signing as Di Giuseppe will serve as a great baseline for this roster and I think he will find himself on the 4th line come next season.


It’s not delivery… it’s Di Giuseppe


 

Thatcher Demko: B

Last year’s rank: A+


GP 32 GAA 3.16 SAV .901


It was the tale of two seasons for Thatcher Demko. In his first stanza, he played 15 games under Bruce Boudreau and was an abysmal 3-10-2 with a .883 save percentage. He was injured on December 1st in a game against the Panthers and wouldn’t see the crease until February 27th.


Once he returned his play picked up as he would go on to play 17 games for Tocchet posting a winning record of 11-4-2 with a .918 save percentage. Quite the contrast from his early season woes. This stark contrast begs the question of whether Demko was fully healthy to begin the season in the first place. Demko had a “minor” procedure done to his knee in the offseason and with how the Pearson injury was handled, I wonder if Demko was rushed back too soon.


We all know Demko has the potential to be a Vezina calibre goaltender, but injuries are starting to become a concern and this team will need to rely on Demko to play a substantial number of games to have a chance at the playoffs.


This team will go as far as Demko will take them…

 

Anthony Beauvillier: B-

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 33 G 9 A 11 TP 20 +/- (-6)


Anthony Beauvillier was acquired in the Bo Horvat trade mainly serving as a piece to balance the cap as he was on a down year with the Islanders, posting only 20 points in 49 games. Once he arrived in Vancouver Beauvillier immediately found success as he was paired with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, scoring 16 points in his first 18 games. Unfortunately, once he was moved off the Petey line his production dwindled finishing the season with only 4 points in his last 15 games. Beauvillier showed the capability to be productive with Pettersson (who doesn't?) but it is clear that he can't drive his own line and needs someone who can get the puck to him.


Beauvillier did end up playing all 82 games this season, setting a career-high in points with 40. The soon-to-be 26-year-old has 1 more year left at 4.15M and I suspect that management will look to move off him in order to create cap space. Don’t be surprised if you see Vancouver retain salary to facilitate a trade... Beauvillier is a decent middle 6 player, but with the amount of young and cost-effective wingers in the system, it is a no-brainer to get younger and cheaper.


Fun Fact! Since the trade, Beauvillier has put up more points than Horvat… I can tell you that for free ;)


 

Vasily Podkolzin: C

Last year’s rank: A-


GP 39 G 4 A 3 TP 7 +/- (-5)


My expectations for Podkolzin were sky-high as he finished last season with 10 points in 15 games, playing in the top 6 alongside J.T. Miller and Conor Garland. It is safe to say those expectations were not met as he regressed in nearly every possible way and split time between Abbotsford and Vancouver.


Most notably, his production fell off a cliff, going from .33 points per game in his rookie season to .18 points per game in his sophomore season. Not only did his production suffer, but so did his defensive game. He often looked lost in his own end and his ability to forecheck and retrieve pucks had seemingly disappeared. Even more troubling is that his play was unimpressive under two coaches/systems. For Bruce Boudreau, he totalled only 3 assists in 16 games and was promptly sent down to the AHL. He was recalled when Tocchet was hired, playing in 23 games, and scoring only 4 goals before getting injured.


Podkolzin is still young and possesses incredible physical tools but being a 10th overall pick carries a certain set of expectations. He needs to play games in the NHL, and he needs to be effective. I think Podkolzin would be a perfect substitute for Phil Di Giuseppe on the Miller line, but that ice time will need to be earned.


 

Ilya Mikheyev: B

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 46 G 13 A 15 TP 28 +/- (+3)


Ilya Mikheyev was Patrik Alvin’s first big free agent splash as Canucks GM signing him to a 4-year 19M contract (4.75M AAV). Mikheyev suffered a knee injury in the preseason which plagued him all year, eventually leading him to be shut down just before the trade deadline. Despite that, Mikheyev played quite well especially considering the circumstances.


Setting a career-high in ATOI with 16:55, he put up 13 goals and 15 assists in 46 games which when pro-rated would have been on pace for 50 points. Mikheyev is versatile as he can play on lines 1 through 3 and has the ability to play on the powerplay and penalty-kill. It is disappointing that Mikheyev’s season got cut short, but it was certainly the right move, and I am very excited to see what he can do when healthy.


Mikheyev will have every opportunity to solidify himself as a top 6 winger next season and I am hoping he gets the chance to play alongside Kuzmenko and Pettersson.


 

Jack Studnicka: C

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 47 G 4 A 4 TP 8 +/- (-11)


Jack Studnicka was acquired early in the season from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Michael DiPietro and Jonathan Myrenberg. At 23 years of age, Studnicka had played center and rightwing over the course of 38 games for the Bruins.


Once he arrived in Vancouver, Studnicka played on the wing in a bottom 6 role and would go on to average only 10 minutes and 35 seconds of ice time per night. He suited up for 47 games registering a measly 8 points and while his production was subpar, he did add value in other ways. He played on the PK and got a chance to take faceoffs down the stretch winning a respectable 48.4% of his draws. Studnicka is fast, physical, and has the ability to take faceoffs, all things this team needs more of. He is only 24 years old and is under contract for one more season so expect him to be in the mix for a bottom 6 role next year.


The one thing I don’t love about the Jack Studnicka acquisition was giving up Jonathan Myrenberg. Myrenberg is a 20-year-old right-shot defenseman that has a considerable amount of upside…


 

Kyle Burroughs: B

Last year’s rank: B


GP 48 G 2 A 3 TP 5 +/- (-4)


Kyle Burroughs served as the Canucks 7th/8th defenseman heading into the season, but due to injuries and trades, he suited up for a career-high 48 games. He also set a career-high in average time on ice as he played over 17 minutes a game! This was a massive leap from his previous career high of 12:56. Burroughs was leaned on to kill penalties and served as the de facto tough guy once Luke Schenn was traded.


Kyle Burroughs fulfilled his role perfectly and it was awesome to see him stand up for his teammates on a nightly basis. He will be turning 28 in the offseason and is a pending UFA. I am sure the Canucks would love to sign Burroughs, but I have a feeling there will be other teams competing for his services, potentially pricing the Canucks out.


Hometown discount for the boys?


 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: C-

Last year’s rank: B


GP 54 G 2 A 20 TP 22 +/- (-24)


Maybe I was too nice to OEL last year and maybe I am being too nice this year. Last season I praised OEL’s physical defensive game while wishing for more production. This season felt like a twisted nightmare as his production did increase at the expense of any semblance of defensive play. If you were to pro-rate his production, he would have had 33 points which are quite formidable, but when you are a minus 24 in 54 games points only go so far.


I think what has really hurt OEL’s perceived value, besides his god-awful play, is that the Canucks have played quite well without him in the lineup. Defensemen like Wolanin, Brisebois, Rathbone, and Hirose filled in more than adequately in his absence. With 4 more years at 7.26M OEL is the biggest anchor for the short and long-term success of the team. There is no getting around it, he needs to be better, but at 32 years old next season and coming off an injury that prospect is looking quite unlikely….


The best-case scenario is he comes fully healthy into camp and plays well under Tocchet’s defensive system, finding success with newly acquired Filip Hronek... yeah I am dreaming


 

Ethan Bear: B

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 61 G 3 A 13 TP 16 +/- (+6)


Perhaps the best trade of the Patrik Alvin era, the Canucks acquired Ethan Bear (18% retained) and Lane Pederson from the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2023 5th-round pick. Bear played 61 games for the Canucks registering 16 points. He filled a big hole on the right side of the defence as he slotted in up and down the lineup getting over 18 minutes and 30 seconds of ice time per night.


Bear displayed some decent offensive upside, and his skating ability was a welcomed change of pace. He was prominently featured on the penalty kill as well, playing nearly 2 minutes a night shorthanded. Despite playing adequality, Bear does leave a little bit to be desired as he is not overly physical and turns the puck over a little too frequently.


Bear will be turning 26 this summer and is an RFA. Management has expressed their desire to re-sign the defensemen, even going so far as to mention him in the season ticket holder’s year-end letter as an “emerging player”. It is clear that the Canucks view Bear as a long-term option, but it is uncertain if they see him as a top 4 or top 6 defenseman.


The price tag will give us good insight here…


 

Sheldon Dries: B-

Last year’s rank: C


GP 63 G 11 A 6 TP 17 +/- (-9)


Sheldon Dries was rewarded last offseason as he received a two-year, two-way contract extension. He played a major part in the success of Abbotsford’s inaugural season as he notched 62 points in 54 games and played 11 games for the big club registering 3 points.


He only played 2 games in the AHL this season registering 4 points, and set career highs in games played, goals, assist, points, and average time on ice in the NHL. Suiting up for 63 games, Dries scored 11 goals and had 6 assists playing just over 11 minutes and 30 seconds a night. While Dries does have a knack for scoring goals and can hold his own in the circle, he lacks the ability to set up teammates and at 28 years old he possesses limited upside.


Dries is signed for one more season and should be in the mix for a 4th line spot come training camp. He is a fantastic AHL player who can play bottom six minutes in the NHL, but if the Canucks want to get better next season, this is a spot on the roster that needs to be improved.


 

Nils Åman: B-

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 68 G 4 A 12 TP 16 +/- (-12)


Nils Åman was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2020 NHL entry draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He played 51 games in the SHL registering 14 points at the age of 22 but went unsigned by the Avalanche. Alvin took a flyer on the young Swede, signing him to a two-year, two-way contract in the hopes of adding center depth.


To the surprise of many, Åman showed well in training camp and preseason, earning himself a spot on the opening night roster. In his rookie campaign, Åman totalled 16 points in 68 games, playing just shy of 13 minutes per night. Possessing better-than-average speed, he was a staple on the penalty kill, and as a result, his usage continued to climb as the season went on.


Åman does have holes in his game. He was an abysmal 38.2% in the faceoff circle and was regularly knocked off the puck. If he can add strength and work on his faceoff ability in the offseason, Åman could vie for the third-line Center come opening night, although he will most likely be centering the 4th line.


Surpassed all expectations this season, love to see it!


 

Brock Boeser: B-

Last year’s rank: C+


GP 74 G 18 A 37 TP 55 +/- (-20)


Brock Boeser signed a 3-year contract worth 19.95M (6.65M AAV) in the offseason and expectations for Brock and the team we at all-time highs. It is safe to say that those expectations were not met…


Boeser recorded career highs in games played (74) and assists (37) but recorded a brutal career low in plus-minus (-20). He also recorded his lowest average ice time (17:14) since his rookie season and his shooting percentage was down 3% from his career average. The bottom line is when you are making 6.65M a season you need to score. Twenty goals need to be the minimum for Boeser, plain and simple.


It was reported that Boeser’s agent was given permission to seek a trade during the season, but unsurprisingly the Canucks were unable to find a suitor. Brock’s bloated salary makes it extremely hard to find a trade partner without retaining a substantial amount of cap, so Brock may be on the team whether we like it or not.


I am sure there will be a wave of Boeser rumours this summer, it’s starting to become a quarterly tradition!


 

Tyler Myers: D

Last year’s rank: B


GP 78 G 1 A 16 TP 17 +/- (-16)


Tyler Myers was really bad this season. Like really bad…. In fact, he was negative 48 in goal differential while on the ice, placing him 215th out of 222 defensemen in the entire league. Tyler Myers on average put the Canucks behind by half a goal for literally every game in an 82-game season… truly the Tank commander.


Myers set a career-high in penalty minutes (76) and received the second lowest amount of average ice-time in his career (20:54). He scored 1 goal this season, matching his total from the year prior (we love consistency) and was a dreadful minus 16. Between taking dumb penalties, turning the puck over, and generally creating chaos while on the ice, there was nothing redeeming about his play this season.


Myers has one more year left on his contract which carries a cap hit of 6M dollars and once again will be a prime trade candidate this offseason. Is this the year they finally get it done…? Probably not, but I like to think so :)


 

Quinn Hughes: A+

Last year’s rank: A+


GP 78 G 7 A 69 TP 76 +/- (+15)


Quinn Hughes had a record-breaking season last year, yet somehow managed to one-up himself this season. He registered an incredible 76 points in 78 games as he became the fastest defenseman to record 200 assists in NHL history. He recorded the 4th most assists in a single season by any player in Canucks history, as he tallied 69 helpers. Not too surprisingly, he set the record for most points in a season by a Canucks defenseman, breaking his previous record of 68. His assists alone would have broken the record...


Also setting a career-high in ice time, Tocchet leaned heavily on Hughes down the stretch, expanding his role on the penalty kill. He averaged over 27 minutes a night during the final 25 games of the season and while playing him that much wasn’t ideal for the team’s draft odds, it did illustrate to the coaching staff that Hughes can log big minutes without seeing a decline in play.


His defensive game also improved as he used his elite skating ability to angle attackers away from the net and was second to none in breaking the puck out of his own zone. The sky is the limit with Quinn Hughes, who is just scratching the surface of his potential.


After Bo Horvat’s departure, Hughes was given an “A” and immediately stepped into a leadership role. By all accounts, Hughes has become more vocal within the locker room, and with him playing such an integral part in this team’s success moving forward, I think Hughes should be the 14th captain of the Vancouver Canucks.


Calling it right now, Hughes will be the next captain.


 

Dakota Joshua: B+

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 79 G 11 A 12 TP 23 +/- (-16)


Previously playing for the St Louis Blues, Dakota Joshua was acquired in free agency, signing a two-year contract worth 1.65M (825k AAV). Joshua was underwhelming in St Louis as he played 42 games over the span of two seasons, notching only 9 points, but the Canucks looking for size saw value in adding a big body and Joshua fit that bill.


He earned a spot on the opening night roster and never relinquished it. Setting career highs in every statical category he played 79 games registering 23 points. He served as a jack of all trades, displaying his physicality on a nightly basis, killing penalties, and showing off some pretty nice hands in the offensive zone.


Joshua will be returning next season as he has one more year left on his contract and should find himself playing in the bottom 6. It is important to note that he will be A UFA at the of the 2023-2024 season, so Joshua should be extra motivated to have a good season.


Great low-cost pickup by Alvin! Wonder if they look at extending him in the summer…?


 

Elias Pettersson: A+

Last year’s rank: B+


GP 80 G 39 A 63 TP 102 +/- (+16)


Elias Pettersson finally had his breakout season, and what a season it was! He finished the year 10th in overall scoring with 102 points, becoming just the 6th Canuck ever to reach the 100-point plateau. His 102 points rank 7th and his 63 assists rank 8th all-time for a Canuck in a single season. What was most impressive about his production was how much success he had 5 on 5 as he produced 81 even strength points, good for 6th best in the league.


Pettersson saw his ice time increase dramatically as he averaged over 20 minutes a game for the first time in his career. He was leaned upon to play on both special team’s units, totalling nearly 2 minutes on the penalty kill and nearly 4 minutes on the powerplay a night! Pettersson, who is able to read the play so well, thrived on the PK as he was tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals (5, with teammate J.T Miller) and routinely broke up passes to get the puck out of the zone. Pettersson was elite offensively and defensively, quietly putting himself in the Selke race as one of the league’s premier two-way forwards.


He has one more year left on his contract (7.35M AAV) and is an RFA at the end of the 2023-2024 season. The Canucks can extend Pettersson July 1st and they better be ready to bring a Brinks Truck. His qualifying offer is just shy of 9M dollars, but in order to sign him long-term I think the number will start with a 10… at the minimum.


 

Conor Garland: C+

Last year’s rank: A-


GP 81 G 17 A 29 TP 46 +/- (-5)


After coming off a solid and underrated first season with the Canucks Conor Garland struggled to find consistency in his second season with the club. His production dropped from 52 points in 2022 to 46 points in 2023. In his first season with the Canucks, Garland often played with Miller, but with the additions to the forward core in the offseason, Garland found himself on the third line, only on occasion getting a chance in the top 6.


Garland is a really unique player who when at his best, is a dangerous offensive threat that plays a smart two-way game. Unfortunately, Garland has yet to find consistent linemates in two consecutive seasons with the Canucks and with his bloated salary cap of nearly 5M AAV for the next 3 seasons you got to think that management will be exploring trade options this summer.


Garland is a fine player, but that 5M can be allocated in much more efficient ways…


 

J.T Miller: A

Last year’s rank: A+


GP 81 G 32 A 50 TP 82 +/- (-7)


What a crazy season it was for J.T. Miller! Between the never-ending trade rumours, a massive contract extension, and a fair share of f-bombs and stick taps, Miller ended the season with over a point per game. He had an up-and-down year as brutal turnovers and lazy backchecks reared their ugly head under Boudreau. This was coming off a freshly signed 7-year 56M contract extension and Miller received a lot of flack from fans and media alike.


He dramatically turned his game around under Tocchet posting 41 points in 35 games (96-point pace) and playing some of the best two-way hockey of his career. He was stellar in the circle, winning 55% of his faceoffs and he became the league's deadliest penalty killer under Tocchet, registering 9 shorthanded points (5 G, 4 A) in just 35 games. He also set a new career high in penalty minutes, mostly due to his 4 fights on the season.


You can say what you want about Miller, but one thing you can’t say is that he doesn’t care. Miller plays on the edge, and I personally enjoy watching an athlete wear his heart on his sleeve. Miller stands up for teammates, something that this leadership group has not done in the past…


Miller had as many fights this season as Bo Horvat had his entire Canucks career… enough said


 

Andrei Kuzmenko: A+

Last year’s rank: n/a


GP 81 G 39 A 35 TP 74 +/- (+9)


Andrei Kuzmenko was the most sought-after European free agent last offseason as he notched 53 points in 45 KHL games and was entering his prime at 26 years of age. Against all the odds the Canucks beat out 31 other teams and managed to convince the Russian winger to sign with the club. Due to his free agent status, Kuzmenko could only sign a one-year contract, raising the stakes considerably for his “rookie” season.


Kuzmenko walked into camp with a big smile and that smile remained present throughout the year. He blew past all reasonable expectations, setting a new high for goals by a first-year Canucks player with 39, surpassing the 34 put up by Pavel Bure in 1991-1992. He totalled 74 points which were 4th best on the team and his 39 goals were tied for 1st. Kuzmenko was rewarded mid-way through the season with a 2-year contract extension worth 11M (5.5M AAV), a contract that is aging like fine wine.


We will probably see some regression in his goal totals next year as he posted the 14th-highest shooting percentage (min 20 goals) ever seen in a single season, but I think it is safe to assume that Kuzmenko will continue to produce at a solid clip for seasons to come.


 

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