2014 Draft Debrief: Canucks Edition

The 2014 NHL Draft has come and gone and with it left behind some BIG and small movements on the Canucks radar as they were one of (if not) the most active team(s) at the draft.

Team Lindenning had a VERY busy 2014 draft. Change was inevitable coming into the 2014-2015 season, but did anyone see the team being as active at the draft as they were?

TRADE TALK:

TRADE #1: Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ryan Kesler elephant in the room was addressed immediately before it could become a situation that would fester and eat away at the locker room all year long. The Canucks have already had that happen with the Luongo situation that took nearly two years to solve. Benning was forced into to a corner with the Kesler trade as it became public knowledge that Kesler ONLY gave the team a 2-list destination possibility and never wavered from his stance. In the end, Kesler got exactly what he wanted: a ticket out of Vancouver.

It became apparent in his interviews following the news that he was more than ecstatic to be leaving Vancouver for Anaheim. I understand that he is “ready to move on”, BUT some of the things he said felt like he was burning a bridge rather than being grateful for an incredible ten years with the organization that developed him into the two-way player he is today.

Trade #2: Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Trade #3: 85TH OVERALL 2014 draft pick to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derek Dorsett.

Trade #4: 50TH OVERALL 2014 draft pick to the LA Kings in exchange for Linden Vey.

2014 Vancouver Canucks DRAFT SELECTIONS:

6TH OVERALL: Jake Virtanen (Left Wing)

24TH OVERALL: Jared McCann (Centre)

36TH OVERALL: Thatcher Demko (Goalie)

50TH OVERALL: TRADED to LA in exchange for Linden VEY (Right Wing)

66TH OVERALL: Nikita Tryamkin (Defenceman)

85TH OVERALL (Acquired from Anaheim in the Kesler trade): TRADED to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derek Dorsett.

126TH OVERALL: Gustav Forsling (Defenceman)

156TH OVERALL: Kyle Petit (Centre)

186TH OVERALL: Mackenze Stewart (Defenseman)

7 draft picks and 4 trades later, the 2014 NHL draft came to a close for the Vancouver Canucks. In making some big moves (Kesler/Garrison) the Canucks now have more money in cap space than they’ve had in years and with the free agency frenzy just around the corner…they have the option to spend.

Have you recovered from the frenzy that was the 2014 NHL draft for the Canucks? Are you ready for the frenzy that will be free agency starting tomorrow (July 1)? Will the Canucks bring a veteran goalie to help mentor Lack? Will they lean towards youth or another veteran OR both in regards to bolstering their forwards/defensive lineup? Come tomorrow, we will have answers as to just what Linden and Benning have in mind for the roster moving forward.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Change IS Coming…Change IS Here

Change IS coming. Change IS here. Trevor Linden and Jim Benning said from the outset that some change would have to come in order to move forward. Change indeed has already begun in a BIG way.

Ryan Kesler has been weighed down by trade rumors since the 2014 trade deadline and today you can STOP the rumor mill. Rumor became fact with the announcement of a trade between the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Kesler is no longer a Vancouver Canuck, he is now an Anaheim Duck. (Do you have ANY idea how hard those words were for this kid to type?)

TO ANAHEIM: Ryan Kesler, 2015 3rd round draft pick

TO VANCOUVER: Nick Bonino, Lucas Sbisa, 2014 1st round draft pick & 2014 3rd round draft pick.

Words of caution before you throw Linden and Benning under the bus for making this trade: REMEMBER, Kesler wanted to go and with his NTC ONLY gave a 2 TEAM list of teams he’d be willing to go to IF a deal could be made. Considering the limited pools of possibilities, I’d say that Linden and Benning did quite well to get optimal value back for Kesler. As for Bonino and Sbisa, I’m going to say that these two will surprise a lot of fans come October.

Nick Bonino, from the times that I have seen him play over the last few years has had a knack for scoring some insanely clutch goals…a habit that will be welcomed when he joins the Canucks. Lucas Sbisa will have an opportunity to develop into a top-4 defense-man on the blue line. There is lots of potential with these two roster ready players and they could very well thrive.

Welcome to Canucks Nation…Bonino & SBISA!

(Bright side? Kesler is NOT a Blackhawk….sorry hawks fans but THAT would have been TOO much for this kid to handle.)

CONFESSION time: In my heart of hearts, I never thought I’d see the day where Ryan Kesler was NOT a Vancouver Canuck. I truly thought at the end of the day that he was going to be a career Canuck. Kesler has always been a heart and soul player…every time he’s on the ice, he gives his 100% and the Anaheim Ducks are incredibly lucky to have him on their side. Best of luck Ryan, I’m going to miss cheering for you as a Canuck, you’ll always be a Canuck to me EVEN though you’ll be wearing the WRONG colours next season! I may not be rooting for Anaheim, but I do hope you do well in So-Cal!

Trades of favourite players NEVER get any easier…and the longer they were a part of our team the harder it is to say good-bye. Just ask the Oilers and Wayne Gretzky who was traded away from Edmonton BUT then Wayne went on to have great success in LA and the OILERS found themselves a cup without the Great One. So here’s to BOTH my Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks having great success in the years to come.

Adios Kes, best of luck in Anaheim!

Adios Kes, best of luck in Anaheim!

Ryan Kesler, if you EVER see this post, THANK-YOU for everything. Thank-you for giving 110% every time you were on the ice. Thank-you for helping to bring to life my passion for the game. Thank-you for everything you brought the Canucks night in and night out. Thank-you for an incredible 10 years of memories. You gave us EVERYTHING, EVERY time you played and for that, I say THANK-YOU. The word seems so small compared to what you helped this franchise become these last 10 years, but the gratitude is infinite.

Thanks for everything, RK17! We’ll miss ya on our side! Best of luck in Anaheim!

Ch-ch-changes keep on knocking! Jason Garrison has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

TO TAMPA BAY: Jason Garrison + the rights to Jeff Costello & 2015 7th round draft pick

TO VANCOUVER: 2014 50th overall draft pick.

Best of luck in Tampa Bay, Jason! It was fun to see you play for the home team and you’ve got one heck of a shot from the point that the Lightning will love!

ACQUISITION FROM the NY Rangers:

TO VANCOUVER: Derek Dorsett

TO NEW YORK RANGERS: 85th overall 2014 Draft pick (acquired earlier from Anaheim)

Welcome to the team, Derek!

The ch-ch-changes are just beginning. Change was inevitable with the mess that Gillis left behind and it was never going to be easy to clean up. Change had to happen even if that change might break some hearts, sometimes the hardest changes are the ones that make teams EVEN stronger than before. Linden and Benning DO NOT have an easy job taking care of Gillis’ mess BUT they are doing an impeccable job that will make our team better than before. Today marks just the beginning and I’m sure there is more change on the horizon…but there is a lot to be excited about moving forward.

Like the changes that have come or hate them BUT one thing is very clear: some things HAD to change for the Canucks to be able to move forward. People were BEGGING for big changes that never happened last year and now those changes are happening. Benning’s biggest strength is the development of young players and that is exactly what we are getting Canucks fans…depth on our prospect side! The prospect pool is starting to get deep as the Canucks add to their stack of draft picks!

WHAT.A.DAY! The day is not done yet and #TeamLindenning is still hard at work. The first round of 2014 NHL draft is still to come! Updates to follow!

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Who do you think the Canucks pick at 6th? (Virtanen?) OR will Benning go all in to get the 1st overall pick from Florida? Leave your prediction in the comments below.

GINO, GINO, GINO!

GINOToday marks the 2014 NHL draft and while that will bring all kinds of excitement and chaos across the NHL board and my mind is far from focusing on the draft. My mind is deep in thought since hearing the tragic news about former Canuck, Gino Odjick last night.

Every time he stepped onto the ice, Gino Odjick was the epitome of heart and soul. A player that was never afraid to step up for his teammates and always ready when called upon. Gino stole the hearts of fans from his first fight and now to his final fight as he announced in his personal letter to the fans that he has been diagnosed with a rare terminal disease called AL amyloidosis.

Gino’s Letter to the Fans. (Click to read Gino’s personal letter)

Just as Gino supported his teammates and his fans over the years, it is now time for his teammates and fans to stand by and support him in his final fight. Say it with me now, “GINO, GINO, GINO!”

Stay strong GINO, as you face your toughest fight yet! My prayers and thoughts go out to the entire Odjick family during this difficult journey.

GINO, GINO, GINO! We salute you #29.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Welcome Desjardins!

After weeks of speculation, it is finally OFFICIALLY, official as the Vancouver Canucks announced Willie Desjardins as the 18th head coach in franchise history.

HERE’S WILLIE DESJARDINS:

Where did Willie come from before joining the Vancouver Canucks?

Desjardins spent 8 seasons coaching in the WHL from 2002-2010 as head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. He led them to the playoffs in every season he coached them, including all the way to two WHL Championship titles in 2003-2004 and 2006-2007. Following his success in the WHL, he was brought in as an associate coach with the Dallas Stars for two years (2010-2012). Desjardins has spent his last two years coaching the Texas Stars in the AHL which concluded with his tenure with the team winning the AHL championship Calder Cup.

Six days after winning the 2014 AHL Championship, Desjardins was named as the newest Vancouver Canucks head coach. Welcome to Canucks nation, Willie!

How does Desjardins feel about being called up to the big leagues?

“It’s great for me and my family. I just like coaching. It’s a great opportunity. You always want to coach at the best level. The NHL is the best level.”

How does he feel about coaching in Vancouver and his current team?

“This is a great city. It’s a great organization. I’m lucky to be part of this. I didn’t take this job without doing my research. I like this team and I like the roster. I know the skill level here.”

On getting to his players: “You have to respect the players. It’s about how we get there and that’s working together.” –>Sounds like a refreshing concept does it not?

As for the core, he still believes they can find their way back to being contenders again. “We have so many great leaders on this team…they’ve won in the past, they’ll win again”

Desjardins knows that it will take more than the right words to prove to all the critics that both he and the team can exceed expectations: “We can say we’re going to be great but it doesn’t matter what we say, it’s what we do.”

Willie Desjardins has his work cut out for in his first ever NHL head coaching post BUT he is primed and ready for the challenge. Desjardins has paid his dues and earned his turn at the helm of an NHL team. He brings with him one very important ingredient that Torts never had, an ability to connect with his peers and his players in a manner that will motivate them instead of causing them to second guess each step forward. That may sound small BUT when a coach believes in his players it goes a long way in how his players will play every night…take away that belief and it can cause his players to question every play they make on the ice losing their confidence.

One last Canucks note: On the Kesler watch, Linden had THESE words to say: “We’re working with Ryan. Ryan is a tremendous player. He’s got the assets we want to have on this team.” Does that mean he will remain a Canuck by season’s start or be traded by the draft? The truth is, that only time will tell on that front no matter how many predictions that the fans and media will insist upon making to keep the rumour mill running wild.

On the NHL front…did you see that the 2014-2015 NHL schedule has officially been released? If you want to take a closer look at the Canucks schedule in particular, simply check out the Canucks 2014-2015 Schedule & Results page at the top of the blog.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.