Ten active former Canucks that could still help the team

A couple weeks ago, Richard Hodges, a blogger for Northwest Sportsbeat, wrote an interesting post titled, 5 Ex-Canucks that could help the team right now:

Pretend that Kyle Wellwood, noted enigma and probable polymath, spent his time in Vancouver tinkering in his secret underground workshop underneath Rogers Arena. No one realized it at the time but in between trips to Subway, Wellwood was working on a time machine.

In Hodges’ scenario, Mike Gillis finds the device and discovers he can retrieve any former Canuck from the bowels of history and plug him into the current roster. Unfortunately, he can only do this once because Welly’s time machine only has enough power for a single use (and no surprise that something belonging to Kyle Wellwood is a little low on energy). So who does he get? Trevor Linden? Cam Neely? Matthias Ohlund? It’s a fun question, although Hodges’ Kirk McLean suggestion reeks of judgment-clouding nostalgia. I mean, sure, he’s good for a pad stack or two, but he’d be number three on the depth chart, Richard.

Anyway. Thing is, you don’t need a time machine to find one-time Vancouverites that can contribute; there are a handful of active ex-Canucks that could help the team right now. Granted, in some cases, the cap implications and cost to acquire would be too much to make any move feasible, but I’m not making trade proposals here, nor am I advocating them — I’m just playing around with the concept. With a nod to Richard for the idea, here are 10 active former Canucks that could help the team this postseason in no particular order.

Yep. Still dreamy.

1 | TAYLOR PYATT

During Pyatt’s three seasons here, Canuck fans learned that the former 6th overall pick simply would never become the top-six power forward Dave Nonis was hoping he would. However, as a third- or fourth line-winger, Pyatt would provide a lot of what the Canucks are missing. He’s a big body with decent defensive skill and the ability to occasionally chip in offensively. Yes, for the love of all that is good, keep him off the first unit powerplay, but Pyatt would be an acceptable depth winger. Plus he’s still got the best set of baby blues in hockey.

2 | WILLIE MITCHELL

Mitchell’s been good in Los Angeles, seeing top-pairing minutes with Drew Doughty and continuing to flourish as a shutdown d-man. The knock against him is that he doesn’t really drive the play forward, and the Canucks have certainly improved since Dan Hamhuis, who can thread an outlet pass, took his place. But, if Hamhuis were to go down with another injury this postseason, Willie’s a guy that could step into the shutdown pairing with Kevin Bieksa and give the Canucks a unit that kills plays like Julie Taymor.

3 | ADRIAN AUCOIN

Aucoin’s no spring chicken — consider that he was a member of the Canucks organization for nine years before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Dan Cloutier — but he can still contribute. He’s averaging over 20 minutes a game for the defensive-minded Phoenix Coyotes right now, most of it in a top pairing role alongside Keith Yandle. He doesn’t put up a whole lot of points, but he provides a steady, gritty, stay-at-home presence, allowing Yandle the occasional foray into the offensive zone. He’s also right-handed. Hey, you know who could use a reliable, physical, veteran, right-handed partner? Alex Edler.

4 | CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF

Speaking of guys that worked with Alex Edler… Granted, Ehrhoff’s contract is a non-starter, but he could still help the team, and not just as Edler’s partner. The powerplay is struggling right now, as are the Sedins, and Ehrhoff was often an offensive spark for both. Plus the return of the flail snail can’t happen soon enough.

Three years ago, did you ever think there'd be a photo of Samuelsson and Kris Versteeg hugging?

5 | MIKAEL SAMUELSSON

And speaking of powerplay options… Samuelsson was a much-maligned powerplay quarterback by the time he left town, but the backlash never really made much sense. Samuelsson made smart passes, he held the puck at the blueline, he didn’t surrender rushes the other way, and the unit actually hummed along at a higher clip with him than without him last season. At even-strength, Samuelsson would flesh out the Canuck forward units and give Alain Vigneault a plug-in option for all four lines. Plus he could always be counted on for unexpected goals and comments. Dudes like that are fun times.

6 | MIKE WEAVER

Weaver played 55 games with the Canucks during the 2007-08 season as a depth defenseman, and now he plays that same role for the Florida Panthers. He’s a little guy, measuring at only 5’9″, and he doesn’t exactly light the lamp with regularity (he’s posting career-high totals in Florida this year with 2 goals and 13 points), but he’d be a welcome addition to the Canucks’ defensive depth chart. He’s strong on his skates, he’s reliable, he plays bigger and tougher than he is, and he’s also a right-sider. Weaver would be the lowest of the low-key additions, but I’d be down.

7 | TANNER GLASS

Speaking of low-key, Tanner Glass remains one of the most genuine, likable, low-key guys in the NHL, so consider my opinion coloured by a pro-Glass bias here. That said, Glass is playing third line minutes in Winnipeg (no third line for Glass!), he’s tied his career-high in goals with 4, he’s set a new career-high in points with 12, and he picked up his first-career Gordie Howe hat trick this season. In short, he’s grown a little. Sure, Vancouver fans soured on him some after he was downright invisible in the postseason, but he’s been there, he’s tough, and he’s familiar with the Canucks’ system. But seriously, keep him off the third line.

8 | MATT COOKE

And if it’s more experience you want, how about Lady Byng candidate and Stanley Cup winner Matt Cooke? Swallow your bile for a moment and consider that former Canuck Cooke is reformed, provides grit and agitation, can play on a shutdown line, is offensively skilled enough to jump up to the second line with Ryan Kesler in a pinch, is familiar with Alain Vigneault, and has been to the Stanley Cup Final twice. As much as it pains me, Cooke could help this team.

9 | MICHAEL GRABNER

This one’s a no-brainer. Since the Canucks traded him to the Panthers for Keith Ballard, Grabner has scored 48 times in 126 games. He’s a pure goalscorer. Granted, he’s a minus-15 this season and he’s got some pretty spotty possession numbers, so he’s also purely a goalscorer, but still. Goals are good.

10 | TODD BERTUZZI

Speaking of pure goalscorers, that’s no longer what Todd Bertuzzi is. Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock has cultured the defensive side of Big Bert’s game beautifully, and his hands remain slick enough for him to live on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Bertuzzi is a big, mean, detestable, skilled, two-way player and, as much as it pains me to admit, the Canucks could use a guy like that.

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58 comments

  1. zach
    February 7, 2012

    my question is, why in the heck is Versteeg’s helmet on backwards in that picture? kind of strange.

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    • biged
      February 7, 2012

      That’s a visor on the FRONT of Versteeg’s helmet. He’s just got it on backwards.

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      • Jason
        February 8, 2012

        Isn’t that what he said?

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  2. bengpod
    February 7, 2012

    no Darcy Hordichuk? i would take him from Edmonton for a 2nd round pick..

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    • J21
      February 7, 2012

      This has got to be an Oiler fan sock-puppeting, right?

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    • sutterfamily
      February 7, 2012

      um no that’s dumb you think the canucks add toughness are going to work they don’t need more! maxime laperre and adnrew albert don’t do enough most teamss. get outta here go cry home to tambo.

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      • tom selleck's moustache
        February 7, 2012

        lol.

        Mmmm, Sutter you talk me english goooood.

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  3. swizzler
    February 7, 2012

    Brent ‘Crackers’ Sopel is currently sluggin’ it out in the KHL. He’s a right-handed d-man who could be had for nothing.
    Or bring back Marek Malík, i’m pretty sure he’s still kicking around europe somewhere.

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    • The Bookie
      February 8, 2012

      I don’t think you can take guys from other leagues at this point. There’s a deadline to making those signings, sometime in December if I remember correctly.

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  4. sarah
    February 7, 2012

    Of all those, I’d only be interested in Mitchell and Ehrhoff for hockey reasons. And then Glass and Pyatt for non hockey reasons. Glass because he seems like the nicest guy ever and Pyatt because, well, I too fondly recall those baby blues.

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  5. Colby
    February 7, 2012

    Jovo?

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    • yobbei
      February 7, 2012

      nah we have ballard to give us the heart attacks already.

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  6. Ian
    February 7, 2012

    Bryan Allen?

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    • Trevor
      February 8, 2012

      He and Aucoin are the most reasonable acquisitions, in my opinion. The rest, we either don’t want or can’t get.

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  7. Brad
    February 7, 2012

    Weaver, Pyatt, Aucoin, Glass but no Bryan Allen? The one that might actually happen?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      Allen’s a massive, slow, left-handed defenseman. In other words: he’s Alberts. Not sure how he’d help this team.

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      • Trevor
        February 8, 2012

        Ah, but at least he can fight if it came down to it. Alberts is the biggest huggy bear out there.

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  8. yobbei
    February 7, 2012

    How about 10 that WOULD NOT help the team?

    I go first:

    Steve Bernier

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      Ryan Shannon and Richard Park are still available. They’d do nothing for this team.

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      • yobbei
        February 7, 2012

        actually Grabner may not help that much. We need toughness up front not some “pure” goal scorer.

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    • G. McRae
      February 7, 2012

      Shane O’Brien would not help the team, but I am sure he would help with some PITB material. Gold I tell you.

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  9. J21
    February 7, 2012

    It’s so weird that Florida’s good this year, because that’s always the first well one goes to when talking about adding players. Presumably they’re buyers this year. Reacquiring a guy like Samuelsson would be weird — has a guy ever been traded away from, then back to a team in the same season? Theoretical moves like Craig Janney in 1994 don’t count — but that would actually be somewhat helpful.

    Know what’s both hilarious and annoying anytime one tries to discuss acquiring an ex-Canuck? Immediately the world of Internet forums flares up at the idea purely on the basis that the guy has already played for the team and, therefore, in the wonderful world of forum logic, “hasn’t worked out”. (What are the criteria for this? Not being among the 96.7% of teams that don’t win the Stanley Cup in a given season while he played for the Canucks? If a guy puts up 50 points then signs elsewhere as a UFA, he “didn’t work out”?) Much like the team has “given up on” any player included in a trade.

    Immediately the comments come out “We don’t need these retreads! Player X wasn’t the answer then, and isn’t now!” (I’ve never understood what a player would be the “answer” to, apart from a trivia question, like “This player wore #27 for the Canucks in his first NHL callup, then switched to #18 when he became a member of the full-time roster a full three seasons later.” Answer below.) The only reason the player is rejected outright is because he once played for the team, or at least did so during the memory span of the (presumably young) fan making the pronouncement. If the same player had not done so, of course, they might be a curious proposition, or at least recognized as bringing some sort of positive net value. But because they are an ex-Canuck, they are a retread, who has mathematically proven his negative value by the fact that the Canucks didn’t win the Cup in three given seasons.

    The answer: Shawn Antoski.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      I think one of the major issues is roles and expectations. For instance, Chris Higgins has done well in Vancouver primarily because he wasn’t acquired to be a second-line winger, as he was in Florida. He was acquired as a depth winger. In short, his ability to play serviceable 2nd/3rd line wing is a disappointment in Florida and a pleasant surprise in Vancouver.

      Same thing with Pyatt. He’s no top line forward, so when the team was in need of scoring, people ripped him for being unable to provide it. But now that the team just needs size, if you can ignore what he couldn’t do before, he wouldn’t be a bad pickup.

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      • Mack
        February 7, 2012

        To answer your first question, for me it’s 2002-03 era, top of his prime, pre-Steve Moore Todd Bertuzzi. Dude was a beast. I was really tempted to pick Linden in his prime, but we arguably already have a guy who fits that role in Kesler. Powerforward wingers with hands are still very coveted commodities.

        I’d never actually considered Pyatt before this post but I’m starting to think he’d be a very good pickup. $1M on a expiring contract, and he’s playing 3rd/4th line on the Yotes so he probably wouldn’t be expensive at all. Knows a lot of the guys and the system and like you said, if he only has to worry about being a depth winger instead of playing big minutes I can see him being successful. Very under the radar move, which means Gillis could very well do it.

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      • J21
        February 7, 2012

        Oh I agree, I’m just saying that if anyone throws out the name of an ex-Canuck as an idea, you will find a knee-jerk reaction online about how “we’ve already tried that” (as though you embark on some incredibly unique journey dissimilar to every other one, every time you acquire a player) and using the term “retread”.

        Why do both my above posts have extremely negative ratings? People really want Darcy Hordichuk for a second rounder, or…?

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        • Harrison Mooney
          February 7, 2012

          No, there’s a message board full of morons coming around downvoting all the reasonable things and upvoting their own idiocy, most of which I’ve deleted.

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  10. captain
    February 7, 2012

    You guys can pry Mark Messier out of retirement, right?

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  11. competelevelTMcompetelevel
    February 7, 2012

    Durrtuzzi would have such a horrible relapse if he went back to Vancouver. Every Ivy League-educated player would cower in fear.

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  12. dave
    February 7, 2012

    Where is brian allen on that list? Wouldn’t he be more effective and a better fit than mike weaver?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      Nah, Allen’s a big, slow lefty. He’s basically Alberts.

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  13. SteveB
    February 7, 2012

    Give Chelyabinsk Traktor a call and pick up Jan Bulis

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  14. PetriSkriko
    February 7, 2012

    It’s a fun question, although Mooney’s Tanner Glass suggestion reeks of judgment-clouding nostalgia. I mean, sure, he’s good for a double-word score or two, but he’d be number 15 on the depth chart, Harrison.

    ;)

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      I was waiting for someone to hit me with this. Guilty as charged.

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  15. JD
    February 7, 2012

    what about jarkko ruutu ?!

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  16. Nick
    February 7, 2012

    Big thumbs down on re-acquiring Samuelsson. We already know he’s not a good fit on the 4th line, and he is not shy about voicing his displeasure when he only gets 4th line minutes. Of the wingers on the top 3 lines, he clearly wouldn’t displace Daniel or Burrows or Higgins or Hansen … and bumping Raymond or Booth to make room for him is a bad idea.

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  17. Lenny
    February 7, 2012

    Jarkko Ruutu, Adrian Aucoin, and Taylor Pyatt are realistically speaking my favourites.

    Unrealistically speaking, Willie Mitchell, Matt Cook and Todd Bertuzzi would be great.

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  18. Lenny
    February 7, 2012

    Also, Why not Raffi Torres?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      Because I don’t think he’d help. He amuses me and I love the big hits he throws, but he runs around, takes penalties, makes brutal passes and isn’t a smart player.

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  19. superreggie
    February 7, 2012

    Can’t believe anyone’s really discussing Bertuzzi. So it really doesn’t matter that he intentionally crushed Steve Moore’s spine from behind, thus ruining his life? You’d take a guy like that back just because he can help score some goals? Ewww…

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    • JS Topher
      February 7, 2012

      Detroit didn’t mind, neither should we. Besides, give your head a shake, he didn’t intentionally crush Steve Moore’s spine. The only thing intent he had was to clobber the guy. It just ended up ugly. And didn’t help that he got piled on either. There’s something called learning your lesson and redeeming yourself and I believe that guy has done both.

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  20. allan graves
    February 7, 2012

    Pretty slow day

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  21. alviator
    February 7, 2012

    Based on previous experience, what does MG give for Samuelsson? A bag of pucks, a Tic Tac, and a third round pick?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 7, 2012

      Gonna take at least twice as many Tic Tacs.

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  22. Nick
    February 7, 2012

    Getting Samuelsson off the team was addition by subtraction. We have better wingers for the top 3 lines. And his defense has declined significantly.

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    • sarah
      February 7, 2012

      I keep thinking the Canucks got Booth for nothing. Sometimes feels that way

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      • Colby
        February 7, 2012

        I would rather have Samuelsson over Raymond for this years cup run… Canucks need someone who can actually get shots through traffic, Sammy was pretty good at this. Hodgson feeding Sammy on the point of the second PP unit with Booth in front.

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  23. TheWellwoods
    February 7, 2012

    How dare you suggest that Welly would build an imperfect time machine!

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  24. dan
    February 7, 2012

    so what ur saying is trade luongo for bert?

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    • SteveB
      February 7, 2012

      well, with Howard’s injury and Conklin’s sometimes shaky play, Detroit could use a solid backup, like Luongo.
      Maybe Bert for Luongo and a 3rd round pick….

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  25. iLovePITB
    February 7, 2012

    I would love Matt Cooke on this team. Aside from the dirty play, he’s an extremely effective player.

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  26. Canuck in Exile
    February 7, 2012

    Shane O’Brien! Seriously ….

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  27. grumpiest
    February 7, 2012

    Where is Artem Chubarov these days?

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  28. Simon Tse
    February 7, 2012

    Jan Bulis, for hilarity’s sake.

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    • Colby
      February 7, 2012

      That guy sure was slippery.. He was uncheckable on the boards like he was greased in vaseline.

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  29. Mike H.
    February 7, 2012

    What, no Jagr?

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  30. Q
    February 7, 2012

    I for one would enjoy seeing Jovo-Cop pack on the team. You know he’d elevate his play come April, and we all know how much we loved the GIVEAWAYSKI’s he was prone to every night. It kept us on our toes. Cmon Gillis. Bring Him Back!

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  31. Luke Stibbs
    February 8, 2012

    Has seriously NO ONE said Pavel Bure yet?

    How!

    With one pick, you’d have to choose between Bure and Linden. No other contenders need apply.

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  32. Jason
    February 8, 2012

    I’d like Welley back mainly cause I like the guy and Mitchell back for actual hockey reasons. He could take Rome’s spot and provide insurance if Salo goes down.

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