Spitballin’ on Jamie Benn as a Canuck, Barry Trotz, and Heat leaving Abbotsford

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass ITBulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Canucks apparently came close to giving Jamie Benn a $7.5 million offer sheet

Jamie Benn has had a fantastic season in Dallas, scoring 34 goals and 79 points in 81 games to finish in the top-10 in league scoring in his first year as captain. He’ll be leading the Stars into their first playoff appearance since 2008 and hoping to add a Stanley Cup to the Olympic gold medal he already won this year.

It’s particularly amazing when you consider he was a 5th round pick in 2007 out of the BCHL. The vast majority of 5th round picks don’t experience anywhere near this level of success. Of course, since he was selected out of the Canucks’ own backyard, some Canucks fans use Benn as ammunition in their arguments that the team doesn’t draft enough players out of BC.

The 2007 draft was particularly brutal, with Dave Nonis selecting Patrick White and Taylor Ellington in the first and second rounds, with all their other picks before Benn was selected traded away for the likes of Bryan Smolinski, Brent Sopel, and Steve McCarthy.

According to Elliotte Friedman, however, the Canucks came awfully close to attempting to rectify the situation and acquire Jamie Benn back in 2012.

15. With all of the discussion about Vancouver needing 21- to 25-year-old impact players, I think they seriously considered an offer sheet for Jamie Benn in the summer of 2012. Obviously, the owners don’t have much use for one another, but bringing home a local boy (and a very good one) would’ve been a major coup. I can’t confirm it, but I believe a one-year, $7.5-million US offer was the ballpark, which meant Dallas would’ve had to qualify him at that number for three more years, similar to what Calgary did to Colorado with Ryan O’Reilly.

16. Why didn’t it happen? Probably two reasons. First, Shea Weber’s sheet was matched. And if that one didn’t work, what would? Second, the Canucks were in a tight cap situation going into the lockout. It was hard to predict the outcome, and if they were over the cap, that would’ve created even more trouble. Anyway, fun to think about.

I’m trying to wrap my head around all the implications for the Canucks: would they have been forced to trade Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider prior to the start of the season? Does Schneider even get re-signed or would they have traded his rights away? It likely means the Canucks don’t sign Jason Garrison as well.

If the Stars didn’t match, would the addition of Jamie Benn revitalized the Canucks’ lineup, resulting in a longer playoff run? If so, does Alain Vigneault get fired? Does Mike Gillis?

It’s a moot point, of course. The Stars likely would have matched the offer sheet, even if it would have been painful to invest $7.5 million for three years for a player who had yet to score 30+ goals in a season. They instead have Benn locked in at a $5.25 million cap hit through 2017.

Barry Trotz fired in Nashville; would the Canucks trade in Torts for Trotz?

Barry Trotz was the only the coach the Predators have ever known, coaching the franchise for 15 years. During that time, he wrangled some impressive seasons with a fairly mediocre group of forwards, relying on a strong defence anchored by Shea Weber (and Ryan Suter before he left for Minnesota) and great goaltending from the likes of Pekka Rinne and Tomas Vokoun.

Given his years of experience and ability to get a lot out of players, it seems likely that Trotz will get several job offers this off-season, with other teams likely to make a head coaching change. One of those teams, of course, is the Canucks. Would they be interested in Trotz?

In my opinion, it’s unlikely. The concern with Trotz is that he wouldn’t actually provide a significant change from John Tortorella. Both seem to play similar systems, collapsing in the defensive zone and relying on the dump-and-chase offensively. In addition, the Predators have never been a high-scoring team — their franchise record for goals in a season is 33 from Jason Arnott —  though it’s tough to say how much of that is coaching and system-related and how much is personnel.

In any case, Trevor Linden has repeatedly emphasized a return to exciting hockey for the Canucks and Trotz just doesn’t seem to fit that profile.

Heat leaving Abbotsford; Canucks not interested in moving in

It’s official now: after this season, the Abbotsford Heat will be no more. They will have passed on! Ceased to be! Expired and gone to meet their maker! Bereft of life and resting in peace! They’ll have kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! They will be an ex-AHL team!

Okay, that’s going a little far: they’re just moving, likely to Glens Falls, NY.

The Heat were a disaster in Abbotsford right from the start, a Flames farm team in the heart of Canucks country with terrible branding that focused far too much on their connection to their NHL affiliate. It also drained the coffers of Abbotsford, who paid out millions in taxpayer dollars thanks to their agreement with the Flames. To get out of the contract, Abbotsford had to pay out a whopping $5.5 million to the Flames.

If they had done so earlier, there’s the possibility they could have had the Canucks affiliate move in immediately. Instead, the Canucks will be honouring their contract with Utica, keeping them in New York for at least four more years. In any case, the Canucks might be less interested than before, appreciating that the easier travel schedule in Utica gives the team a lot more time to focus on practicing and player development.

Imoo and friends sing Trevor Linden tribute to the tune of Bruno Mars’s “Treasure”

This is pretty great and you should listen to it.

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12 comments

  1. Doop
    April 15, 2014

    Where Guy Boucher at? If the Canucks brass is looking for some bench-based sex appeal to supplement Trevor Linden, he’s the obvious choice

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    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
    • Matt
      April 16, 2014

      Oh jeez I hope if they fire Torts they take a run at Boucher.

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  2. Lenny
    April 15, 2014

    Trotz rolls 4 lines. We don’t know for sure of course but he has been forced to play defensive hockey in Nashville very likely because he had to to be successful.

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  3. Dennis
    April 15, 2014

    You need to give Monty Python a shout out when you plagiarize it…

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 16, 2014

      Argh! There was supposed to be a link to the sketch there. I’ll fix it.

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      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    • iain
      April 16, 2014

      It’s only a fun blog. I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

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      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
      • Brent
        April 16, 2014

        No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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        Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  4. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 16, 2014

    I would trade Patrick White, Taylor Ellington, Bryan Smolinski, Brent Sopel, Steve McCarthy, Jason Garrison and a couple of first round draft picks if we had Jamie Benn. He would be the best player on our team if we had him and is exactly what the Canucks are missing. I realize that it’s pretty easy to look down on past drafts with the benefit of hindsight, but honestly, my 8 year old niece could’ve told Nonis that picking a college 4th liner with little offensive upside (White) in the first round and a slow-skating WHL defensive defenceman known for his pylon-like tendencies in the second was pretty dumb even at the time.

    Also, no to Trotz please. The new coach needs to allow the team to play to the strengths of the best players, not preach dumbed down dinosaur hockey.

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  5. akidd
    April 16, 2014

    ya, definitely not trotz. a good coach. smart guy et,etc but come on, are we listing off the dullest hockey teams and styles here? torts’ rangers. check. trotz’ predators. check someone mentioned guy boucher. 1-3-1 ya that would be nice watching the video game would get stuck again if no forechecker entered the zone. what great ideas. entertainment that is dull and boring. that’ll put bums in seats. let’s go for the unentertaining entertainment option. sounds great.

    btw,no pitb take on the stale canucks and other locker clean-out chat? or did that boat sail? (man, torts is just way too smooth in his press conferences. it’s actually a bit scary.)

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 16, 2014

      For what it’s worth, the Lightning under Guy Boucher were the furthest thing from boring. Everyone grabs his 1-3-1 forecheck as if it’s all there is to his system, but when the puck was below the goal line in the offensive zone, the Lightning always, always, always sent in two forecheckers.

      Here’s an article I wrote for Backhand Shelf back in 2011 about Boucher’s 1-3-1 and how it’s not destroying hockey: http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2011/11/10/why-tampa-bays-1-3-1-is-not-destroying-hockey/

      As for the locker clean-out interviews, they were pretty thoroughly covered by other media outlets. In all honesty, I didn’t think there was a lot of meat to chew on.

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  6. will
    April 16, 2014

    Jamie Benn is a great player. But he is a great player who has gone on record as saying that he would not enjoy playing under the microscope in a Canadian market. I remember reading that in The Hockey News and being impressed by his refreshing honesty. I think a lot of players feel the same way but are probably uncomfortable saying it. So yeah, he’s a great player, but chances are he wouldn’t be the same player that we see in Dallas. Have a good summer everyone. GCG

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  7. Gored 1970
    April 17, 2014

    Texas has no state tax so to come to Canada he would go from 10-15 % tax to 40-50 %. That’s a lot to pay to come home.

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