The 2017/18 season is the season for the Vancouver Canucks to “play the kids”…….in Utica.
Jim Benning and the Vancouver Canucks have an opportunity this season to really help the future of the franchise by parking Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser, Jonathan Dahlen and Nikolay Goldobin in Utica and sending Olli Juolevi to play a season in Europe. In lieu of Vancouver having all of these young players spend the season in Vancouver during what will quite likely be a long grind that “could” have a negetive effect on their development, Jim Benning should have them develop their respective games in Utica/Europe.
This is an opportunity for the Canucks to sign a few players who they could flip at the deadline for more assets. Jim Benning can take a page out of the Maple Leafs’ playbook over the last few years. The young players can marinate on the farm while the “sign and flip” guys can hopefully build some value over the course of the season which would allow Jim Benning to sell them off at the deadline for picks….and this team can use all the picks they can get going forward. The Canucks could combine this tactic with a trade or two…..say Chris’s Tanev to the Leafs for the package they offered to the Isles for Hamonic..(JVR and a 1st). Keep JVR around til the deadline and move him for a 1st plus. Combine that with their own 1st along with the first they get from the Leafs. These picks will go a long way toward reshaping this young core into a contender down the road. Add in any return from whichever other sign and flip guys they manage to land this offseason and the prospect pool will get another infusion of players who could be part of the future of the Canucks.
If the Canucks do take this route it would allow a handful of young Canucks to enter the league together for the 2018/19 season while the Sedin twins may be exiting. The next group can start developing in Utica. This is just one option of many available to Jim Benning and the Vancouver Canucks. Whether they choose this route is anyone’s guess.
Imagine how happy new Head Coach Trent Cull would be to be able to have a top six in Utica that had Dahlen, Goldobin, Boeser and Virtanen in it. All four of these players could spend the season developing their games in Utica. All four could be given a chance to be “all situations” players getting PP and PK time in order to help grow their games.
This might not be the most “ideal” plan for fans who are hoping to watch the kids in Vancouver this year but sucking it up for “one more year” could be way more beneficial in the big picture.