Vancouver Canucks young forward Brock Boeser remains unsigned, and there doesn’t seem to be much positive action towards a solution. However, that doesn’t mean that Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning is sitting on his hands. Quite the opposite: he’s actively putting his team together piece by piece.
This week, a number of different news items have emerged within the organization. In this post, I want to share some of them.
Item One: Canucks Sign Goalie Arturs Silovs to an Entry-Level Contract
On Aug. 23, the Canucks announced on the team website that it had signed goaltender Arturs Silovs, the team’s sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, to an entry-level contract. These days, he’s a prototypical goalie, standing 6-feet-4 and weighing 203-pounds. As an 18-year-old, the young Latvian had a strong World Under-18 Championship, posting the tournament’s fifth-best save percentage (.918).
His Latvian team was far from a powerhouse and ended in eighth place (of 10 teams), and he faced plenty of shots. In fact, during his team’s quarter-finals 3-1 loss to Team Canada, he faced 42 shots and saved 40 of them, for a .952 save percentage. Canada scored an empty-netter to seal the victory. Overall, he posted the tournament’s fifth-best save percentage (.918) and only two goaltenders faced more shots each game during the entire tournament.
Item Two: Chris Tanev Is Completely Healthy
In a bit of really good news, Benning was interviewed on TSN 1040 Radio and reported that defenseman Chris Tanev was finally completely healthy. Benning noted that Tanev would either play with Alex Edler or young, rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes. Benning hopes that the addition of new defensemen Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn will help make the team’s rearguard, which already includes Tanev and Edler, much stronger.
Tanev has suffered injury problems over recent seasons that have limited his play. From his first NHL game, he’s been a warrior. However, in ways similar to new Canucks forward Micheal Ferland, that kind of play has been tough on his body and has caused him to miss games. He no longer can play anywhere close to the 70-plus games he used to log when he was younger.
That Tanev remains with the team after this July is, for me, a pleasant surprise. There were rumors the organization was shopping him; however, his injuries probably depleted his market value. The inability to trade Tanev might have surprised Benning, who a year ago at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft was chased by a number of teams who wanted the rugged defenseman. One team was even rumored to have offered a first-rounder for the veteran.
This season, it’s unlikely Tanev would draw such trade
Item Three: Vancouver Giants to Host Teddy-Bear Toss Game
On Aug. 22, the Canucks Media Relations announced that, in partnership with the NHL Canucks, the Vancouver Giants will host the 2019 Teddy Bear Toss Game at Rogers Arena on Sunday, Dec. 8t, 2019. The Giants play the Tri-City Americans in that game.
Here’s how the Teddy Bear Toss works. During that game, which is one of the premier events for the Giants, fans are encouraged to bring “brand new” stuffed toys with them. When the Giants score their first goal of the game, fans throw their stuffed toys onto the ice. All these toys will be gathered and then donated to local children’s charities. In addition, all proceeds from the 50/50 raffle tickets sale and the sale of teddy bears will be donated to charity.
Giants President, Governor, and Majority Owner Ron Toigo noted that the team was “looking forward the opportunity of showcasing our world-class product in the largest hockey facility in British Columbia.”
Toigo also noted that the “Teddy Bear Toss has always been one of our marquee events, and hosting the event this year at Rogers Arena will only add to the excitement and mystique of the game.”
Giants season ticket holders will be assigned tickets that closely mirror their seat locations at the Langley Events Centre. They may also purchase additional pre-sale tickets. For other fans, general tickets will go on sale in early October.
As a note, during the last two Teddy Bear Toss Games, the player who scored the first goal of the game was young defenseman Bowen Byram, who was chosen fourth overall in round one by the Colorado Avalanche during the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Item Four: Point Projections for Elias Pettersson & Other Canucks
On Aug. 21, NHL.com’s fantasy hockey staff posted its point projections for over 200 players for the upcoming season as a tool for those playing fantasy hockey. These projections, as they pertain to the Canucks, predict that Elias Pettersson will lead the Canucks in scoring with 77 points; Boeser will score 66 points; Bo Horvat 62 points; newcomer J.T. Miller 54 points; Hughes 45 points; Ferland 43 points; Edler 39 points; and Myers 33 points.
Obviously, the group that made these projections knows what they’re doing, but I’m thinking Pettersson will score closer to 90 points than 77. I’m also hoping Miller will score more than 54 points. As well, I’m anxious first to see if Ferland can remain healthy and second if he plays with the Canucks top-six. If he does, his projection might be conservative as well.
Finally, Boeser’s point total will depend if he signs before training camp or not. If he both signs and engages in the team’s full, preseason preparation, he might also beat these projections. The issue for Boeser is not about his scoring skill, it’s about staying healthy and on the ice.
Speaking of Boeser, he’s the final piece of the Canucks’ puzzle. It would be helpful to the team if he signs soon; but, given the lack of success around the NHL signing other restricted free agents, it would probably be overly optimistic to expect much action soon.