Vancouver Canucks Daily Rumblings: Looking for Second-Line Help

Oct 29, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Vancouver Canucks left wing Sven Baertschi (47) during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Canucks 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Vancouver Canucks left wing Sven Baertschi (47) during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Canucks 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Vancouver Canucks winger Sven Baertschi played a solid first NHL season, but is that enough to keep him on the second line?

The Vancouver Canucks are extremely happy to see winger Sven Baertschi develop the way he has been, and there is no need to worry that a second-round pick was too much to give up. But yet, general manager Jim Benning reportedly wants to add a second-line winger via trade or free agency, and fans aren’t exactly pleased with it.

In slightly funnier news, the Las Vegas franchise is struggling to find a name. Here’s what I think about both topics.

Trademark Issues

The Associated Press: Owner says Las Vegas NHL team having trademark issues with name

"“Our goal is to have a logo and a team name ASAP,” Foley said, adding “I didn’t realize how complicated it was. It is complicated and we’re working our way through the process right now as we speak.”“It should represent Las Vegas, it should represent the environment, it should be unique to Las Vegas,” he said. “But it needs to be a name that people hear the name and say, ‘These guys are tough, these guys are going to win, these guys are dedicated.’ So I need to have that kind of momentum, that kind of philosophy behind the name.”"

Ever since the first expansion rumors emerged about a year ago (or was it more?), fans started to think of possible names and designed logos and jerseys for the potential new clubs. For Quebec City, it was always the Nordiques, there was no way around it. For Las Vegas, on the other hand, there are endless possibilities. The Las Vegas franchise is now becoming reality, but owner Bill Foley is struggling to name his team.

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What’s funny is that it seems as though some people were just quicker than Foley in registering a trademark. For example, Foley’s favorite name seemed to be the Black Knights. As per the US Patent and Trademark Office, however, a guy named Charles Bezak from Las Vegas, NV, owns the “Las Vegas Black Knights” trade mark for “Beanies; Hats; Hooded sweatshirts; Jerseys; Shirts; Sweaters; T-shirts”. So, he just made it an apparel trade mark.

The filing date was February 6, 2015, and it is currently active. What that means for Foley is that he could technically name his franchise the “Las Vegas Black Knights”, but Mr. Bezak is the only one allowed to sell “Las Vegas Black Knights” apparel, including jerseys. Smart guy.

I don’t know a whole lot about law, so I can’t tell you this for sure. But I would assume money could take Foley and his franchise quite far. Since Bezak doesn’t seem to be interested in actually producing any “Las Vegas Black Knights” apparel, having the NHL club buy the trademark is probably his sole intention. I don’t want to falsely accuse anyone, but it would make sense. We’ll see how that shakes out.

The name I personally like the most is “Las Vegas Aces” because it sounds cool and fits Vegas. It is also not currently trademarked. But, Foley does not want his name to have a gambling connection — which makes sense — and we likely won’t see the Aces in the NHL anytime soon. Which is sad, because there are some pretty cool concepts out there:

Does Sven Need Help?

Ben Kuzma — The Province: Benning seeking second-line left winger to take pressure off Baertschi

"“We’d like to add a proven scorer who brings some grit to take the pressure off Sven, so he can keep developing at his own pace,” said Benning. “He took a big step last year and wants to prove to people that he has more to give. But I don’t know where he’s going to end up (next season). At some point, that (second line) is where he’s going to be, but maybe he plays on the third line with the capability of playing on the power play and potentially scoring 15 to 20 goals for us.”"

Sven Baertschi is a typical example for how fans like to overvalue their team’s young, promising players. At this point, most NHL fans will see Baertschi as a skilled third-liner who just scored 15 goals for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, many Canucks fans are sure the 15 were just the beginning and Baertschi will have a crazy breakout year this season.

But who is right?

As most times, the truth lies somewhere in between. It is true that Baertschi just played his first full NHL season after playing 149 games in the AHL. It is also true that 15 goals and 28 points aren’t very much for a second-line player with power-play time. But it is also true that Baertschi played the best hockey of his career so far, and that he finally overcame his defensive issues.

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So, what we are looking at is a 23-year-old winger with only one full season under his belt. He has the talent to score 50 points this season, but it also wouldn’t be too surprising to see him hit just 25. A lot of it could depend on his usage, and that will be heavily influenced by the decision to sign or not to sign another winger.

In a best-case scenario for Baertschi personally, he would play sheltered even-strength minutes with Bo Horvat at center. In addition, he could be used on the power play, perhaps even as the fourth forward on the Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson unit. Meanwhile, a veteran free-agent signing a la Jiri Hudler plays the tougher minutes and Baertschi simply focuses on developing his game.

When Jim Benning says he wants second-line help to take pressure off Baertschi, all he means is that he wants to take pressure of Baertschi. It doesn’t mean Baertschi is a bad player, it simply means he will get an easier development path. In theory, anyway.

If Baertschi outplays Hudler or whoever that second-line addition could be, there is no question that Baertschi would play on the second line. Pushing the UFA signing down the depth chart is no problem whatsoever.

Next: Baertschi Should Play with Eriksson, Horvat

However, if Baertschi struggles under the pressure of being a full-time second-line player and the Canucks have no one to take some pressure off him, the team will have a problem. Signing a veteran for the middle six makes a lot of sense. It wouldn’t be a sign of a lack of trust, but merely an insurance in case things go worse than expected.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst — that’s all.