Vancouver Canucks roundtable: How to solve the forward logjam

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 4: Sven Baertschi #47 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammate Bo Horvat #53 after scoring during their NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Arena January 4, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 4: Sven Baertschi #47 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammate Bo Horvat #53 after scoring during their NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Arena January 4, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /

The Vancouver Canucks have far too many forwards on the roster, and the regular season is less than two months away. Our staff discusses how the team should go about clearing roster space as 2018-19 gets closer.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has done plenty right in his first four years as general manager, but many raised eyebrows when he signed Tim Schaller, Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel to multi-year contracts.

The rebuilding Canucks now have to find a way to give ice time to these three (expensive) additions, Elias Pettersson, perhaps Adam Gaudette and all the returning regular from last year. Nikolay Goldobin will fight hard for a roster spot, too.

Benning is going to have to move out some players to clear roster space, but who would he trade? Who gets waived? Which players start out the season for the Utica Comets? He’s only got a few weeks left to figure it out.

Our staff here would love to tell you what will happen to certain players, but we can only guess at this point. Nonetheless, we play the fun guessing game and also explain what we think the best moves would be as Benning tries to construct his opening night roster.

I asked our staff: The Canucks have a major logjam at forward. How would you go about making room?  Which players would you trade, waive, demote and such?

Alex Hoegler

I know there have been talks about the Canucks having to waive or even trade Goldobin, but that would be a horrible move by the front office. The Canucks need to clear room for this speedy forward; one with 20-goal potential.

The Canucks are going to have to trade a player or two. I think it starts with moving out Sam Gagner, who’s versatility and speed could make him attractive to another team. It just isn’t going to work in Vancouver. Darren Archibald will likely get waived, perhaps they should do the same to Brendan Gaunce?

Related Story. Canucks: More on Trevor Linden's departure. light

I do feel like the Canucks could trade Brandon Sutter, but Benning doesn’t seem interested in going that route. I would certainly try to do if it I were GM, however. You have to move out some players. I’d love Adam Gaudette to start the season here, but I’ve come to accept he’ll probably play for the Utica Comets, while these three free agent comers take away his spot.

Otherwise, I’m not sure how Benning is going to do it, especially with Pettersson likely making the team and Jonathan Dahlen sure to make a push for a roster spot. But I’m ecstatic to see just how Benning goes about making room.

Scott Rosenhek

More from The Canuck Way

The big problem is the forward ranks. At the moment, there are 17 waiver-eligible forwards. Remove Derek Dorsett to place on LTIR and there is 16. This number does not include Elias Pettersson or Adam Gaudette. I will get to them soon. Three players to waive right away are Tanner Kero, Darren Archibald and Reid Boucher.

I really do like the latter two, but there simply isn’t room for them. That leaves 13 forwards with no room for Pettersson or Gaudette.

I would waive Markus Granlund to make room for Pettersson. Granlund is expendable and won’t be missed if claimed (I doubt he will be).

As for Gaudette, his training camp makes or breaks a roster spot. But if he is ready (and I think he is), then I would try to trade Brandon Sutter. Failing that, test the market on Sam Gagner and waive him if no other team is interested. If Sutter is moved, Jay Beagle and Brendan Gaunce take defensive matchups. Can beagle handle Brandon Sutter minutes? Probably not, but don’t expect anyone to trade for Beagle since he just signed.

Gagner is not a good centre and the team is rich with smallish, skilled wingers. I doubt anybody wants Gagner with two years left on a bad deal, so he may be a roster victim of Travis Green since

Gagner is so terrible defensively. In either scenario, we get two Canucks rookies on opening night. The team is still bad, but this is the best we have since there are several contracts handcuffing the roster.

Chris Faber

The Canucks have too many average forwards, it’s clear to see. There are two groups of these forwards, the ones that are due to contracts that have too much length or budding young players that are ready to take a leap to becoming everyday NHLers.

It’s almost impossible to move some of these average aging guys so the only real option is to let some of the young ones marinate in the AHL.

light. Related Story. Vancouver Canucks: Milestone watch for 2018-19 season

There are still a couple player such as Goldobin, Gaunce and Granlund that may find themselves on the outside looking in when we get to opening night and that isn’t a great move for players that we would love to see thrive in a rebuilding team.

I would send Gaudette to the AHL, try to move Gagner while holding onto half of his salary and keep around guys like Granlund and Schaller as extra forwards who can slot in due to injury or poor play. The problem is mediocracy, the Canucks forward group is stuffed with it and mediocre players shouldn’t be taking jobs from young guys with potential, but here we are.

Tyler Shipley

I would go back in time and not sign the Beagle boys! Unfortunately those signings are the cause of the logjam and so if I was given the key to the team today they would be the players I would be trying to move. Unfortunately moving them would surely require letting them make the team and hoping they have good starts so that they are marketable.

What a mess. I mean, there are mid-level players like Granlund that you could move ideally for picks. But why move Granlund and keep Schaller? Doesn’t make sense.

I suspect Goldy is going to get traded, which is just an utter failure; handled right, he could be emerging as a uniquely talented top-six forward. Doesn’t look like that’s happening. I would obviously also try to move Sutter. There has been interest, apparently, and we should be jumping at that. All the babble about needing centres is misguided in my opinion.

Next. Vancouver Canucks: What to do with Loui Eriksson. dark

There are players (like Pettersson!) who can shift to C and grow into the position. We are not going to win many games this season and that should be understood. The season should be about development. I’d rather shift out the vets and let the kids play.