The Canuck Way Mailbag: Flying banners, expansion and Miller’s leadership

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 22: JT Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates during NHL action against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena on March 22, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 22: JT Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates during NHL action against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena on March 22, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /
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BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 24: Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks attends round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 24: Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks attends round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

More mailbag Q&A

Like the Fast and Furious series, many Canucks fans’ contempt for Jim Benning was meant for the skies. For those that have the pleasure of taking part in Canucks Twitter, you’ll know this was a pretty charged discussion over the past week.

For starters, I think it’s hilarious. This isn’t the first time sports fans have gone this far in publicly voicing their displeasure for management, and it certainly will not be the last.

Real or not, watching the phrase “Fire Benning” glisten over the Vancouver skyline would, in the very least, garner a quiet “exhale through the nose” laugh from any passerby in the city.

Second, if $1600 is the cost to fly this thing over Metro Vancouver, you can’t argue that there aren’t at least 160 disgruntled Canucks fans who would contribute $10 to see this glorious idea come to fruition.

This fanbase is way too proud for that not to be true, and for all intents and purposes, it is.

The fundraiser has generated $2,600 thus far, with the rest of the money supposedly going towards Canuck Place Children’s Hospice (I’ll add the donation link to their website if anyone would like to donate there).

So, whether this thing takes flight or not, one would like to hope that money goes to the children who need it most while generating tremendous buzz in the process.

There are not enough good things I can say about Vasili Podkolzin. He is impactful at all ends of the rink. He can forecheck, make plays, kill penalties, and provide veteran leadership at a young age.

After setting multiple records as a 19-year-old at SKA St. Petersburg, Podkolzin will join Russia for the 2021 World Championships in Slovakia.

Knowing this, Podkolzin’s long-awaited arrival in Vancouver will come next season, and I expect the Russian forward to play meaningful minutes straight out of the gate. Given the team’s current composition, the Russian winger is the perfect fit alongside Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson.

While Nils Höglander has proven himself to be effective in a top-six role, the insertion of Podkolzin into the Canucks lineup adds much-needed versatility to the team’s forward group.

Podkolzin’s rigid defensive play bodes well for a matchup role, and his high offensive IQ should give whatever line he plays on a much-needed boost.

Further, while head coach Travis Green may not hand Podkolzin the reigns to the Canucks penalty-kill right away, I expect the future rookie to log minutes on both special-teams units.

To offer a more firm projection, I can see Podkolzin finishing in the 30-point range as a top 10-15 rookie by season’s end.

While Podkolzin might not appear in the Calder Trophy conversation, he will provide tremendous utility to the roster for many years. Canucks fans should be excited for the Russian’s addition to the lineup.

After Tryamkin’s KHL team Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg was eliminated from the Gagarin Cup Playoffs, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Canucks would reach out to his camp to touch base.

Tryamkin finished this year’s campaign with three goals and 15 points through 60 games. On the defensive side, while the Russian giant finished the season as a -3, he ranked third in the KHL with 122 blocked shots.

Given the Canucks defence core’s state right now, there is certainly enough room to at least give Tryamkin a look. Though, it doesn’t seem that he would be willing to come over to North America without some sort of commitment from the Canucks, as a lack of such lead to his departure previously.

Knowing this, Tryamkin is probably looking for at least a two-year deal. So, unless the 6’8″ defender is willing to accept a deal of around or under $1.5-million, the fit may not be ideal. As the Canucks look set to spend to the cap this season, Benning can’t afford to add a relatively unknown commodity at more risk than he needs to.

I think that Tryamkin could boost the Canucks defence core, but realistically if it comes at too high a price tag, it’s best just to let the Big Russian hit the free-agent market.