We also had answered questions for Nucks Misconduct. If you haven't ventured over there to read what they had to ask and what we had to say, jump on over there to read the three parts of their end of the series. Part one. Part two. Part three.
Today we'll start where we finished yesterday, with Canucks goaltending before moving on to the Vancouver system, and closing the entire interview out with a noteworth cause the organization is tied to..
AHL goalie Eddie Lack just signed a two-year deal with the ‘nucks,with year two being a one-way contract. How do you guys see the goalie situation playing out over the next two seasons if / when Luongo is indeed moved?
I love it when a good segue comes together (editors note: Would be funnier if I had kept continuity between the last question yesterday and this. I ruined his joke).
Tough to know what'll happen two seasons down the road with some many options floating in the air now. Five scenarios are possible in the near future:
1. Schneider is the starter, Luongo is the back-up. This is most likely what will happen as it's going to take some time for Gillis to find the right deal and Luongo, being the professional that he is, is aware of the situation and will do what's best for the team. How long they platoon the duo is tough to say, but it wouldn't shock me if it's for the bulk of the season. Schneider will be out to prove he's a starter and Luongo will be driven to prove his worth, so both have skin in the game and want the wins.
2. Luongo moves on and a back-up goalie heads to Vancouver (ex.Jose Theodore). This would allow Schneider to be the unquestioned #1 without distraction and provide a bit of veteran leadership to boot.
3. Luongo moves on and no back-up goalie is part of the deal, so the Canucks thrust Lack into the equation. Personally I dislike this idea since the Canucks need to win now, not so forcibly flush their tandem in net with a great deal of inexperience. However Lack has quietly shown he belongs in play as he has the best numbers of any AHL'er against NHL shooters. This would model Vancouver's netminding very much like Los Angeles where Jonathan Quick does the lionshare and the very talented Jonathan Bernier lies in wait.
4. Luongo moves on and no back-up goalie is part of the deal, (and maybe the Canucks thrust Lack into the equation but find out Lack isn't ready for primetime) so the Canucks are forced to scramble at the last minute for anyone with two legs and a goalie pads. I believe
Dan Ellis is available.
5. The NHL locks out for a season or more and everyone quits for the KHL. At that point we'll go the sumo wrestler route.
Besides Eddie Lack (as a potential backup goalie), who are some of the other up-and-coming players in the Canucks system, and do they have a shot at the roster this season (...should there be a season)?
Besides Lack, the only rookies I can pushing hard for a roster spot could be Jordan Schroeder (C), Nicklas Jensen (RW) or, as previously mentioned, Kevin Connauton (D). Schroeder especially since he may get a chance to replace the injured Ryan Kesler (though a prolonged lockout will definitely hurt those chances) and he's the most talented center close to punching through. There will be concerns over his size (5'8'') but he's shown in the AHL to have a great two-way game so we're excited to see him battle at the NHL level.
Jensen is probably the best prospect Vancouver has and his agent already said he'll either be on the Canucks roster next season or head back to the Swedish Elite League (he's ineligible for the AHL). I love his game, but suspect there isn't an opening at RW to be had unless he's pinned to the third or fourth line (which, knowing how Vigneault juggles the lines, is quite possible).
Connauton may be the victim of a numbers game, but he'll almost certainly get (deserves?) a call-up. I'm not sold he's an everyday player yet, but he's a tweener who needs the chance to cut his teeth at the NHL level. Plus I want to see his shot totally burn some opposing netminder on the powerplay. Like Kiprusoff. Yes...Kiprusoff. So he must be called up for every VAN/CGY game. Now that it's written on the internet, it must come true.
If there's a tier 2 involved, I'd throw in Yann Sauve and Anton Rodin (RW) into the mix. Sauve seems destined for the third pairing - maaaybe second pairing - but he's only played two seasons in the AHL
and there is some concern he's still not ready. Like Jensen, I'm not sure there's space for Rodin right now but moreover the winger had a questionable first year in the AHL, so another full season with the Wolves is likely.
The Canucks are involved in something called Mindcheck, or they are promoting it on their web site. Can you tell us a little about that?
Mindcheck was created by the Canucks, the Canucks for Kids Foundation, Fraser Health and Provincial Health Services Authority and BC Children's Hospital to help drive awareness for mental illness in children, teenagers and young adults. It focuses primarily on depression and substance abuse, how those problems can start at a young age and what steps/resources are available to help combat them. Regretably Mindcheck came into being in January of this year on the heels of Rick Rypien's suicide on August 15, 2011. Though he was officially a Winnipeg Jet at the time, Rypien had played every single one of his NHL games for the Canucks and was a massive fan favorite due pugnacious style despite his relative short size. I know the Nucks Misconduct community took the news hardand were quite happy to see the team create something positive out of it and hopefully help many who need it in the process. You can also check out the official Mindcheck PSA with Kevin Bieksa