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The Canucks need more heavy sandpaper players according to Rutherford | Offside

Jim Rutherford’s unabridged to-do list is not short.

The Vancouver Canucks head of hockey operations has been very vocal in assessing his team since the season ended.

That continued Monday in a chat with Frank Seravalli and Jason Gregor on DFO Rundown, as Rutherford outlined some specific things his team is looking to add to this off-season.

Rutherford reiterated that the Canucks had relied on superb goalkeeper Thatcher Demko on many nights, and spoke of the need for more structure in the play ahead of them. The Hall of Fame CEO also spoke about the need to weed out the salary and youth, while acknowledging that his team needed more “sandpaper”.

“We have a real good understanding now with where we are with the Vancouver Canucks. That’s what I’ve been saying from the start. We have to cancel some of these contracts here, to have more room, to try and make some changes in the future,” said Rutherford, having now worked with the organization for more of five months.

“We do very well with what we want to do.”

It’s becoming clear that if Rutherford has his way, the Canucks will look very different next season. If he’s not entirely satisfied with the way Bruce Boudreau has coached, explicitly calling for the team structure, what should he think about creating the roster?

When asked if his team has enough “sandpaper guys”, Rutherford agreed they don’t, especially for the Western Conference team, where he said a bigger team is needed.

“We don’t have enough sandpaper,” said Rutherford. “It’s a different game in the West. We have to get some players – not a lot of players – but a few slightly heavier players, to play with some sandpaper.”

The Canucks are far from a big, tough team. Despite hiring the NHL’s second tallest player at 6-foot-8 defender Tyler Myers, the Canucks were one of the shortest and lightest teams in the league.

Vancouver was ranked 29th out of 32 teams for average height (6’1″/185.15cm) according to Elite Prospects, and 24th in weight (197lbs/89.27kg).

Luke Schenn, who General Manager Patrick Allvin spoke glowingly after the trade deadline, is someone who qualifies as a “sandpaper guy.” after that? Kyle Burroughs plays a tough game, but he’s ideally a backup man. Jason Dickinson ranked third among the Canucks players (at least 40) in hits per 60 minutes, illustrating the lack of a Vancouver squad.

Rutherford said he would like more depth and balance, saying in response to a question about Elias Peterson that his more consistent companions would help him.

But in order to do that, the Canucks need to clear their cover space, so they can be part of the “offseason game,” Rutherford said.

getting old

Not only did Rutherford express his team’s desire to get younger, but he identified two specific locations where this would be most important.

In particular, Rutherford would like to add a young, right-footed defender and center to the organization.

Right-ball player Jet Woo was playing as a winger along the Abbotsford stretch, while quarterback Adam Judd was traded last season. The Canucks have had quite a few picks in the past two seasons, picking only one player in the top 100 picks in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

There is not much help coming.

“I think not only for next season, but in the long-term, we don’t have any young right-handed defensive players. We don’t have any youth center cops coming in. Those are going to be some of the things we will focus on here, whether we can do it off-season here or if It took another year or two. “That’s our priority,” said Rutherford.

“We have to put together a team for next year where we have more balance and depth. More balance in the attackers, during our defense pairs so that the minutes can be shared a little better, and give these players a better chance of performing one hundred per cent in every game.”

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2022-05-17 00:47:00

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