I’ve dissected the J.T. Miller trade dozens of times this summer, asking myself each time if I’ve been too hard on the Canucks. After all, they can’t stay bad forever, and they can’t be expected to improve without shaking things up and taking a risk.

Still, no matter how hard I try I can’t find a way to justify it. The Lightning were desperate to shed salary and needed to deal Miller, even at a discount, and the Canucks paid sticker price.

I think the nicest thing I can say is that J.T. Miller is a good player, and if he had fetched that price from a contender I probably wouldn’t have been too surprised. It would have still been an overpayment, but not a significant one.

Unfortunately, the Canucks are not a contender, so that makes the overpayment look worse than it is, and considering that the team is far from a lock to make the playoffs in the next two years, the deal has the potential to look catastrophic in the near future.

Puljujarvi is oozing with potential, but at this point I don’t see how you can justify moving out two flawed but reasonably productive wingers for a wild card who has yet to prove he’s capable of being an offensive force in North America. A Goldobin-Puljujarvi swap makes sense, and I could see the justification for a Baertschi-Puljujarvi swap, but dealing both and getting only Puljujarvi back would be an overpayment. Puljuarvi’s value is at an all-time low, so if I were an NHL GM there’s no way I would give up a proven asset and a promising young winger for what essentially amounts to a project 21-year-old winger at this point.

It would seem unwise to me for a team that’s best years are three or four years down the road at the very least to pin their hopes on a 30-year-old goaltender who had performed at below league-average until midway through last season. Then again, Demko is still totally unproven at the NHL level, and the 2020 free agent class looks unimpressive at the goaltending position.

I could see a situation arising where Demko struggles and the Canucks, entering win-now mode, elect to move on next summer. I can also envision a series of events that would lead to him taking over the starting role by Christmas. At this point, it’s going to be very hard to predict what the Canucks will do until we see both players in action.

I think it’s reasonable at this point to say that Jake Virtanen is not a playmaker and probably never will be. That puts a ceiling on his offense the same way a lack of goal-scoring ability does for a pure playmaker. I’d be very surprised if he ever surpassed 20 assists in a season, and that’s being fairly generous considering he’s about to turn 23 and has yet to surpass 10. That puts a hard ceiling on Jake’s offence of about 40-45 points a season, and that’s being optimistic. If he gets 30 points next year, that would be a great success. I think the days of imagining Virtanen as a future top-line winger are a thing of the past, but he’s a useful role player with room to improve.

Believe it or not, I don’t really keep a running tally of my internet arguments. I also don’t put a ton of weight into the opinions of anonymous twitter users, so I can’t really think of an instance where the sheer logic and reason of an online sparring partner left me dead in my tracks. I’m not saying I’m always right, I just don’t change my mind at the drop of a hat. I’m going to have to see some real, sustained success before I change my tune on the Canucks’ front office.

Also, can we please never say “Benning Bro” again? It sounds too much like Bernie bro, which is a cool and good thing to be, the opposite of what these guys are; and it implies that the mindset it describes is somehow unique to Canucks fans who have an affinity for Jim Benning, which it absolutely is not. There’s already a word for people who defend every mistake or transgression by a person with more money, power, and influence than them: bootlicker. Let’s try that one on for size. It’s punchier, more accurate, versatile, and won’t need to be retired at the moment the Canucks hire a different general manager.

Before I answer this one, I have to admit I’m pretty burnt out on comics and superheroes. The last time I saw a comic book movie in the theatres was Black Panther, and there were probably two or three years separating the last one I saw before that one. So, I’m not really the best guy to ask. Like what you like, I’m not stopping you, but I’m tapped out.

Objectively, I think you can make the case that Marvel has the best roster. I used to watch the animated Spider-Man and X-Men shows when I was a kid, and I can’t say I really enjoyed any DC property other than Batman. Having said that, I still have a lingering affinity for DC because I enjoyed both the animated Batman series and the original live-action series with Adam West as a child; as well as a good number of the movies before I grew out of them. So, I don’t really have a preference, both because I no longer care enough about either to form an opinion, and because my prior associations with both companies as a child sort of cancel each other out.

To the best of my knowledge, no such data is available. I wish it were, though. The ability to make data-driven decisions on things as minute as gear would be a fascinating development. I would imagine the introduction of player-tracking technology would be a step towards making it happen.

Hutton’s in the second or third tier of free agent defensemen, and they often don’t get signed until late August or early September. He may have to settle for a camp invite at this point. There was a time when his underlying numbers hinted that he was an underrated puck-moving defensive defenseman, but that was some time age. For most of the past two years, he wasn’t particularly good and it’s possible he’s run out of chances.

I don’t really read short-form print media anymore, so you’re out of luck on that one. As far as Ho-Sang is concerned, I think the Islanders just weren’t a good fit for the unique set of obstacles he had in his path to the NHL. Were he to take his talents to Vancouver, I think he’d be a great fit on a line with Bo Horvat, but after the flurry of free agent signings that came this summer, he’d likely be stuck in the same boat as he was in Long Island, fighting for a spot in the top six with more established wingers.

As far as Botch goes… there’s no filling that void; at least, not right away. He was a truly unique figure in hockey media and his absence is going to be felt for a long time. I actually have a piece I’m working on about him and what we’re going to do in his absence, but it’s been slow going. I want to get it right, for obvious reasons.

If there’s one person in the market who I could see sort of taking on some aspects of his role as an aggregator and inquisitor, it would be Thomas Drance, who’s rumoured to be returning to media this fall. There’s no replacing Botch, though. He was one of a kind. A true individual in an industry that spawns precious few. He will be missed.