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I’m not ready to sound the alarm on Podkolzin’s lack of production in the KHL at his age. He’s had some bad puck luck so far this season, but young players often tend to get the shaft in the KHL and a number of people who are much more tapped in to Podkolzin’s situation than myself have indicated that he’s produced great results even if he hasn’t gotten on the scoresheet yet. His numbers in the VHL have been okay, and he shredded the MHL for the two games he was there, so I’m inclined to believe that once gains the trust of the coaching staff, he’ll be rewarded with more ice time and the production will follow.

I think the disparity between the team’s record in October vs. the rest of the season can be largely attributed to the number of rookies and young players that have made their way into the lineup over the past handful of seasons. Speaking in very broad terms, young players have a tendency to come out of the gate hot and ready to prove they belong in the NHL, and gradually fade over the course of the season, while veterans do the opposite. Rookies also have the element of surprise on their side early on in the season because teams don’t have the book on them yet.

For three straight years, the Canucks have introduced a new rookie into the lineup who significantly changes the team’s outlook and looks to be a significant offensive contributor for years to come, and in each of those three years, the team faded back into obscurity as that player came back down to earth. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why the Canucks have had strong Octobers, including health and strength of schedule, but this is one factor that hasn’t been discussed much.

The Canucks find themselves in an unfortunate situation with the expansion draft looming. Obviously, in an ideal world, they’d hold on to both players, but it’s unlikely that either of Markstrom or Demko would go unselected if left exposed. I wouldn’t want to be the one making the decision, but based on what we’ve seen from Thatcher Demko thus far and the fact that he’s young and cost-controlled, I would probably trade Jacob Markstrom. He’s really grown on me as both a player and a person, but hanging on to Demko is the right decision from an asset management standpoint.

No. I would happily let another team fall on that sword. I’ve traditionally been a big fan of Tyson Barrie, but his production has fallen off a cliff since being traded to Toronto, and he’s 28 years old, which is frankly too old to be giving a player a contract with maximum term. I think he’ll bounce back eventually, but just on the off chance that Barrie’s dip in production is permanent, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole if he’s asking for seven years. 0.26 points per game is not good enough for a player commanding that kind of money and term.

That’s what I would be asking for if I were Hall’s agent. He’ll be roughly the same age when he goes to the market, and like Panarin, he can affect the game in a way that few wingers can. While he obviously lacks the winning pedigree Panarin has, he’s still worth every penny, and if any team can get him for under $11 million, it will be a steal.

Last I checked, he was the second-tallest active defenseman in the league, so… yes.

On paper, DiPietro has been excellent so far, sporting a .930 save percentage and a 1.95 GAA over seven games so far this season. I haven’t seen DiPietro play much this season, so I reached out to Cory Hergott for an update on how he’s progressing this season. According to Cory, DiPietro has looked comfortable handling shooters at the AHL level and doesn’t look at all out of place in pro hockey.

Obviously, the likelihood of a call-up within the next two seasons will depend heavily on what happens between the pipes for the Canucks. If one of Thatcher Demko or Jacob Markstrom suffers a minor injury, I could see him getting called up to back the remaining tender up as early as this year, but I think we’ll probably have to wait until late 2020-2021 before he gets his second start with the organization.

It could be that his association with the 2011 team has bought him endless amounts of goodwill with the city and the organization, but to be honest, it’s more than likely just that he’s part of Green’s staff and it’s rare not to extend assistant coaches if you have your head coach locked up.

I could possibly see the Canucks putting together a package around Jake Virtanen, another young forward who’s perceived to be in need of a change of scenery. The team also has a number of B prospects that could be of the interest to the Red Wings, but to be honest, Steve Yzerman isn’t someone I’d like to be locked in trade negotiations with. I suspect whoever ends up with Athanasiou is going to pay fair price, if he’s moved at all.