Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear of USA TODAY Sports

*This was originally posted March 19, 2022*

I was planning around which articles to write this week and I almost forgot something. It was Avid Thoughts. I haven’t done one of these since last Sunday so it’s almost been two weeks. 

A lot of sports stuff has happened over the past week and let’s just get into it.

The Canucks at the trade deadline

No, I don’t want to talk about the Canucks 1-0 loss to Detroit and the upcoming games against Calgary or Buffalo. Nor do I want to talk about the playoffs. This team can beat teams ahead of them in the standings. That is good. But, they can’t beat teams below them in the standings in must-win games. That is not good? Does that say playoffs to you? Not in my books.

Another year, another trade deadline coming up. For the Canucks, it would be ideal to sell as much as they can.

However, as I said in one of my latest articles for The Canuck Way, don’t expect the Canucks to make an Earth-shattering move but knowing hockey, you never know. JT Miller is unlikely to get traded before noon on Monday and there is still the possibility of him getting traded for a big haul in the offseason. Brock Boeser has been a name thrown out there and ideally, you would like to hang on to him. However, it is tempting to trade him due to the need for cap space, draft picks and prospects. Vancouver also needs help on the blue line, particularly the right side.

Another rumoured name is Conor Garland. He has been mentioned in trade rumours over the past couple of months and Irfaan Gaffar of The Fourth Period reported that the Canucks and Los Angeles Kings are talking about a potential Garland trade. Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV and Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman also said that the Kings have an interest in the skilled and scrappy forward.

Friedman also said he wonders if Alex Turcotte could be a piece going back. The 2019 fifth overall pick is still a work in progress. He only has played eight games this season with LA and currently has 18 points in 47 games with the Ontario Reign and also has dealt with injuries in the AHL. Elite Prospects describes Turcotte as someone with “exceptional hockey sense, impressive skating and compete-level.” They also describe him as a complete player and a gifted playmaker that can also score. There are lots to like.  

Turcotte isn’t the biggest guy (5’11”, 185 pounds) but he could be a potential top-six centre for the Canucks and one that can be the successor to Bo Horvat. Could the Kings be willing to give up Turcotte? Probably not since he has a ton of upside. 

There are a ton of other prospects the Canucks could want. Brandt Clarke is a puck-moving right-handed defenceman with size that was part of the 2021 draft class for example. He would look good on the Canucks blueline. Clarke is looking good as captain of the Barrie Colts with 54 points in 47 games. Though, I think he might untouchable.

Another defenceman is Brock Faber (Not related to Chris Faber.) Faber is also a smooth-skating right-handed D-man with size. I was high on him for the 2020 draft. There is also Sean Durzi, a solid 23-year-old defenceman who is good in transition.

In terms of forwards, young guys like Gabe Vilardi, Akil Thomas, Arthur Kayliev and heck even Tyler Madden could be considered. If Garland or even Boeser is going to LA, the Canucks have a lot of options with Kings prospects to take back.

One name I do see being traded on deadline day is Tyler Motte. Motte has been rumoured to have interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning. It is also rumoured he could sign a four-year deal in the summer and that is something that smells like the old regime. 

Considering what Brandon Hagel got in a trade between Chicago and Tampa, who knows what Motte could get. (Yes, I’m aware Hagel already has 21 goals this year.) In fact, even just getting like a third-round pick is a win. With this crazy market, Motte could get a first. As much as I like Motte, re-signing him to a big-money four-year deal is not the way to go. They could easily find another Motte type in free agency for pennies or look internally. (Will Lockwood is the best example.)

One thing I would like the Canucks to do at the deadline is to move one of the “deadweight contracts.” That is either one of Tyler Myers, Jason Dickinson, Travis Hamonic, Tanner Pearson and Tucker Poolman. (Though, Poolman might be the hardest to move.) I know I said the big moves could come in the offseason but trading one of these players at the deadline will be beneficial. 

I expect the Canucks to have a quiet deadline making only one or two moves. The offseason is where the real fun begins.

Other NHL trades and other big names are potentially on the move

Other than the Hagel trade, there have been some trades in the NHL already.

For example, the biggest target Ben Chiarot has been traded to the Florida Panthers for Tyler Smilanic, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2022 fourth-round pick. Chiarot was a serviceable depth defenceman who can skate well and he hasn’t had the best season. It is quite the price to pay for Florida but they want to go all-in for the Stanley Cup. A good trade to start the rebuild in Montreal.

The Calgary Flames also acquired Calle Jarnkrok from the Seattle Kraken for Florida’s 2022 second-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick, and a 2024 seventh-round pick. He is going to play with his cousin Elias Lindholm. (I didn’t know they were cousins until Frank Seravalli pointed that out after the trade went down.) Seattle gets picks for the future, and Calgary didn’t have to give up their own second. Jarnkrok is one of those players who can play top-six on a middle-to-bottom team but bottom-six on a good team. He can also provide some goal-scoring depth for the Flames so he is a good pickup.

Claude Giroux played his 1000th NHL game and definitely his last as a Flyer. The Flyers have been an absolute trainwreck (Still funny they gave Rasmus Ristolainen a five-year contract.) and need to rebuild. Looks like trading the captain is the first step. Rumours say Florida and Colorado are interested. My pick is Florida.

I could see Jacob Chychurun got to LA or New York. He would be a big part of LA’s future as they need that high-end offensive defenceman. This could push them a bit closer to contention. For the Rangers, adding Chychurun could boost the defensive core that already has guys like Adam Fox, Braden Schneider, Nils Lundkvist, and Jacob Trouba. He could help the Rangers go on a Cup run and push for contention quicker. However, Chychurun won’t come cheap and teams like LA and New York have to pay a big price.

Too bad the NHL trade deadline isn’t exciting as the NBA trade deadline where superstars get traded.

It is a sad time to be a Seahawks fan

I am in excruciating pain and am screaming, crying and throwing up just thinking about how the Seahawks are going to suck for the next few years.

Russell Wilson has been traded to the Denver Broncos and Bobby Wagner has been released (the last of the Super Bowl-winning team is gone!) and don’t be surprised if he joins Wilson in Denver. The Seahawks have also released veterans defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Kerry Hider JR on Friday.

The Rams are the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Cardinals are looking to get better under Kyler Murray and the 49ers need a legit starting QB and a couple more pieces to become a contender. So expect the Seahawks to be at the bottom of the NFC West for a long time.

 Wagner even Tweeted out that the organization didn’t even tell him he was not coming back which is bad optics. 

The Seahawks have delayed the inevitable and it is here.

The offensive line and defence have been poor in recent years and the drafting hasn’t been great. They should have let Pete Carroll and John Schneider go after the season ended. Heck, they should have let them go after the playoff loss against the Cowboys in the 2018 season or after they missed the playoffs in 2017. (Yeah, I know they went 9-7 and Blair Walsh kept missing field goals but still.) Carroll has been openly criticized by former players since the Super Bowl XLIX loss and he is very stubborn in terms of playcalling. I too am sick of seeing run-run-pass-punt.

He says the Seahawks need a rebuild but what they need is a retool. I would rather go five-plus years of being terrible if it means becoming a contender for another decade-plus in the future. No more mediocre football where the team goes nowhere. 

The Seahawks tried to trade for Baker Mayfield but it looks like he is going to the Colts. They could draft a QB like Malik Willis this year but other than that, the QBs don’t leave much to be desired in this year’s draft class. Another option is to ride it out with Drew Lock and draft a QB next year. (Bryce Stroud and CJ Young are top prospects.) 

Watching the Seahawks over the past few years has almost given me heart attacks but for the next few years, it will just be numbness. This team, man. 

Let’s play ball!

So the MLB and MLBPA have come to a deal so that means America’s past time will happen.

I’m not a fan of the 12 team playoffs but I do like the idea of the universal DH. Teams have started spring training and there have been multiple trades and signings.

One is Freddie Freeman signing a six-year deal with the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers already have a star-studded lineup that includes Freeman, Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger.

The Blue Jays also acquired third baseman Matt Chapman and look like a contender. Chapman joins the likes of Vlad Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez in a solid lineup. However, I think they need an upgrade at second base of Cavan Biggio and probably need some depth in the bullpen.

Sanctions against Chelsea and more potential owner updates

So Chelsea has been winning and drew Real Madrid in the Champions League Quarterfinals and I really want them to repeat. Kai Havertz has looked good up front, Tuchel has adapted well with his systems and the defending and goaltending can be counted on. Why can’t they repeat?

However, the big story with Chelsea is off the pitch.

The club has been sanctioned by the UK government due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict even though Roman Abramovich is selling the team. That includes the team store being closed, the club having to pay for travel, tickets not being sold to future matches and no fans at future UCL games until further notice.

I hate what is happening in Ukraine as much as anyone but this is too much. The players, staff (many have been laid off) and fans have nothing to do with Vladimir Putin’s egotistical decision to invade Ukraine. It’s fine sanctioning Abramovich and his yachts but not parts of the club that has anything to do with Russia.

Also, many bids have come in for the purchase of the club and the deadline was Friday. The bids included were from The Ricketts Family who owns the Chicago Cubs, Wyss-Boehly-Goldstein consortium, (consisting of Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and Londoner Jonathan Goldstein) New York Jets owner Woody Johnston, London property developer Nick Candy, the Saudi Media Group and the South Korean sports management company C&P Sports.

The Korean group is interesting. They started out as a small agency in South Korea and now is a big marketing agency for clubs in Europe and Asia. Maybe Chelsea will have BTS and BlackPink as club ambassadors and have them perform halftime shows.

The Saudis are known to buying football clubs. Manchester City and now Newcastle is owned by them. This media group is big in Saudi Arabia but there would be controversy considering Newcastle being purchased by fellow Saudis. They have a lot of money in their pockets and can take Chelsea to even bigger heights. Mohamed Alkhereiji, their owner is a Chelsea fan too.

Nick Candy seems like a fit. He’s a local guy, has been a Chelsea fan since he was a kid and has expressed interest in rebuilding Stamford Bridge. It needs to be upgraded and it is old. 60,000 seats are ideal for a big club like Chelsea so he shows promise. The problem is, what if he is like Francesco Aquilini and only cares about revenue more than the club?

Those two seem like the front runners.

I don’t want an American owner for Chelsea. Look what Americans did to Arsenal and Man United. Stan Kroenke and the Glazers see the English clubs as their little offshore project while they earn most of their money from their American sports teams. The Wyss-Boehly-Goldstein consortium is an exception since it’s a collaboration between rich guys from multiple countries. Woody Johnstone would be a horrible choice knowing how bad the New York Jets are and the Ricketts Family are known to have said controversial stuff about Muslims and like Johnstone are close with former US President Donald Trump. Please, not Johnstone and especially not the Ricketts family. Keep them away from Chelsea as far as possible.

What I want to see from the next Chelsea owner is passion and care for the club and they need to know what is best for Chelsea like Abramovich did. They also need to upgrade Stamford Bridge into a modern state-of-the-art stadium which is something Abramovich failed to do.  

Whoever the owner is, they better just not be there for extra cash, luxury box and free food at Stamford Bridge so they can buy more sports cars and mansions or whatever. Sports teams aren’t just businesses (they are at the end of the day) they are also communities.