R. Aaron Houde \ Aug 17th, 2019
The Vancouver Canucks team has been through a tough 4 years. After Henrik and Daniel Sedin retired at the end of the 2017-2018 season, Trevor Linden followed suit at the end of the 2018-2019 season, leaving as president of hockey operations, being replaced by Jim Benning. This is the third time in Canucks’ history they have failed to make the playoffs for four consecutive years. The team has never missed the playoffs for five years consecutively. But all is not dark in Vancouver.
The biggest addition to the Canucks lineup came in the Free Agent market, signing Defensemen Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn, and Left Winger Micheal Ferland. In the trade world, Vancouver acquired J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Marek Mazanec, a 3rd round pick in the most recent NHL Draft, and a 2020 conditional 1st round pick (if Vancouver is involved in the 2020 draft lottery, the pick will become a first-round draft pick in 2021).
Markus Granlund, who was a solid secondary center, signed with the Edmonton Oilers on the Free Agent market. Also, Derrick Pouliot was nabbed by the St. Louis Blues via Free Agency. Both Granlund and Pouliot are assets to any team who need more top-six forward depth, but Vancouver has enough talent that losing these two shouldn’t be enough to break them.
Overview of Changes:
Every team has a cornerstone, and for Vancouver, it was the Sedin twins for a long time. As of last year, it became Elias Pettersson, who won the Calder Memorial Trophy in the 2018-2019 season as the league’s best rookie. Expect to see Miller on the wing with Pettersson, and that line to produce a lot of points, but play a lot of minutes. Myers will add size to the blue line, and Benn can add experience, which can make a difference in helping balance the lack of a top tier goaltender.
The Canucks fan-base has been patient, and while they have shown progression (they were close to finishing over 500 last year), how long will they show up? Can Pettersson carry a Canadian team to glory? Will Sven Baertschi show a full recovery from his concussion last year? If not, who will take his place? There is a lot of talent in the Canucks locker room (and in development in the junior leagues), and it is hard to pick a lineup with all of the names available.
It is hard to nail down if the Canucks will, for the first time, miss the playoffs for five years. September will show what to expect, but they are making the right strides. Jacob Markstrom is not a bad goaltender, but he is not on the level that Vancouver needs. They aren’t going backward, but they aren’t going to surprise anybody.
Golfing in April.
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