Last season – 13th in the Western Conference
The Canucks had a rough year last season. Scoring the least amount of goals of any team in the league. This season’s team doesn’t look a whole lot better, probably should expect them to score some more goals, but their defensive problems will likely be the same and that won’t win them any more games than around those 31 they did last year.
GM – Jim Benning
Benning has been a headscratcher for the fans since he was hired two seasons ago. Depending on how the management see him, one would think he would need to have a solid season in terms of how he’s improving this team.
They won’t make the playoffs unless something spectacular happens this season, and unless he makes some moves that puts them in a clear direction, Benning could be on the hot seat this coming offseason.
Head Coach – Willie Desjardins
Desjardins is entering his third season as the head coach for the Canucks. Previously he has a WHL-championship and a Calder Cup-championship (AHL) as a head coach, so he has won at both of the levels below the NHL.
The Canucks organization shouldn’t expect him to suddenly make gold coins out of pocket change, so hopefully he’ll get the time and space to go about his business improving their play this season. His biggest obstacle will be to get more offensive contributions among his roster and limit the amount of mistakes made defensively.
Loui Eriksson (RW), Erik Gudbranson (D), Philip Larsen (D), Olli Juolevi (D), Jayson Megna (RW), Thatcher Demko (G),
5th round pick 2016
Dan Hamhuis, Yannick Weber (D), Jared McCann (C),
2nd round pick 2016, 4th round pick 2016
The Canucks biggest offseason moves were signing Loui Eriksson, trading for Erik Gudbranson and re-signing Jacob Markstrom. But neither of those moves makes this team a whole lot better. They have Miller, the Sedins will play well anyway and Gudbranson isn’t a huge upgrade unless he shows a progression no one predicts. Most likely he isn’t an upgrade given how they lost Hamhuis and Weber from that blueline.
Goaltending – 7/10
Miller has lost a few steps and Markstrom have gained some. It’s a solid duo, but is it enough to help this team up the standings? Possibly, but both goalies are moody and streaky goalies, so most likely not.
Defense – 4/10
The Canucks defense just isn’t that good compared to what it has been earlier. Their first pair is good, but their depth isn’t either good enough to be able to compete with the better teams in the league. They have some younger talented defensemen, but they won’t be with the team this year.
Edler – C. Tanev
B. Hutton – Gudbranson
Sbisa – P. Larsen
Stecher – Tryamkin
Forwards – 5/10
The Canucks got a great 1st line with or without the addition of Loui Eriksson, but the rest is a work in progress. They were the worst offense in the league last season, and I can’t see it improve that much this year. Don’t expect the Canucks to suddenly rise in the standing because of this offense. They must be given some time and possible make some moves to have a better shot at being back in the playoffs.
Sedin – H. Sedin – L. Eriksson
Rodin – B. Sutter – J. Hansen
Baertschi – M. Granlund – Virtanen
Burrows – Horvat – Skille
Etem – Gaunce – Dorsett
Team Composition – 4/10
The goalie duo is good, the defense has a good 1st pair and a lot of questions, the 1st line is solid, but the rest is a bit up in the air. Overall, this lineup shouldn’t be good enough to make the playoffs, and they need more retool fast if they want to make more damage before the Sedin’s careers are over.
The way they are built just isn’t very effective, they won’t have a 2nd line that will give enough support, and their 3rd line aren’t close to being among the best 3rd lines in the league.
Leadership presence – 6/10
Among the 1st line and with Ryan Miller in the net. There is some important leadership here, but there is a distinct lack of more players that will take charge of getting this roster higher up in the standings.
Skill Value – 6/10
There are some interesting players among this group, but as an overall roster, there is too much skill lacking for them to be able to put too much fear into their opponents.
As a Canucks fan, I agree with this. There is a lot of if’s and but’s and for a team that really struggled last season with scoring, icing essentially the same forward group as last year, except for Eriksson of course, puts a lot of pressure on Sutter, Virtanen, Baertschi, Granlund, and so on, to score goals.
The addition of Skille won’t do much, and he will probably be waived, or the extra forward when Rodin returns from IR. Hopefully Larsen can live up the hype of the management, and the addition of a solid stay-at-home D like Gudbranson, gives room for Hutton to use his offensive skills to a wider extent.
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It’s good to get comments from supporters of the teams, and it’s good that you agree with us. Shows that we got it about right.
It will for sure be a lot more pressure on Virtanen, Baertschi and Granlund to provide more offense than last year. That’s also a pressure they themselves should welcome, as I’m sure they also want to improve and be better at the NHL level.
A lot of Panthers-fans were disappointed with Gudbranson, so for him it’s a bounce back season, I’m not to sold on the issue that he will have a big bounce back year, but we should see some improvement in his play.
Also, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for a team in “retool”-mode to ice essentially the same forward line-up. But hey – NHL is back tonight!