Former Canucks defenseman Brent Sopel retires from professional hockey

Thomas Drance
February 27 2015 10:30AM

Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brent Sopel has called it a career.

Lots of Canucks fans probably don't think of Sopel as a Canucks defensemen first and foremost, and that's fair enough, he won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks after all. He was a Canucks draft pick though, and ranks in the top-20 defensemen in Canucks franchise history in every major statistical category (games played, plus/minus, goals scored, points, game winning goals and on and on). 

Sopel was quietly a big part of the beloved West Coast Express teams. He also played a small and indirect role in my development as a hockey fan and pundit. I'll share the anecdote with you after the jump.

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The Injury Bug: What's the latest on the health of Miller, Edler, Tanev, Richardson and Burrows?

Thomas Drance
February 26 2015 03:20PM

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The Vancouver walking wounded Canucks have seen their crop of roster players afflicted by bad injury luck of late. The injury bug can be a Brad Marchand-level pest.

After benefitting from a relatively charmed, injury-free existence early in the year, the Canucks have lost a handful of key top-of-the-roster contributors to a smattering of injuries in recent weeks. The list of players in the infirmary now includes a top-line winger, the Canucks' entire first pair, their starting goaltender, and their most important penalty-killing forward.

How far away are those players from returning to the lineup? Read past the jump!

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Jim Benning on goalies: 'It's important to have good goaltenders coming through your system'

Thomas Drance
February 26 2015 12:30PM


Vancouver is called goalieville for a reason.

Long a goaltender graveyard, the Vancouver Canucks enjoyed the luxury of leaning on elite goaltending for a decade during the Roberto Luongo era. During the short-lived Cory Schneider era too. It didn't end well, as we all well know, but the on-ice results were sparkling. 

From 2007 through 2014 the Canucks enjoyed the third highest 5-on-5 save percentage in the league, behind only the Boston Bruins and the Dave Tippett and Sean Burke Phoenix Coyotes. For our purposes, Boston is the relevant team to note, since that's where Canucks general manager Jim Benning cut his teeth as a front office executive. 

Perhaps we haven't paid enough attention in the first nine months or so of Benning's tenure to the emphasis Vancouver's rookie general manager seems to place on quality goaltending. Read past the jump for more.

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Canucks Trade Deadline 2015: Should the Canucks sell high on Shawn Matthias?

Thomas Drance
February 24 2015 01:07PM

Vancouver Canucks forward Shawn Matthias is having an excellent year.

The pending unrestricted free agent has spent much of the season on the wing, and with 14 goals in 57 games, has provided the club with some crucial secondary scoring. 

Matthias, 26, has surely earned himself a raise with his performance this season, and with his combination of above average hands and power forward size, he's likely to command attention in unrestricted free agency. Will he make sense for Vancouver at a (much) higher price point next season? And if not, would the Canucks be wise to gauge what value he might have as a trade chip on deadline day? 

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Canucks Trade Deadline 2015: Inventory

Thomas Drance
February 23 2015 10:00AM

The 2015 NHL Trade Deadline is now only a week away.

What do the Vancouver Canucks need, what chips do they have to play with and how much cap space is available to them? Let's launch our 2015 Canucks Trade Deadline preview series by conducting a thorough inventory.

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