April 30 2015 01:00PM
For the third time in four years, the Vancouver Canucks bowed out as prohibitive favourites in the first round of the playoffs without so much as a whimper. A lot has changed in those four years, but much of the core remains the same. The same key pieces that helped drive the Canucks success towards the 2010-11 Stanley Cup are largely in tact, save for the since departed Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo.
A lot can happen in four years. For the aging Canucks core, much of it hasn't been good. The Sedins have lost their fastball, but managed to stay relevant with improved defensive play - all things being relative here, we are still talking about top-fifteen scorers. Dan Hamhuis aged arguably faster than any Canuck under John Tortorella and has turned from steadfast, first-pairing stalwart to serviceable top-four defender. No remaining piece from that key group of 2011 contributors has seen their abilities atrophy to the extent of one Kevin Bieksa though.
It begs the question of whether the heart-and-soul leader from the Canucks blue line has a place in the future of this franchise. The Canucks will have an awful lot of soul searching to do in the coming months. They will have to decide in that time if they want to come out with Bieksa on the other side.
April 30 2015 09:00AM
You can't spell off-season without "fun" and the Canucks are still having fun, despite everything.
April 29 2015 05:00PM
In the upcoming offseason, the Canucks have to address a number of future roster issues. One of those is that the current Canucks goaltending depth, much like water in California, is going to dry up. It should be expected that a number of goaltenders are not going to be re-signed, are going to walk away to Europe, or are not likely consideration for future NHL jobs.
What's the current status of the goalies in Vancouver's system? Let's take a look.
April 29 2015 03:10PM
Desjardins, Linden and Benning addressing the media. "We have difficult decisions to make this off-season" - Linden pic.twitter.com/sEhvQ2RoAf— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) April 29, 2015
The Vancouver Canucks brain trust of Jim Benning, Trevor Linden, and Willie Desjardins held court for one final time in the 2014-2015 season earlier this morning, fielding a variety of questions from media on topics ranging from player deployment to prospects and the future.
There's a lot to dig into today, and some pretty compelling things about the organization's philosophy were shared. Let's dig in to what was revealed after the jump.
April 29 2015 10:00AM
At the end of any team's season, there are the inevitable questions around who will stay and who will go. However, when you have an aging core, a nasty cap situation, and a GM who both loves draft picks and isn't afraid to make moves, there is really only one guarantee going into the offseason: change is coming (again).
There has been a lot of speculation in the Vancouver media over the course of the last couple days, probably best summed up by Jason Botchford in The Provies, who suggested the Canucks move a number of players this offseason, including the rights to Shawn Matthias and Yannick Weber, as well as Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins, and potentially Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen.
Given the Canucks cap situation, it seems likely that Benning will be looking to move core players in exchange for draft picks, rather than taking players back in return, so I thought I'd look at trades made over the past few years for players similar to who the Canucks have to offer.