October 05 2014 08:44PM
In many ways, Luca Sbisa is an asset that many teams covet. He's big, he's young, he's physical, he's a defenseman, and he has a first-round NHL entry draft pedigree.
Then again, Cam Barker and Ryan Parent had the same things going for them.
Sbisa has struggled to gain his footing in the NHL so far in his career, being relegated to the 9th D role in Anaheim last season, and ultimately cast off by the Ducks in the Ryan Kesler trade. Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins have given Sbisa every opportunity to show he deserves a top-6 role in Vancouver this upcoming season, but that hasn't gone all that well so far. Can Sbisa finally live up to his potential and become a legitimate NHL player? Or will he fail to make a good impression in what may very well be his last shot at being a long-term NHLer? Read past the jump.
October 05 2014 03:21PM
Pressed against the upper limits of the salary cap last off-season, former GM Mike Gillis had to get creative when dipping into the free-agent pool. Upon checking into the clearance isle, Gillis found his man in Los Angeles Kings castaway, Brad Richardson.
The move was met with disinterest and cynicism. Richardson had spent much of the last few seasons in Daryl Sutter's doghouse and was healthy scratched for large parts of the season prior to signing with Vancouver. It also did little to address the Canucks most glaring need that offseason, for youth and scoring punch in their top-six.
When looked at in a vacuum, though, Richardson provided the Canucks with value that greatly exceeded his two-year contract, valued at a total of $2.3 million. Looked to as a replacement for the departed Max Lapierre, Richardson's play and a dearth of center depth necessitated his role expanding beyond that.
That alone makes the Richardson signing one of the last great coups by Mike Gillis. Let's look at this a little more in depth, on the other side of the jump.
October 05 2014 12:53PM
In the past 12 months the Vancouver Canucks have traded a pair of star players in Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler in exchange for a pair of offensively gifted pivots best suited to playing a bottom-six role (and also two non-tender candidates, and a first round pick, and a third that became Derek Dorsett).
That pair of centers with offensive talent includes Shawn Matthias who has size and skill, but has never really put it all together. At 26-years-old he's likely running out of time and upside.
What can we expect from Matthias this upcoming season? Read on past the jump.
October 04 2014 11:41PM
There's an old idiom in sports, that you should never complain about a win. Well, we're masters of complaining at Canucks Army, and it's the preseason so wins are kind of secondary to whether the team looks good. Against a far less skilled Edmonton Oilers squad resting many of their top players, a veteran-heavy Canucks roster eked out a 3-2 victory, despite being heavily outshot. There wasn't a lot to really like after the first period, but hey, it's the last preseason game and not getting hurt is probably more of a priority than fight like hell for a win that means literally nothing.
Fortunately, this is the last time we can excuse not giving 200% effort in the name of saving yourself for the games that matter because the games that matter start this week!
Read past the jump for a recap of Vancouver's last preseason game of 2014.
October 04 2014 04:10PM
While it's the last game of the preseason for both the Canucks and the visiting Edmonton Oilers, each team is taking a very different approach to their Saturday night showdown at Rogers Arena. A veteran-laden Vancouver roster featuring every notable Canuck except for Kevin Bieksa will face a young Oilers team, missing nearly every legitimate NHL player short of Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, and Teddy Purcell.
It's a final tune-up for the Canucks against a final audition for the Oilers. It's a huge mismatch on paper, but anything can happen in a single hockey game. Read past the jump for more.