April 20 2016 08:44PM
It took a little bit longer than some may have liked, but Jim Benning has gotten the job done. The Vancouver Canucks earlier today announced the signing of goaltender Thatcher Demko to a three-year entry-level deal.
Financial terms weren't immediately available, but you have to think that Demko will be getting the rookie maximum (if not very close to it). Demko's college season ended back on April 7 and he had the option of signing with the Canucks or going back to Boston College for his senior year (which he will now forego).
April 20 2016 05:19PM
Photo courtesy: Sarah Hobday
The Comets finished off their 2015-16 regular season last weekend. Heading into the final three games of the campaign, the Comets needed to win more games than either the Bridgeport Sound Tigers or the Portland Pirates in order to move up to seventh in the Eastern Conference and avoid the Toronto Marlies in the first round of the AHL playoffs.
To see how that turned out, as well as which Canucks prospects lit it up in their return from the NHL, you'll have to read on.
April 20 2016 01:00PM
The Vancouver Canucks made a very serious push to pry the first overall selection at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft from the Florida Panthers. Apparently, they offered the Panthers their first round selection, sixth overall, along with Jason Garrison and Hunter Shinkaruk for the pick. Presumably with the intention of using it on Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice.
Knowing everything we know now about the players involved (Garrison, Shinkaruk and Jake Virtanen) would you pull the trigger on that trade? I'm open to you approaching this any number of ways, but it's probably best to do so envisioning the Canucks spending that pick on one of Reinhart or Sam Bennett.
It's an easy yes for me, but I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. If not, what might you offer instead?
April 20 2016 11:00AM
With some time now to digest the 2015-16 Vancouver Canucks season, it’s impossible to suggest there was a single turning point that led to the team’s dismal 31 win performance. Sure, February 9th in Denver – the night both Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter suffered season-ending injuries – was likely the night reality hit home that this year’s Canucks wouldn’t make the playoffs. Perhaps, that was already evident three weeks earlier when captain Henrik Sedin needed help off the ice in Brooklyn after getting steamrolled by Mikhail Grabovski in front of the Canucks bench.
The bottom line is this year’s edition of the Canucks wasn’t good enough – or deep enough – to be any kind of factor in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference. Although the notion of a playoff berth still existed at January’s All-Star break, so many warning signs about the team’s ultimate demise were evident from the first few weeks of the season.
Looking back, here are five losses that should never have happened. This isn’t to suggest that with a different result in these games, the Canucks playoff fortunes would have been different. This is simply a list of five of the team’s most disappointing and most telling losses among the 51 setbacks (38 in regulation & another 13 in overtime/shootout) the Canucks suffered this past season.
For the purposes of this list, the losses selected occurred while the Canucks were still chasing a playoff spot. What happened after the trade deadline – the nine-game losing streak (including three straight shutout losses) and the forgettable back to back no-shows in Alberta in the final week of the season – did not factor into the decision-making.
April 20 2016 09:00AM
Though Luca Sbisa's injuries limited his efficacy and ability to showcase improvement with any degree of consistency, this season represents a massive step in the right direction.
That doesn't necessarily mean that Sbisa has rewarded the Canucks for their unconditional faith, so much as it means he might be a bona fide NHL defenceman. Viewed outside the lens of Sbisa's hefty, if disproportionate contract, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Improvement is a relative term, though. We're still talking about the 33rd worst defender by Corsi against per sixty, 2nd worst by scoring chances against per sixty, 13th worst by high-danger scoring chances against per sixty and 14th worst by Fenwick against per sixty. This season's done wonders to convince me Sbisa might be an NHL defenceman, but mostly it's reinforced the notion that he's not a particularly good one.
If one can imagine some net positive contributions that Sbisa does offer the Canucks lineup, though, we'll find them on the other side of the jump as we review the best of his first two seasons in Vancouver.