Relive the Vancouver Canucks 2014-15 Season

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks breaking down the recent history of the Vancouver Canucks. Many of those years were good and invoke positive memories. Some were fantastic but eventually invoked heartache. There were the duds as well, but thankfully, those were few and far between. All of this brings us to as close to the present as we’ll get until October; last season.

Results

Team Level:

Team Record Points Standings Goal Differential SH% SV% PDO
48-29-5 101 2nd in Pacific, 5th in West, 8th in NHL 20 9.6 915 1006

It’s kind of weird to remember, among all of this mess, that the team actually finished in a relatively decent spot last year. Going purely by regular season points percentage, this would have technically been the most successful Canucks roster in team history all the way up until 2002/03, and it was a gross improvement on 2013/14. All in all, the Canucks won a lot of hockey games and often looked pretty good.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Individual Level:

2015stats

Interestingly enough, they didn’t need any particularly elite seasons to make this happen. The twins recovered from their spectacular down year, but didn’t put up the totals that they were contributing a few years prior. Radim Vrbata slotted in very nicely and lead the team in goals, but beyond that, this wasn’t an overly dominant team.

Perhaps the best player on the roster? Eddie Lack. Once the third wheel in the Luongo/Schneider debate, the Swede was well above the league average at stopping pucks and put up a very respectable record. New addition and starting goaltender Ryan Miller didn’t quite live up to his salary, but despite putting up slightly below league average numbers, managed to contribute to more points in the standings.

Transactions

2015trades

The biggest of these trades was obviously the Kesler deal. Unhappy with the media and fan pressure that came with playing in a major market like Vancouver, Kesler requested a trade from the team, while using his No Trade Clause to direct himself into a situation he liked. This, combined with the concurrent Jason Spezza sweepstakes, dropped Kesler’s value to a draft pick swap, the ever so controversial Luca Sbisa, the ever so recently traded Nick Bonino, and a first round pick used to draft Jared McCann.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Other than that, the trades made weren’t a ton to write home about or involve non-bluechip prospects who need more time to develop before we can say who won or lost. Perhaps the best of the bunch was the buy-low acquisition of Sven Baertschi, who had a strong finish to his season in Utica.

Free agency was where the bulk of the “improvements” came from. The Canucks lost out on super bottom sixer Mike Santorelli, but made up for that and then some with the cost effective two year signing of Vrbata. As mentioned before, the cost on Miller was probably too much, but at the end of the day, Vancouver was still able to sign a “brand name” free agent despite skepticism in their transition process.

Draft:

2015draft

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Truthfully, it’s super hard to declare this draft good or bad yet; we had the Canucks as having an above the curve draft according to PCS when Cam crunched the numbers in July, and both Boeser and Brisebois have received positive feedback from scouts over the past few months. 

With that said, a key component to developing a good prospect is, well, developing them, and you can count the weeks since draft day on your fingers. 

Season Review

The Canucks made some changes with men wearing jerseys, but made even more involving men wearing suits. Mike Gillis, John Tortorella, and Mike Sullivan were out; Jim Benning, Willie Desjardins, and Doug Lidster were in, with Trevor Linden now overseeing the process. The new coaching staff and management combined with a retooled roster left few sure what to expect.

With that said, things started off on the right foot. The Canucks opened things off by cakewalking through Alberta, handily defeating the Flames once and the Oilers twice to kickstart the year with a 3-0-0 record. While they’d lose three of their next four, they followed that by going 12-3-1 in the next stretch of games that followed. Suddenly, the basement teams looked like competitors.

Of course, they proved to be overachieving, and fell back to earth a bit, largely becoming a 0.500 team until the second week of March. By this point, however, Eddie Lack had hit his stride, and was stopping pucks left and right to secure the team a spot in the playoffs. 

The playoffs started the same way as the regular season did for the Canucks; against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena. Many had the Canucks as the favourite for the series; not necessarily because they looked like a powerhouse, but because Calgary’s bubble had to burst at some point. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in this round. Despite the Canucks being up with eight minutes to go in Game 1, the Flames won the playoff opener in regulation, and when things didn’t go their way in Game 2, they distracted everyone with this:

Calgary pulled off a 4-2 in Game Three, chased Eddie Lack out of the net in Game Four, and while some third period heroics from Daniel Sedin kept the dream alive, the Flames came from behind to win Game Six and ultimately pull the plug on Vancouver’s season.

Rethinking the 2014-15 Vancouver Canucks

It’s hard to have that nostalgia driven hindsight that we had in previous posts when the season ended just a few months ago. Obviously, there are a lot of qualms about how the team handled this offseason, but that doesn’t really attach to what had been done prior.

The most obvious point would probably be that the Canucks should have passed on Ryan Miller. He didn’t exactly lose them anything, but having the six million in annual cap space would be more valuable than a below-replacement level goaltender. Perhaps you’re able to go after a Cody Franson right now and not have to trade Eddie Lack to clear out a logjam, and more importantly, you don’t have yet another mid thirty’s guy on your transitional rebuild roster. 

Beyond that, the things that happened over the course of the season are pretty pedestrian. It wasn’t an awful year on the ice and most of the transactions that shaped the roster had some for of logic to them. We’ll see how we feel about the season ahead when we do a retrospective in a year or so from now, but in the team time, we can chalk up the actual prior season itself as something decent.



    • Double Dees

      It started with Burrows laying that big hit on Gaudreau then going and stupidly picking a fight with Kris Russell who wasn’t even going towards him. Burrows actually skated the 10-15 feet in order to instigate the fight with Russell

  • Double Dees

    The Cancuks fan and media seem to always believe they are more superior than they really are. Especially botchford who predicted Canucks in 5!!! What a tool!

    Face it. Yes the Canucks are a good regular season team but playoffs???

    They are not built to compete in the rigors of the playoffs.

    • Double Dees

      The Flames win one playoff series in ten years and some of their fans think they have the Canucks record in the same period of time.

      Things must have been pretty dry and cold over there for ten years this level of delusional rational to be trotted out now by the Lame Ones.

      • Double Dees

        I’m a huge Flames fan myself, but I agree with this completely. In the last 25 years, Calgary has only won 4 playoff series in total. That being said, I’ll take a Stanley Cup in our history over 4 and a half decades of near misses from the Canucks.

        P.S: That last bit was just a bit of fun, didn’t mean anything malicious by it.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        The Flames have won more playoff series than the mighty Canucks in the last 4 years………

        Watching that line brawl makes me want to puke….Hamhuis gets nothing for being the third guy in???

        What a coward Dorsett is, he cost the Canucks that series. When he refused to fight Ferland he sent the message that no one would stop Ferland from bashing the Canucks all series…

        Don’t even get me started on Burrows!

        WW

      • The GREAT Walter White

        The Flames actually have a cup and during the era where Edmonton had a dynasty and an all star team. The Canucks have nothing but excuses. You don’t have a right to any excuse when you haven’t even won the crown once. And after 47 years, you’ve run out of real excuses long ago.

  • Chungus

    Ok, I usually don’t really care about trash talk between teams because it’s all in good fun.

    These comments have been infested with trolls ever since the playoff series and it has made this site unreadable. No more quality discussion is ever had, it’s just trolls and the people responding to them. I have no solution to this problem, but it’s something you guys should probably deal with.

    • Chungus

      Unfortunate but true, most have left the site and this is what remains. I e-mailed Drance inquiring about the situation but got no reply. The nation is more interested in site hits than quality input or moderation. Maybe when the kids go back to school it will improve but somehow I doubt it.

      • Locust

        It’s disappointing for sure. I originally came to this site to get away from the trolls on TSN and Sportsnet. It seems like it’s only two or three children doing most of the trolling.

    • Locust

      I know a lot of people that have left this site because of the trolls.

      Someone needs to start paying attention to that.

      Nothing wrong with arguments and differing opinions, but some of these trolls are total losers that come here for the only stimulation they get in their lives.

      Sad, sad little people……

      • Double Dees

        Am I stimulating you?

        You like it don’t u?!

        I’m just stating the facts. Canucks are pretenders for next year and the year after that and the year after that and the… Well u get it don’t u?

        Maybe u and ur pal can hold hands and pray for a lottery pick.

      • Double Dees

        Why don’t you give it up? There are people who don’t agree with your assessment or opinion on the Canucks and if you don’t like it that’s too bad. Take it like man if you’re even that.

        My father left this site simply because he made fools out of all you PR guys but then it was like talking to walls that lie all the time. You’re no Canucks fan, just a bunch of tools working for the Aqua-MAN.

      • Double Dees

        Alot of people left this site because of trolls like you.

        You Canucks homer PR trolls always cry about “discussion” Discussion to you guys is what other people say in one of your ears and out the other and when you can’t get your way you start crying like a baby and pulling the “troll” card.LOL

        You need to go online and look up the many examples of what a troll is… you won;t be surprised to find yourself in one of those definitions. LOL

        What, is Trevor only paying you guys 4 cents per comment? LOL

  • mk

    Flames fan here, who lives in Vancouver. Really enjoyed the round 1 series. I had a good laugh when Dorsett bluffed Ferland into dropping the gloves. A good veteran move to get a laugh at Ferland. True, I did enjoy Ferland wrecking face all series, so he did get a laugh or two in as well.

    IMO for the Canucks, 2014-2015 was a strange season where a lot of positives were dragged down by some bad moves/events. My 2 cents:

    Good:
    – Horvat: good player already, going to get better.
    – D-core has some good pieces: Edler, Tanev, Hamhuis are all solid top-4 options.
    – D-core is going to be better without Bieksa: he really fell apart this season.
    – Sedins still going strong, even though not completely dominant anymore.
    – No Torts?

    Bad:
    – Meh return for Kesler, made worse by Bonino-for-Sutter.
    – Sbisa & Dorsett for how much? How long? Ouch.
    – Prust?
    – Going from Luongo/Schneider/Lack to Miller is not a good change (over a couple years)

    I’m no proponent of tanking & rebuilding like the Oilers, but boy does this team need some youth to help. Horvat is a good start. Baertschi might turn out to be a steal. The Sedins won’t be traded anytime soon, even if it would kick-start the rebuild – it would run the team to the basement for sure. But Benning & Linden need to stay away from the ‘rebuild via grit and hardwork’ mentality that values intangibles over actual hockey ability. Having both is the ideal, but being able to play hockey is the best bet if you have to choose between the two.

    Also, what’s the deal with Corrado? I thought he looked at least as good as some of the regular d-men on the Canucks (if not better) for the half-dozen games I’ve seen him in. Why doesn’t he have a more permanent spot?

    • mk

      This is one of the best summations of this past year I’ve ever seen.

      I’m actually more interested to see what happens in Calgary next season, to be honest. Their Corsi% was so bad last year, yet they still made the playoffs. It was exactly like the Avalanche a couple years ago, who proceeded to stink it up again last year.

      Who knows, maybe Calgary remains a playoff team, maybe they drop-off, but either way, it’ll be interesting to watch.

      Some of those kids they have there, though…Dayum.

  • mk

    It’s hilarious that a site which holds itself out as being all about “analytics” ignores the club’s actual results during the regular season, to bash a management team that delivered a winning product on the ice with rosterbation and narrative-driven critiques.

    Also, why hasn’t the site focused on whether the club has addressed the weaknesses exposed in the 2015 playoff results – no physical response to Ferland, and a slow defence – during the offseason? Could it be because . . . management tried to do just that?

    Maybe the site should consider whether it’s really about rational analysis or whether it’s solely about advocating tanking (or as I like to simplify it – losing and being a bunch of losers).

    Now I get why a site run by Oilers and Leafs fans would advocate losing over winning. Losing is all those organizations have done over the last decade – so that messes with the writers’ cognative ability to differentiate good hockey from bad hockey. But the authors should be aware of their own biases and poor points of reference.

    • mk

      Without rational analysis we are left with articles that bring out the Double Dees and trash talking teenagers that lurk here for jollies.

      Until the writers come up with balanced opinions based upon the reversal of fortunes that Benning and co. performed it is obvious that Canucks Army .com is really Oilers ,Flames and T.O..com.

      Get a Canucks fan that can write and start posting articles that reflect 101 points and a 48 win season for a rookie coach,GM and President.
      Tiring of the idiots that infest this site without moderation. Get it together.

  • mk

    With the question of Miller Vs Lack, Benning had commented that Miller’s numbers were #2 in the league until his injury and he was never 100% for the remainder of the season. I like Lack, but really can’t fault the decision to keep Miller over Lack, especially given we have a backup as strong as Markstrom.