Canucks Army Post-Game: 29

Canucks finish season on a losing note, drop 5-2 decision to Oilers

It’s finally over. With tonight’s loss, the Vancouver Canucks season is at an end, and not a moment too soon. This is the end.

On the bright side, it was a meaningful game, however far removed from the type management envisioned at the onset of the season. All the Canucks had to do was lose this game in regulation, and they’d lock down 29th overall. In a year where the Vegas Golden Knights get the third best lottery odds, and a 28th finish means there is a possibility, however slight, that the league’s third worst team gets the seventh best pick, that’s huge. Tonight was the season, and the Canucks delivered.

There were moments, though, however brief, where that result hung in the balance. The Canucks haven’t quit on their coach all season, and they didn’t deviate from their modus operandi tonight. This game was close, bordering on competitive, for about the first half. Nikolay Goldobin matched the first of Jordan Eberle’s three goals to tie the game at one, before Eberle’s second goal a few minutes later regained the one-goal lead for Edmonton.

It was all Oilers from that point onward. They took full control of the game, controlling 42 of the 66 shot attempts that followed and building a commanding 5-1 by the second minute of the third frame. Connor McDavid tallied his hundredth point, and Nikita Tryamkin his second goal of the season.

Richard Bachman stopped 39 of 44 Oilers shots and Laurent Brossoit 15 of the Canucks’ 17 tries.


Quick Hits

  • In spite of all the Canucks efforts to the contrary and how certain they were that this season would be an improvement over last, here we are, and the club is 29th in the NHL. Don’t let anyone convince you this is some extension of the plan; or that this is part and parcel with their long-term vision for a rebuild. The Canucks built this team to be competitive and made no qualms with sacrificing the future to accommodate that vision. And this is the best they could muster. Is the franchise any younger? Certainly. Did they add prospects throughout the season? Well, technically yes, though one could reasonably argue they made a slight upgrade on the quality of the two prospects they dispatched of for Erik Gudbranson when they added Nikolay Goldobin and Jonathan Dahlen, so those gains, however great in a vacuum, don’t represent an appreciable value play in the bigger picture. The fact of the matter is, this club isn’t good enough, their prospect pool not plentiful enough and their salary outlook not flexible enough to convince me of any sort of vision that extends further than weeks, much less months or years. How much worse can it get? It’s even money we find out if the Canucks front office doesn’t adjust course.

  • Want something a little more positive? Here are the leaders in scoring since Brock Boeser joined the Canucks on March 25th. Pales in comparison by raw scoring totals, but try to keep in mind that the encouraging part is that it’s mostly young players near the top.

  • If this club doesn’t expose Brandon Sutter in the Expansion Draft, they’re making a massive mistake. This is especially true if they finish in the top two of the draft and select a centre that can join the team as early as next season. Tonight, Sutter was the worst Canucks player by raw five-on-five shot attempt differential and percentage alike. He closed out the season in, well, fantastic, inspiring fashion.

  • You can count me among the outraged when USA TODAY predicted the Canucks would finish with 65 points. I was wrong. Oh, so many of us were wrong. I guess not about the exact amount, no, but perhaps how close to that number this team was capable of coming. Won’t catch me off guard next season. Not with the Sedins another year older and the likelihood of a 37-year-old Ryan Miller in net. Like I said in a tweet storm after tonight’s game, this isn’t getting better soon.

  • When the Canucks pull off the inevitable and find a trade partner for Jordan Subban for pennies on the dollar, I’ll remember the way this club closed out the season and lament that they couldn’t justify getting him into one game. What did they have to lose? It’s such a PR victory. If he’s great, then hell, the Canucks can count him among their core group of young players to build around. If he sucks, it doesn’t really matter, and they can go “aha, see, I told you he’s bad!”.

  • I’m curious to find out who was playing with what injuries. It’s obvious that Chris Tanev, Boeser and Sutter are all playing hurt. Troy Stecher finished the season with a face shield. What else has been nagging at this team? And if the injuries continue in this staggering fashion next season, that will be three in a row. Is it fair at that point to wonder if there’s something at work here beyond bad luck? At some point, this club will be competitive again. It might take another three to four years, if that, but it’ll happen, if only by accident, I am sure. I’d hope that the team’s players are in able hands at that point.
  • Seven tries. That’s how many it took for the Canucks to land first overall. Let’s hope they have better luck on April 29th.

  • Killer Marmot

    The fact of the matter is, this club isn’t good enough, their prospect pool not plentiful enough and their salary outlook not flexible enough to convince me of any sort of vision that extends further than weeks, much less months or years.

    As a matter of curiosity, what might a long-term rebuilding vision look like? Can you give me an example of one?

    • Freud

      Jezus, it’s been Maple Leaf tv on TSN this week. You aren’t seeing what’s going on? Babcock was photographed in the locker room with “Corsi” and zone entries/exits written behind him on the white board. A former CA writer is in the thick of their management scheme. Toronto is making sound decisions based on a long term vision, evidence and percentages. Meanwhile, we’re left with a team managing on gut feelings and loyalties. A management team that continually moves the goalposts. A management team, top to bottom, that bases evaluations on perceptions rather than fact.

      • GLM

        Hey, you forgot about Canucks Army’s favorite team, the Florida Panthers! Just don’t mind the fact they took a franchise best regular season built by someone else, and turned it into an 81-point season finish in one year, because remember kids, it’s the process that matters, not the results…

        • Freud

          A bit simple minded, as they have a number of other good, young players but ya, I know. Getting Matthews is the percentages piece I mentioned. They saw two very strong, deep drafts on the horizon and positioned themselves accordingly. That’s the long term vision piece. Every successful team will need some luck, but if you play the percentages, you’re controlling what you can instead of relying on only luck.

    • Kanucked

      As I recall, I believe the proposed Plan was to go full rebuild: trade vets, play the kids, and get the best odds for the lottery.

      I agree that this wasn’t management’s plan, but I think they adopted it after January. They traded Burrows & Hansen for promising prospects, brought in Boeser and kept Goldobin, and finished 29th.

      I would have thought the theme of the article would be: management comes face to face with reality and needs to rebuild.

  • GoodUserName

    Yeah im all for exposing sutter, but if vegas is for sure gonna take him over sbisa wouldnt that mean he holds more value then sbisa making him somewhat of a tradeable asset? Maybe the canucks can find a market for him instead of losing him for free, or paying 5mill for a 3/4rth line center if the canucks get a good center this june.

  • Cageyvet

    Yes, it looks like I’m not the only one tired of the endless bashing with no real substance. If the Canucks let Sutter go for nothing, CA would be skewering them once again for “asset management”.
    If you don’t want to protect Sutter, then provide me your list so I can see who you deem more valuable than him (and that applies to the league’s perception, not just the local feeling – I am convinced you could trade Sutter for more return than someone you might protect in his place).
    I’m sure we all expect the Canucks to protect the 7 F / 3 D / 1 G option. You obviously protect Markstrom in net, and Edler, Tanev & Gudbranson on D. You don’t have to protect Hutton, Stecher or Tryamkin, they’re exempt. That leaves Sbisa, Biega and Larsen exposed, none of whom are devastating losses.
    With 7 forwards to protect, 3 of them are non-negotiable, as the Sedins and Eriksson have no-movement clauses and must be protected. I can’t keep up with who might get picked up or needs to be signed, although I know Horvat is still exempt, but I will say this – I protect Baertschi, Granlund, Sutter and Boucher. I don’t worry about losing anyone else, who knows if Rodin will get another shot (I hope so), Boeser and Goldobin are exempt, I like Gaunce but you can’t sweat losing him and the same goes for Molino, Shore and Cramarossa.
    I like the new blood, but you have to protect the real assets and you’re only going to lose one of these players, so it’s not the end of the world.
    Assuming I haven’t missed somebody, is there anybody I’ve left unprotected that you think has more value around the league than Brandon Sutter? I doubt it, and the others that I’m leaving exposed (Dorsett, Megna, Chaput) are not worth fretting over either. Maybe I’m missing someone, but not protecting Sutter would be crazy, IMO.

  • GLM

    Man, there’s a lot of negativity in this article coming from a stat based blog that just had its team finish with the 2nd best lottery odds. It’s almost as if JD doesn’t like anything the Canucks do. So weird…

    • How

      I agree! The Canucks are an ELITE team, all the games we lost this season were close games, the Canucks legitimately had a chance to finish the season 82-0, we were just a bit unlucky. I don’t see why JD is so negative, our 4th line is basically a 1st line on any other team, Tryamkin is literally Chara in his prime, Boeser is basically Ovechkin, and Virtanen is looking to be better than Bertuzzi.

      • Bud Poile

        Give it up.
        This is a 101 point team but two seasons ago.
        Daniel finished with 45% of his point total of two seasons past and Hank looked done during a lot of this season.
        Still,the last two seasons have been competitive,the kids are being brought in and played.
        Mgmt. fully tanked after being mathematically eliminated – as we all EXPECTED and fully wanted.
        This repetitive whinefest coming from JD is also fully expected,but in no way wanted.

        • Steamer

          “The last two seasons haver been competitive.”???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whatever you’re rolling, I want some! Really, you call finishing 28th & 29th ‘competitive’ – time to ‘fess up, ‘Poile’ & admit your true identity as Jim Benning.

        • How

          Yeah, players like Gaunce and Virtanen really “brought it” and “played”. 5 points in a full season is such elite numbers. How dare they be criticized for putting up trash numbers!

  • TD

    I was cursing Willie when he successfully challenged Edmonton’s goal keeping it at 2-1. It was an even game at that point and I was worried the team would come back and move us to the fifth spot for the draft.

  • How

    Another negative article, unbelievable. The Canucks played great tonight, all 17 of our shots were grade-A goal mouth chances, on any given night, the Canucks would’ve scored 5 or 6 goals. We were just too tired because we played the night before. Although the Canucks allowed 44 shots against, they were all shots from the blue line and perimeter shots. Our boys played a great shutdown game and our forwards were phenomenal. What a great season by the Canucks, if we were a bit more healthy and luckier, we would’ve finished 1st or 2nd and contended for the President’s Trophy. Can’t believe all the negative comments on Chaput/Megna/Skille/Cramarossa, they would be 2nd line players (borderline 1st line players) on any other team.

  • Burnabybob

    This season has gone about as well as the Canucks could have hoped for, with promising development of prospects and young players, excellent returns on trades of veteran players like Burrows and Hansen, and now a top 5 draft pick.

    Obviously, winning the draft lottery and picking Nolan Patrick first overall would be icing on the cake, but any one of Hischier, Villardi, Mittelstadt, or Liljegren would be a nice addition to the team.

  • Silverback

    There are two types of people, as my Dad would say. Doers and talkers. JD, you are clearly a talker who has never had to back up his words with action. You never will need to as you will never be in a position where difficult decisions like Benning and Desjardins make.
    The only thing I regret is not seeing Tortorella have his way with you…

      • Silverback

        Actually, my Dad did drop out of school. He had to support my grandmother when my grandfather abandoned them. He retired at 53, and did very well in business.
        Another thing he told me was to never take the bait of an ignoramus, but always set the facts straight.

  • Jimjamg

    Seriously, would anyone in their right mind mind trade Goldobin straight up for McCann now? Or Dahlen for a 2nd rounder? Of course not. Benning was smart to pick up two prospects well along the development curve and showing well, one tearing up the AHL, the other the Swedish league, rather than a couple junior draft lottery tickets. And that’s without considering the value the Canucks could still get for Gudbranson which would be at least as good as a McCann and flip of picks.

  • TheRealPB

    It was pretty hard to watch this team after January. But it really seems odd to me that a site that purports to trade in evidence-based analysis would neglect to really delve into the effects of those injuries. I would have had more faith in the USA Today prediction of 65 points if it had also stipulated that this would be a result of icing half of an AHL team for about half the season. The Canucks lost something like 430 man-games to injury this year, a HUNDRED more than the next closest team. The Sedins, Sutter and Horvat. That’s who played a whole season. Hutton and Stetcher were the top D, with Edler slightly behind. This team is not good. They weren’t good last year or the year before or really the year before that. They likely won’t be good for another two years. But they have radically changed over the team from four years ago. Growing pains look like this. I know we keep nit-picking at all the little moves, but at the end of the day the proof will be weather or not the team seems to be trending upwards by the end of next year. It’s hard to watch in the meantime, but you have to hope we catch at least a couple of breaks, no?

    Or not. I ran the simulator twenty times and got 1 x #1, 2 x #2, 2 x #3, 7 x #4, and 8 x #5. So we’re most likely to pick fourth or fifth. And that’s why tanking is as idiotic a strategy as planning your annual income based on lottery tickets.

    • Donald's Hat Trick

      Hold on, are you saying that this is the result of growing pains or the injuries? The injuries number is really inflated when you take into account the number of games represented by Dorsett and Guddy. In their cases it was addition by subtraction. It’s not like they had Stamkos on the shelf all season.

  • defenceman factory

    Hopefully now the season is over we will be getting more interesting articles from CA on potential draft picks, prospects and which players to resign or free agents to seek. It seems clear ownership is now embracing a rebuild. Once he got the green light Benning aced the tank. Management has some hard work to do. Why did Eriksson regress from a reliable point producer? Is Gudbranson part of the rebuild? Are there trades available for some high end prospects? Canucks need a coach who can also embrace a rebuild. One willing to put younger players who make mistakes as a first line and 1st unit PP. I wonder if Lindy Ruff is a fit?

  • Ronning4ever

    The team went 4 – 14 – 2 after the TDL including a whopping 8 in a row to end the season…suffice to say, I think the team could have done better if there was something to play for, but tanked when there wasn’t…the right call in my estimation from a management standpoint. The team played above expectations for 3/4ths of the season, and still managed to grab a great draft pick.

    Like it or not Gudbranson is a sought after commodity in a league that covets big dmen. I agree the team will continue to slide, but I think it has everything to do with poor/no defence prospects and little to do with forwards…and on D (assuming they trade Edler and/or lose Sbisa) it’s going to get worse.

  • Ronning4ever

    One other thing: I don’t think managment goes to the coach and says ‘lose’. I think many folks think that’s how it goes but it doesn’t. No professional coach does that in hockey and no player would do it if you asked. They are programmed to try to win every game, even pick up hockey.

    But management could have brought up Comets players in the last 18 games disrupting a push to the playoffs. Instead we got Shore and Malino with Biega and Larsen playing forward.

  • Steamer

    Despite Bud Poile’s bizarre claim that the Canucks have been ‘competitive’ the past two years, don’t see much hope for a management group that insists stiffs like Sutter, Eriksson, Megna, Chaput, Larsen et al have any business near an functional NHL roster. 4 more years of Sutter, 5 more years of Eriksson = more bottom finishes.

    • Bud Poile

      McCann for Gudbranson was and is stealing from an analytics baby geek.
      Eriksson will be back to par next year,Sutter will still be a 35-40 point premiere faceoff leader again and the fourth liners will all be upgraded.
      Olli,Boeser,a healthy Granlund and Baertschi,Goldobin,perhaps Demko and a top pick improves this team immensely.
      There are ten injured Canucks last night and the team was the most injured club in the NHL this season.
      Without “stiffs” like Megna ,Chaput et all there was no full roster being iced.
      The team was competitive up until the TDL both of the last two years.Stating otherwise is sour grapes,at best.

      • Donald's Hat Trick

        ahahahah the reason they were competitive until the TDL is because they hadn’t played the likes of San Jose 5 times yet. They had a soft schedule to that point!

      • Ragnarok Ouroboros

        I admire your enthusiasm though I don’t think your faith is well placed at this time. Canucks should keep Gaunce (untapped potential there), Boucher, Chaput (for the 4th line), Biega (4th line forward, he was surprisingly effective). They should lose the spare parts Megna, Larsen, Dorsett, Skille, Cramarossa. They should expose Sutter and Sbisa to expansion draft, though Sbisa was definitely improved this year.

  • acg5151

    I think the Canucks need to fire Linden and Benning and do what they can to bring in a young and progressive GM like Dubas and an older management veteran to be team president. I think Benning and Linden don’t really know how to run a team and I don’t trust them to get through the expansion draft either.