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.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) April 10, 2017
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) April 10, 2017
- 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.
The Canucks total salary expenditure this season was roughly $73 Million, meaning each point (69 total) cost them over $1 Million
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) April 10, 2017
- 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.
— Steve B ☕️🍁 (@stevebfazed) April 10, 2017
opponents were 52-19-11 vs #Canucks this season. 115 points in 82 games
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) April 10, 2017
- 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!”.
what time is it? pic.twitter.com/3YEkBTZZXZ
— Jason Botchford (@botchford) April 9, 2017
- 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.