For some reason, Borck Boeser has yet to crack the lineup in the first two games of the season. Most fans would like to see him action, but at what cost? Who would you take out of the lineup so Boeser can draw in? Or perhaps you think he should stay in the press box?
Last week I asked: How many points do the Canucks finish with this year? Where do they finish overall? How about in their division. Feel free to get creative with your reasoning.
The Canucks didn’t have a terrible offense to start last year, but there was no depth to it, so when injuries hit, Benning had to inject fringe players to plug the holes. Still, the Canucks were not far from a playoff slot in February. The poor showing after that was due to mumps and trades, and meant little.
This year, Benning has got religion when it comes to offensive depth. Although there is still no elite first line, the Canucks might well get decent scoring from all four lines. And when the inevitable injuries hit, there is Rodin, Gaunce, Boucher, Molino, Dahlen, Goldobin, Carcone, and late in the season perhaps Gaudette, waiting for a call-up.
84 points and fifth in the division (the Flames will do a face plant). The Canucks will miss the playoffs, but they’ll do far better than the eastern hockey press now gives them credit for.
Big D, little d:
I’ll re-post my assessment from last year, changing surprisingly few words. Let us compare the starting lineup of the (2015/16) 2016/17 Canucks against what is expected on Saturday night. I’m using roughly comparable lines here and not sticking strictly to a First/Second/Third/Fourth definition.
2015 – Sedin/Sedin/Sutter
2016 – Sedin/Sedin/Eriksson
2017 – Sedin/Sedin/Vanek
Excuse me while I get a drink. Hard to see any progress here, other than the Sedins getting older.
2015 – Baertschi/Horvat/Vrbata
2016 – Baertschi/Horvat/Virtanen
2017 – Baertschi/Horvat/Boeser
Yeah, I’m gonna need another drink here.
Tougher call here. Boeser probably has more upside but there will undoubtedly be a learning curve. An extra year of development for the (not so) young ‘uns but they’ll be playing first line minutes instead of second line minutes so probably playing stronger competition. We’ll say slight advantage 2015. That’s what we call “setting the bar low.”
2015 – Burrows/McCann/Hansen
2016 – Granlund/Sutter/Hansen
2017 – Eriksson/Granlund/Gagner
Where’s that bartender gone to?
Can we get Burrows and Hansen back?
2015 – Prust/Cracknell/Dorsett
2016 – Burrows/Gaunce/Dorsett
2017 – Virtanen/Sutter/Dorsett
Sutter has moved from the first line down to the fourth line, that’s gotta count as improvement, right?
Does it really matter? If it comes down to having made improvements in your fourth line, you’re probably screwed anyway.
Well, we lost Sbisa/Larsen and Gudbranson moved to the third pair, so that’s better, I guess.
Miller out, Nilsson in. Goaltending is voodoo so it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it will be better or worse this year. I’m guessing worse. Someone get me another drink.
You can cherry pick improvements but overall this team looks a lot the same, just older. Does it depress anyone else that after three years of “rebuilding”, most of the names have stayed the same?
Maybe a few more wins from having the expansion team in their division? So long as injuries don’t decimate the team … (wait, that’s the same disclaimer I made the last two years and we all know how that turned out.) The starting lineup isn’t really much better but the depth is improved so maybe February to April won’t be the death march it’s been the last two years. I can see them hanging in that 20th to 25th range. But if Megna and Chaput get called up again all bets are off.
Sedins have a bounce back year and produce at a higher-end 2nd line rate
Brock is the real deal, Bo and Bear take another step forward and the 3 become a solid top line
Canucks bottom 6 perform and provide decent depth scoring while not being liabilities
Battling goaltenders push each other and both have one heck of a season.
Canucks squeek into the playoffs off strong goal tending and while having no true elite line, having 4 decent lines with strong secondary and depth scoring. Overachieve and catch a wild card spot with 95 points.
Sedins another year slower, no Miller to steal some wins, a new unproven NHL coach and most other Pacific teams strengthening big-time. It’s gonna be a real bumpy ride guys. Vegas and us a lock for the basement.
It’s another season where the Canucks will benefit by getting to play against a lot of backup goalies, and undoubtedly some opponents will be less than focused thinking it’s an easy two points against a cellar dweller. One of the merits of the team over the past two seasons was its ability to snatch at least a point out of the jaws of defeat, battling back and taking a lot of games to extra time. The problem with going to extra time when more than 50 of your games are against conference opponents is that it’s much harder to gain ground in the standings.
The team has gotten better on paper, but the problem is that practically everyone else has too in the conference, so if the powerplay can’t start clicking the season will be deja vu all over again. The two wild cards in the conference are if Vegas can gel, and Colorado can be more respectable than last season.
So lets go with 33 wins and 11 OTL for a total of 77 points, 77 points being auspicious if it lets them draft a game-changing D.
An increase in points this year cannot get people confused that they are witnessing a ‘franchise on the rise.’ Despite some youth on the roster, it will be the veterans who decide the fate of the team. Bounce back years from the twins and strong seasons from the likes of Eriksson, Vanek, Gagner and co. resulting in a 75-80 pt season say, mean nothing for the long term health of the team.
Are the youth ( Horvat, Baertschi, Boeser, Virtanen, Goldobin) and prospects (Dahlin, Petterson, Juolevi) progressing? That’s a much more relevant indication of if we should be excited about this team. An increase in points from a patchwork collection of veterans means nothing in the big picture.
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