Photo Credit: Bob Frid - USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks Could Very Well be the First Team to Finish 31st Overall in NHL History

Last night was a big night for the Vancouver Canucks if you’re a member of #TeamTank, and let’s be honest, who isn’t a member at this stage? Everyone the Canucks are in direct competition with for last place in the NHL won their hockey games.

The Arizona Coyotes? They came through in the clutch, beating the Los Angeles Kings at home in the shootout moving to 57 points, just two back of the Canucks with a game in hand. The Ottawa Senators? Yeah, they somehow beat the first place Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout by a score 7-4, pulling two points ahead of the Canucks, albeit with an extra game played. Even the Montreal Canadiens, not pictured, pulled off an unlikely victory at home over the Dallas Stars winning 4-2 and pulling five points ahead of Vancouver.

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Also of note, the Coyotes victory over the Kings pushed them to 30th in the league with 57 points, one point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres who are emerging as the Sherman to the Canucks King Tiger in these Tank Wars.

All these bottomfeeders picking up points isn’t a one-off thing either. Look at how each of the Canucks’ chief competitors have performed in their last ten games:

  • Arizona Coyotes: 6-3-1
  • Buffalo Sabres: 5-4-1
  • Ottawa Senators: 4-5-1
  • Detroit Red Wings: 2-6-2
  • Montreal Canadiens: 3-3-4

Then there’s the Vancouver Canucks, with a 2-6-2 record in their last ten. The only team that’s even giving the Canucks a run for their money in terms of futility are the Detroit Red Wings.

It’s also worth noting that the Canucks haven’t won a game in the post-Brock Boeser landscape and have two goals in the three games since he went down with a season-ending injury, all of which came in a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild last Friday.

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At this rate, it’s not unfair to wonder if the Canucks have any wins left in them down the stretch. A cursory glance at their remaining opponents doesn’t reveal any gimmes — even the worst teams on that list are starting to play better hockey down the stretch, and they haven’t all lost their best player for the season.

The way hockey works, the Canucks are sure to win at least a game or two due to some well-timed (or poorly time, I guess) puck luck here and there. Then again, maybe not — last year’s Canucks lost eight straight to close out the year.

Micah Blake McCurdy’s website, HockeyViz, has the Canucks projected to finish third-last in the league with a 71.5 points projection though for whatever that’s worth. That seems optimistic.

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In reality, it seems possible — likely, even — that the Canucks could be the NHL’s first team in league history to finish 31st overall. Sure, the losing sucks for everyone involved in the moment, but it’s also the best possible outcome for a club whose best days are well ahead of them. It secures the Canucks the highest odds of winning the draft lottery and the first overall selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and in the worst-case scenario, they can’t drop any lower than fourth overall in the fourth round.

If the Canucks can fall to 31st overall, they secure 18.2% chances of winning the draft lottery and getting their hands on super prospect Rasmus Dahlin; if they stay at 29th overall, their odds will be set at just over 10%. Right now, HockeyViz has the Canucks sitting at a 14% chance of winning the first overall pick.

Happy Tanking!

  • argoleas

    In regards to being first to finish 31st. Let’s put it this way. If in 4 or so years, a Svechnikov, Tkachuk, Zadina, Boqvist, Hughes, or heaven forbid, a Dahlin, raises the silver cup above his head for Canucks, no one will give damn about where they finished. In fact, I don’t give a damn already.

    Go Team Tank. Better days are indeed ahead.

    • Let’s reframe the lottery so we don’t get disappointed if/when we don’t get Dahlen. As it currently stands:

      Dahlen (10.5%)
      Zadina (10.4%)
      Svechnikov (10.3%)
      Tkachuk (12.2%)
      Boqvist (39.1%)
      Hughes (17.6%)

      It’s highly likely we don’t get Dahlen but we’ll almost surefire to get Hughes or Boqvist, who are both outstanding prospects that would help anchor the D with Juolevi for many years. Landing at #2-4 and being able to trade down for a few early picks is a bonus.

    • WiseCanuck

      Deluded idiot – we’ve been hearing this utter pompom waving nonsense for FIFTY fu-k-en years pal.

      Guys, this is the worst run team in the NHL as the standings are proving year after year under LinBenning and there are no excuses and no hope of anything changing because it never has – I personally couldn’t care less if they moved the team, it’s an embarrassment to the most stunning city on God’s green Earth.

      • LTFan

        This is from the Jason Hamilton blog “Unhappiest Place on Earth” written by Kootenaydude
        7 hours ago
        TRASH IT! 0
        CHEERS 6

        I think a lot of the whiners need a reality check. It seems they want us to win the Cup and get the 1st overall pick. These same people think were going to do well by barely squeaking into the playoff picture. It doesn’t work that way. These are stats from the teams that have recently won multiple cups.
        Pittsburg from 01/02 – 07/08 had 69,65,58,58 and 105 point seasons. They drafted 5th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, and 2nd overall. They drafted Whitney, Fleury, Malkin, Crosby, and Staal. Their lucky pick was Letang at 62nd overall. Even with these top picks including a couple generational players. It took 4 years of being bottom feeders to make the playoffs. The Canucks haven’t drafted higher than 5th. So how can they compete when we haven’t even tanked for 3 complete seasons. Next team Chicago. From 01/02 – 08/09…had 96, 79, 59, 65, 71, 88 and 104 point seasons. During that time 14th Seabrook, 3rd Barker, 3 Toews and 1st overall Kane. Lucky picks Keith at 54th and Crawford at 51st. Finally LA Kings. From 01/02 – 09/10….had 95, 78, 81, 89, 68, 71, 79, 101 points. Draft picks 13th Brown, 11th Kopitar, 2nd Doughty, 5th Schenn. No lucky picks. Besides the top picks that these teams received. Their draft choices generally sucked. These teams were at the bottom for a long time. The penguins had the best ever picks at the draft and still took them 4 years of being bottom feeders to become an elite team. The Canucks haven’t drafted higher than 5th recently. We haven’t even completed our 3rd terrible season. Yet we have a bunch of so called fans that are nothing but whiners. So what do you want people? A team the barely makes the playoffs year after year or a team that tanks for 4-5 years and then becomes an elite team eventually? Its hard to make a quick turnaround when the Canucks draft no better than 5th. So have a little patience. Rant over.
        IMO he is right.

      • KCasey

        Hey there Wisefuk, why is it that you care so little…yet post so much. Something is out of place no? I hate this team so much that im gonna make everyone hate how much I hate this team so much. Raaa, hear me roar like a big strong man with all my down trodden opinions….raaa. Your so enlightened and inspiring. I bet your a real big hit at the parties. Girls must swoon over you and your amazing veil of coolness.

    • andyg

      I would like us to sink to 31st but not for the high percent shot at Dahlin. Lets face it, winning 1st overall is a crap shoot. I am more interested in being guaranteed no worse than 4th. I also like the idea of picking 32 and 63. I personally would love Tkachuk but there is some real nice players in the top ten after Dahlin. The Canucks could also trade down a bit if Bouchard was looking like he would be sitting at a lower selection. Bouchard is one of those players who could turn out to be one of the best in this draft. Dahlin is flashy and very skilled but Bouchard might become that anchor at the back end that every winning club needs. I think more in the terms of a Shea Weber type.

  • Ryles

    Losing Gudbranson to season ending surgery is a real blow to team tank, but I believe in this group. Just gotta take it one game at a time boys. They are chasing history to be the first team to finish 31st. If anyone can do it, its these Canucks.

  • Freud

    “This is a team we can turn around in a hurry” Jim Benning , May 23, 2014

    “The easy way out is to just strip it down and blow it up and start over and draft in the top 5 every year. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to be a playoff contender every year” – Trevor Linden, May 2015

    “I spent a lot of time working on that (Lucic trade) and I guess Boston felt they were getting a better deal from LA.” Jim Benning, June 25, 2015 (LA gave up their 1st rounder, the pick that got Boeser would have been gone)

    “You win with players like Brandon Sutter” Jim Benning, Aug 5, 2015

    “Realistically, if you’re asking me when will the day be when we can compete with the best teams in the league, I think that (Sedin contract) timeline is fair. This is year 2 and by the forth or fifth year, I hope we’ll be there with the elite teams in the league” Jim Benning – July 2015

    “He (Gudbransen) can move the puck and he kind of came into his own this year… he can make a good first pass, he has a real hard shot.. he’s a high character person” – Jim Benning, May 25, 2016

    “Decisions have to be made by hockey people who know what winning teams look like and how to build them.” Jim Benning, May 25, 2016

    “In my four years since I’ve been here, I feel this is the best team we’ve had” – Jim Benning Nov 2017

    “I would have prefered to get picks, it wasn’t available to us” Jim Benning, Feb 26, 2018

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      You remind me of a poster named Arty from SNET articles ha ha. I largely agree with his/her posts, but often feel that his sole purpose in life is for TL to get down on his hands and knees and beg forgiveness from the fanbase for all his lies over the years. I just wish he would quit (and take JB with him, or demote him to scouting) and acknowledge that he has been WAAAAAY over his head since day one due to his lack of experience. But I don’t see that happening as both dudes continue to double down on their glaring mistakes every step of the way. Have a great day!

      • Freud

        I still like Linden and think he can offer the team something. I was thinking he was leading the change in philosophy at last years deadline and through the draft and figured he was phasing Benning out.

        But obviously Linden bringing Benning back has made me re-think things.

        My sense is Linden is too nice and too loyal. I think he’s always wondering what Pat Quinn would have done. The old way of thinking is killing this team.

        I was worried when Linden came on board that this could really damage his rep. It would have been best a guy with experience was brought in as a buffer between Linden and Benning.

        It’s not too late for an outside guy who has no relationship with Linden and Benning to be brought it to hold them more accountable behind closed doors. Hopefully this pathetic end to the season forces Aquilini’s hand.

    • Super Pest

      Dear, God, Freud. I thought you’d never stop. Why do people not remember these quotes? It’s what drives me bonkers. They have failed. Why do some not see? Sigh ? Compare those quotes with the ones from Babcock and co. I’m okay with some pain IF there’s a plan. Could you imagine an alternate universe where we have Lucic and Boeser’s elsewhere? Oh, dear… THAT is why picks matter at this stage of re re re… whatever…

    • NucksLifer

      This post is painful – it actually gives me physical pain. The only way I can rationalize it is that management was trying to rebuild while staying competitive (and keep ticket sales healthy) so tried to keep things positive. They obviously failed and, in hindsight, the comments seem ridiculous. Either way, they have accomplished the “tank”. Unfortunately, the “tank” is less effective now with the draft lottery.

      Leaving apart what management “said”, I think most of what they have “done” is justifiable (clearly not perfect in hindsight but also not bereft of logic). The Kesler trade was the best of a bad situation. The Sutter trade was “meh”. The Gudbranson trade was poor in hindsight but an attempt to address the clear toughness deficit this team has had for years. The Erickson deal looks really bad but nobody envisioned he would be this bad. I would have preferred more picks over the past few years but am not one of those who thinks that they should have avoided any quality veterans and thrown the kids to the wolves. All this losing, which seems to have happened anyway, isn’t healthy over the long term.

      All that said, the Lucic for picks (Boeser) trade is incredibly short-sighted and would have been the worst deal in franchise history…

      • liqueur des fenetres

        I’m in serious sht, I feel totally lost
        If I’m asking for help it’s only because
        Being with you has opened my eyes
        Could I ever believe such a perfect surprise?


    • Fred-65

      ““He (Gudbransen) can move the puck and he kind of came into his own this year… he can make a good first pass, he has a real hard shot.. he’s a high character person” – Jim Benning, May 25, 2016” I actually spoke to JB a month earlier than this quote. My opinion for what it’s worth is EG is basically one step removed from being a glass and out defenseman and JB actually agreed. Stikes me JB is some thing like Trump it’s the last guy her speaks to that decides the action to be taken…. hence the signing of EG. I will say this I felt that EG was suffering froma wrist injury turns out it was his shoulder ( not good ) but the team does need a policeman for sure when Pettersson arrives but I question is the policemen should be paid $4 mill. The guy I liked was Ryan Reaves who McVee just traded for. He’s a guy that looks for conflict


    This team will not see the playoffs Ever Again with this Management and fan base. The fans( come on and tank) total disrespect for the franchise. The Team has been garbage for decades and only has had a few good years . Seattle is comming into the league and will take all of the Nuckle heads with them unless the things change. Nuks are hot garbage and it starts at the top.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      I wish I could have given you a trash it AND a cheers 🙂
      Question: Is Pittsburgh a garbage franchise? Is Chicago?
      The former tanked in spectacular fashion purely to get Super Mario. Do Pittsburghians (Pittsburghonians???) care in the least?
      The latter tanked through colossal mistakes made by ownership (the local tv blackouts being arguably the biggest middle finger to their own fans for years).

      Whatever gets the job done.

      My cheers comment was in regards to your comments about our steaming pile of dung aka MGMT who have sat on their hands this whole time as they continue to vie for that coveted “Worst MGMT of the year award”

  • Dirk22

    So lets get this straight. Benning supporters argue in favour of his many “win-now” moves because a “winning environment” is key for the development of young players, the Canucks proceed to be the worst team (literally) over the last three seasons, and what do we get? 3 more years of Benning and a bunch of apologists claiming “every GM makes mistakes!” Absolute disaster of a management team. Wait until the apologists start praising Benning for getting another blue chipper in the top-3 of the draft this year – as if that’s the mark of a good GM!

    • LAKID

      Just wait until they sign the Olsen’s to a 5-8$ million dollar contract. The team is doomed, no management , no core players unless you count the girls and Boeser.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      To be fair to the ‘apologists’, I don’t really believe they are claiming “every GM makes mistakes”. I actually believe that they simply won’t acknowledge this point at all and instead have chosen to bury their heads in the sand (ie: the whole “positivity” angle) and just keep pointing to the glowing reviews on our prospects as the light at the end of this dark, stinky and dreary tunnel.
      My question to them in that case is would it not hurt to have more picks this whole time and moving forward? It is purely increasing your statistical odds of having more of those prospects/picks turn into something useful after all. Because the way its been going for 3 years now really doesn’t seem to be getting it done (refering to the whole ‘stay competitive’ garbage model). Is taking a chance on expediting this rebuild really so bad in light of the current on ice product?

      • Giant-Nation

        You are correct with the stay competitive model (it is crap)… but do you think this was a Benning decision?? wake the fuc#2 up this was done by Aqua man who was sh*# scared people would not show up at his rink if they didn’t manage to stay competitive. Any Manager will tell you, you have build through the draft and if you can sit for 2-4 years in the bottom five of the league you can amass some great prospects. The only issue is which ownership in the NHL will allow this to happen. Linden and Benning aren’t driving that bus it has to be Aqua man. This year they only have Tanev to trade for assets, if they they think Demko could crack the line up next year I’m sure they don’t want to get thin on the back end… anyways keep blaming Benning and Linden but remember it’s Ownership that have not bought into the strip it down and hold picks. Ownership should learn from how the New York GM was empowered to say we are rebuilding and make drastic moves with so called core players to stock their picks for this years draft. Its Aqua man get off the Linden Benning crap.

        • Freud

          “I can say this to set the record straight. Ownership has been great and has never put pressure on us to do anything we don’t want to do as a management team. There’s this misconception that they’re involved and tell us what to do. That couldn’t be father from the truth.” Jim Benning, Sept 21, 2016.

      • Ser Jaime Lannister

        Ill be in the minority here but i hope we sign him, 6 year max though. Kane is flourishing with SJ and his style is built for the Pacific division. Canucks dont have a number one LW next season… being a local kid as well the narrative will change with him.

        • argoleas

          Or he could become the next Eriksson. He too had a good season before his contract Another such contract and Canucks could be crippled for another 6 years.

    • bobdaley44

      Well Boeser at 19 sure does doesn’t it? Its not so much the win now but more like lets not let the kids get run over. Say what you want but if not for Sutter, Guddy and Virtanen these last few games the Canucks would have been completely dominated physically. See what that does for a teams psyche.

  • Burnabybob

    With the new draft lottery system, the way things generally go for the Canucks, and the type of player they most need (defenceman), it may not really matter where the Canucks finish, as long as it’s not any higher than about 5th. The players likely to be taken right after Dahlin are Svechnikov and Zadina, both wingers, which the Canucks don’t really need, especially if Pettersson is a winger. After that, Boqvist is the highest ranked defenseman, but unless you can demonstrate that he is a clearly superior prospect to Bouchard or Dobson, I don’t know that it makes much difference. At that point in the draft, it’s likely to be kind of a crapshoot, with Bouchard ranked about 8th in most listings I’ve seen.

    That kid looks good, though, with 84 points so far in 64 games, including 23 goals.

    • Dirk22

      Saying the Canucks “don’t really need Svechnikov and Zadina” is hilarious. They also need defense yes but they’re hardly ‘set’ on the wings if you’re goal is to be an elite team. If they’re the best available you take them and run. If Evan Bouchard, a very good prospect, is all the Canucks end up with after this season, I might throw up.

        • MoeLemay

          Thing is, they could also end up like the Preds…..
          They draft a never ending supply of D then parlay them into high end forwards……
          Always take the BPA…..

          • truthseeker

            That only works in one direction though. Nobody will give you top D for wingers. So saying “always take the BPA” is wrong. The best winger will never get you the help you need on D. Just ask the oilers. The only way to get a good D core is to draft it and develop it like the Preds. So that means you can’t take the BPA. You must draft the best defencemen available, develop them and then if you have an excess flip them at a premium for excellent forwards.

            If you take the best winger then you’re pretty much stuck with the best winger who will have very little trade value around the league and never get you the help you need on D.

            Until positional value evens out in the NHL, then taking the BPA is not really a sound strategy. As it stands now, the position matters and adds inherent value just by it’s nature.

          • Holly Wood

            Although he is getting trashed for saying it, Truthseeker actually gets it. You build through drafting defence and centers. Not wingers like the group near the top of this years rankings. The wild card in that group may be Tkchuck who is occasionally listed as a centre.

      • Burnabybob

        Get your b#rf bag ready, Dirk. There’s a good chance Bouchard is who the Canucks will be in a position to picK.

        The Canucks already have two elite wingers in the making with Boeser and Pettersson, plus Lind and Dahlen. That’s clearly an area of strength for the organization.

  • Fromday1

    Hmmmm, Boeser’s season ending injury came at a win to the islanders not a loss to Minnesota. Oh, and how does Ottawa beat a team in a shootout with a score of 7-4? Let me guess JD, you had a long night?

    • John660

      You need to re-read that…JD didn’t say anything of the sort on the first comment, he said the two goals came in the loss to Minnesota. As for the shootout, that term has a number of different meanings, and in this day and age, a 7-4 game is definitely a “shootout.”

  • Freud

    WWYDW from Oct 4th has a lot of predictions on this team’s season from the regulars. It’s exhaustively entertaining to read the predictions from Team Lemming. I urge you to go take a look.

  • speering major

    Sadly I also noticed that last night and was excited about the tanking. I’m not sure if I should be annoyed at watching Dowd out there when the team hasn’t scored in a couple games and we have prospects to give ice to, or if I should be applauding the tank

  • wjohn1925

    What’s going on? Trolls trolling trolls? The who’s who of the lowlife, knuckledraggers! Let’s get Arty and really have a party! Maybe get a 2-4 of Lucky Lager?

  • Chadallac

    I just want everybody to remember we all should have expected this type of season. The negativity towards the team & management is completely foolish. Next year we really could start turning it around. With Pettersson & Gaudette coming soon that sure helps out our top 6. Who knows if we can maybe even break the curse ?? and win Dahlin. Here’s hoping. Also our injuries are absolutely ridiculous. Some are shut down cuz why not, but some are just our terrible luck. ? Last overall would be welcomed by me ??

  • 51Geezer

    I, too, want to see our team finish last. Please don’t criticize me for this; I was there when our darlings had the best chance at Marcel Dionne and squandered it.
    If the Canucks can accomplish this, and enter the draft lottery with the best odds, I fully expect that Garlic City will be awarded yet another first overall pick, and that the Canucks will be passed by two other teams, landing them in the fourth spot.
    It is critical that they pick in the top four. Let us hope!

  • Canuck70

    Where are the moderator’s for CA’s comments section? Some of the posts are beyond rude and attacking other poster’s is not cool. Lakid is an obvious troll who is using internet anonymity to post insulting comments about the Sedins and Canuck management. MoeLemay may rightfully be indignent but his response in saying go s**k c**k is unnecessary and disturbing. Both deserve lifelong bans. Come on CA! Clean up your site!

  • sonnytwo

    The benefit of this team being run by a couple of bozos – actually Linden is chief bozo as he brings zippo, brought in for pr, and in way over his head, at least Benning knows how to scout at the amateur level – is that their utter ineptitude in actually being able to follow through on their ‘building a competitive team’ and spending to the cap has actually set them up for yearly shots at the very top picks. Even though they didn’t get #1 last year, they secured #5 and got Petterson. It would be amazing to get Dahlin (franchise shifting maybe) but even if not we’ll get a top 5 pick, likely impact. If bozo one and two had any real idea what they were doing – if they weren’t totally incompetent at asset management – then we might have ended up like the post 2004 Calgary Flames, continually barely missing the playoffs and never getting good picks. So, in a twisted sense, it’s good dumbo 1 and dumbo 2 can’t shoot straight. Now the concern is are they going to screw it up when the prospects actually make it to the NHL.

    Maybe a question for JD: How many teams have spent to the cap and finished dead last in the league, since the beginning of the cap era obviously? Can’t be many. The Leafs?

  • OMAR49

    At the beginning of the year I thought (hoped?) that the Canucks might contend for a play-off spot if a few players exceeded expectations and we avoided the injuries. Well, Boeser and Horvat exceeded expectations (at least mine) but we couldn’t avoid the injuries. With the exception of the Sedins all our top scorers are or have been injured for extensive periods of time. So we’re not going to make the play-offs and may even finish dead last but I don’t care. And the reason for that is we have Horvat and Boeser with Petterson, Dahlen, Gaudette, Juolevi, Lund, etc. etc. waiting in the wings plus we should at least get a top a 5 pick in a very strong draft. I can’t recall ever having so many young players with so much upside. We’re not going to win the Stanley Cup next year, might not even get in the play-offs but things look a lot better than a couple of years ago when our top prospect was Gaunce. As someone has previously said ” Better days are indeed ahead”.

      • Giant-Nation

        We are at the bottom this year, more young talent will make the team in the fall and that will be the start of some fun hockey to watch. I would love it if we draft a player that is good enough to make the team this year, add Pettersson, Gaudette and Julevi the team would be very interesting to watch next year.