Another heat wave is about to hit Vancouver but the NHL season is just on the horizon.
Yesterday, we found out that the organization would be wearing the Flying Skate jersey for a couple of games during the 2019-20 season and it resulted in some fans looking forward to seeing the beautiful jersey back on the ice. But that is a full season away, so what do we do with this season, and what can we look forward to that isn’t simply a new jersey.
Figured it was worth talking about what to get excited about, and what not to, for the 2018-19 season.
The Youth Movement
No matter how you feel about the path that management has chosen, there are things to be excited about in terms of the actual team. We saw Brock Boeser explode onto the scene and create excitement on both sides of the ‘team tank’ fence. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by an injury but I think it’s fair to say that everyone is looking forward to him ripping it past goalies next year. He may struggle to reach the same totals as his shooting percentage returns to earth or he may just continue to do what he was doing.
This season will see Elias Pettersson make the leap over to North America after dominating the SHL last year. We don’t know if he plays the wing or in the middle, and at this point, does it really matter?
It will be exciting to see him bring his wizardry to North America and Canucks fans will get front row seats for it all.
We could see Adam Gaudette take that leap and make his impact felt next year. Maybe Jonathan Dahlen does. Thatcher Demko is an injury away from getting back up with the big club before he makes the guaranteed leap to the NHL in 2019-20. Olli Juolevi will look to make the leap to the NHL after finishing the year really strong in Liiga.
It’s a long season and we don’t know what will happen but it’s clear that there is a reasonable chance we see all of these players at some point next year.
Don’t get caught up in the highs and lows
The season is long.
Last season, the Canucks went on a winning streak and the “believers” were up on their high horse saying that the team was on the rise and all the negative people were wrong. Shortly after, the Canucks came back down to earth and ended the year in the basement of the NHL.
The point is that you can’t use a small sample size of games as a reason to get excited (in either direction). The Canucks social media landscape can be a battleground and it’s exhausting at times.
Every win and loss won’t change the direction of the franchise. It’s fair to believe that the Canucks will struggle this season, in large part due to the departure of the Sedin twins and their production hopefully being replaced by the young guns. Those guys will struggle to produce every night but there will flashs of potentional. So, enjoy the good times, understand there will be some rough stretches, and leave the high horse in the garage until there is tangible outcome.
The young guns may make an impact in the NHL but there is little doubt that they will form the nucleus of the Utica Comets for next season. The aforementioned players plus prospects like Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Lukas Jasek, Petrus Palmu, Michael Carcone, Guillaume Brisebois, Jalen Chatfield and Zack MacEwen (and others) will look to take the Comets to the next level for the 2018-19 season.
All of them will be battling to earn that call up to the big club and it should create some fantastic games there. It’s always exciting to keep close tabs on the AHL team, but next year feels like it should be that little bit more.
We can all agree that Cory Hergott, aka Comets Cory, killed it this year with his coverage of the Utica Comets for CanucksArmy and based on the conversations I’ve had with him, it’s going to get better this upcoming season. If there any gaps in the coverage down there, we will make sure to keep everyone up to date on what is happening with the Canucks top affiliate.
2019 NHL Entry Draft
The 2019 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Vancouver and it might be the best timing possible for it.
With the 50th anniversary celebrations the next year, hosting the draft allows the organization to kick off the festivities. We don’t know what will happen with the Canucks over the course of the year, but it’s fair to believe that fans will want to keep a closer eye on the prospects that will hear their names called next June.
It also helps that the 2019 draft class is loaded with top prospects from the WHL, including Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram.
It’s really easy to get wrapped in one specific game, event, or play and then an entire narrative is built from there. It helps to make Game 57 of the season feel more important. But it’s really important to understand where the Canucks is as an organization and understand that there are some positives and negatives to them.
Just because someone criticizes something doesn’t make them wrong and having ‘rose-coloured’ glasses isn’t also a bad thing. We all just enjoy hockey a little differently.