With their home opener set for tomorrow, the organization made some announcements:
#Canucks set roster, name leadership group for 2018.19 season. "Our team culture will be built from leadership by committee. It will be a big part of our process and our identity each and every game." https://t.co/MKsfEVALLd
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 2, 2018
There are no surprises in terms of these announcements but does provide some clarity on a few items.
The 23 man roster was already set with Sam Gagner and Darren Archibald clearing waivers earlier this morning but it’s now official that Antoine Roussel will start the season on the injured reserve as he recovers from a concussion suffered in the summer. Goaltender Thatcher Demko took a puck off the mask last week, was diagnosed with a concussion, and thus begins the season on the non-roster IR. Once he is healthy, he will be formally assigned to the Utica Comets.
When Roussel is healthy, the Canucks will have to make another move to open a roster spot for him.
As for the leadership group, the decision to name Chris Tanev, Brandon Sutter, Alex Edler, and Bo Horvat as alternate captains is not the least bit of a shock. There had been strong indications from the management group and coaching staff over the summer that they were leaning towards a collective leadership group instead of the traditional approach of having a captain and thus have spread the responsibilities around some of the veterans and the expected next captain, Horvat. This allows Horvat to be a part of the leaders without shouldering the entire weight of the role.
Given that the Canucks are expected to struggle this season, it would’ve been a huge ask placed on the centre to undertake the the captaincy But it seems pretty clear that he would’ve been able to handle it this season and will just end up doing so next year.
It’s inevitable that Horvat will be named the captain and by kicking it to later down the road, the organization has given themselves a positive bit of news when he does get named. That could be shortly after the trade deadline, as the season winds down, the summer, or prior to the 2019-20 season.
The reasoning behind the multiple alternates and no official captain makes sense in a vacuum but everyone knows Horvat will be the 14th captain in Canucks history. It’s now just a matter of when they take off the A and put the C on.
The Canucks open their season tomorrow with the Calgary Flames visiting Rogers Arena.