Watching the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is a healthy reminder of where the Vancouver Canucks are in their rebuild and what it takes to not only make the playoffs but extend that success beyond the final weeks of April and May.
This past season, we were all introduced to the phenom that is Elias Pettersson and everything he can bring to the struggling Canucks. Preceding Petey was Brock Boeser and Troy Stecher and before that was Bo Horvat.
On the backend, Thatcher Demko was drafted to eventually become the brick wall Canucks fans have been used to for so long; you know, when Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider were here? Those were better times.
The group of players mentioned above is a great start but the heavy lifting isn’t done quite yet, despite what some have said.
As the NHL Entry Draft nears and shortly after that, free agency, the Canucks are going to need some upgrades and Canucks Army is taking the “Dragon’s Den” approach to this stage of the offseason.
Below are a group of players available via free agency, the draft or the trade market that the Canucks could/should approach to put this team back in the postseason and in a position to attract future talent in the hopes that one day a Stanley Cup will make its way to the streets of Vancou… too soon?
First up, Artemi Panarin aka The Bread Man
Artemi Panarin is not actually a bread man and does not work in a bakery. He is currently on an expiring deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets and is set to become a UFA. He finished the playoffs this season with 5G/6A in 10GP. He was part of a Blue Jackets team that pushed the envelope in the second half of the season and combined with the stellar goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky and the addition of Matt Duchene, they won their first ever playoff round and swept the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning in four games.
During the regular season, Panarin put up an impressive 28 goals and 59 assists on the John Tortorella led Jackets. He wasn’t a finisher on the power play but that just means he’d fit right in with the Canucks. Panarin still racked up 18 points on the man-advantage, had an above average CF% 54.58, and an equally glowing GF% with 56.72.
It’s no secret he’s due for a massive payday but what would the Canucks Army minds do?
– “Artemi. Arty. Bread Man. I’m going to make you an offer. Who’s been centring you the last few years? Pierre-Luc Dubois? Alexander Wennberg? The ghost of Matt Duchene? How would you like to trade them in for the most offensively-creative center in the game–other than Connor McDavid, of course, and we both know you’re not moving to Edmonton. Elias Pettersson is already well on his way to the Hall of Fame…but it’s not too late for you to tag along for the ride.
Here’s what you’ll get in Vancouver that you’d also get in Florida–a coastline, a nightlife, and plenty of entertainment industry opportunities for your significant other. You know what you won’t get in Vancouver? Floridians.
As far as we’re concerned, that’s reason enough to pick the Canucks. But if that doesn’t suit your fancy, how’s this–seven years at $8.5 million per. But we need to know now–we’ve got Erik Karlsson on the other line.”
That sounds pretty good but I mean, I’m the host so most of this is exciting.
Let’s hear from the next Dragon…
– Ok, Panman here’s the deal. We have a need for a first line left winger and you have a need to play with great linemates. Have you heard of Elias Pettersson?
Of course, you have! He is the future here in Vancouver and with your signature on this dotted line, you will be a part of that future too. This team is about to make a comeback into competing for the playoffs and do you know what rhymes with “Playoffs?
Layoffs, and that’s the only thing you’ll get in Florida when they decide to fold the team and move you up to freezing cold Quebec City in the next 3-4 years.
With your help, we can make one of the most prolific scoring lines in the NHL.
So I’m going to cut right to the digits, I’m thinking 9.5 over 7 years because 95 is the number of points you’re going to average over these next 7 years. See ya at the beach in July big boy.
-Jimbo (Or Faber, whatever)
The other CA Dragons didn’t have numbers that could match the previous Dragon comments so they bowed out. Will the Canucks actually make an offer like our two Canucks Army writers have suggested or will they once again, bid on the second or third best options and drag the rebuild on until the 60th anniversary?
Stay tuned for the next player in the Dragon’s Den series.