The Vancouver Canucks 2019-20 season is quickly approaching, which means it’s also time for fantasy hockey.
With the Canucks on the cusp of being a playoff team, Vancouver’s roster offers some great fantasy value this season.
Here’s a look at the 2019-20 Canucks from a fantasy perspective, including must-own players, sleeper picks and buyer beware.
Elias Pettersson, C
The sky is the ceiling for 20-year-old Swedish superstar forward Elias Pettersson. The talented youngster broke onto the scene in 2018-19 with 28 goals and 66 points in 71 games. He surpassed Pavel Bure’s franchise rookie scoring record and immediately became a must-own fantasy player. Pettersson is an unreal talent who can contribute in multiple offensive fantasy hockey categories. He’s a staple on the first power-play unit where he potted 10 goals in his first season. The signing of his linemate Brock Boeser should be the final piece to solidify that his even-strength production continues. The fact Pettersson scored 28 goals on just 144 shots on goal last year speaks volumes to his lethal sniping ability. Having exciting offensive blueliner Quinn Hughes for a full season on the point and a newcomer in J.T.Miller or Michael Ferland as his other potential winger almost ensures Pettersson will take another step forward in his second NHL season. Pettersson did miss 11 games with injury in 2018-19 and the Canucks have a more balanced scoring attack this season, but Pettersson’s skill is unquestionable. I don’t see a massive jump in production for Pettersson, but I do think he improves on his 2018-19 totals.
Projection: 31 G, 44 A, 74 points
Brock Boeser, RW
Boeser recently signed a three-year contract extension with the Canucks after putting up 55 goals over his first two full seasons with the team. Having Elias Pettersson as your linemate would give a big boost to any NHL players fantasy value, but Boeser is a talent in his own right. The Minnesota native possess a lethal shot and has scored consistently at each level he’s played at. Health is a bit of concern for Boeser, as he’s yet to play 70 games in an NHL season. Both he and Pettersson have both gotten unlucky on the injury front in their young NHL careers to date, and a full healthy season together will truly establish them as an elite fantasy duo. Boeser’s sniping ability is lethal, and he’s also proving to be an impressive passer. Boeser will be playing on Vancouver’s first power-play unit where he struck 16 times in his first two NHL seasons. Given his wicked release and 209 shots on goal last season, there’s no reason to doubt a first career 30-goal season for Boeser.
Projection: 35 G, 33 A, 68 points
Quinn Hughes, D
It’s been a long time since the Canucks have had an exciting and offensively gifted young player on their blueline. Hughes is a potential Calder Trophy candidate in 2019-20 after impressing in limited action last year. The 19-year-old dazzled on the Canucks with his electric skated and strong offensive awareness. Taken seventh overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, Hughes gave fantasy goers a strong indication of his potential in his two years at the University of Michigan. The young defenseman was a force on the Wolverines back-end and produced at almost a point-per-game pace. Hughes has great fantasy potential this season due to his likely role on the first power-play unit with Pettersson and Boeser. Had the Canucks pursued the left-shot rearguard Jake Gardiner instead of the more defensively responsible and right-shot blueliner Tyler Myers, Hughes’ 2019-20 fantasy value would have more limited. With veteran rearguard Alex Edler’s best-days behind him, Hughes has the chance to take the reins on Vancouver’s blueliner and use his talented skill-set to become an elite-tier fantasy defenseman.
Projection: 9 G, 39 A, 47 points
Jacob Markstrom, G
Markstrom established himself as a reliable No.1 fantasy goaltender in 2018-19, posting a 28-23-9 record with a .912 save percentage and 2.77 GAA. While his win total last season was a career high, Markstrom has posted a save percentage around .912 each year since he arrived in Vancouver. His rate stats aren’t incredible, but he’s a good draft choice if you need a goalie who is going to play a lot on a good team with playoff potential. Two things to consider before drafting Markstrom are shutouts and promising backup netminder Thatcher Demko. If your league places a large emphasis on goalie shutouts, Markstrom isn’t an ideal choice as he’s struggled to lay goose eggs. Since arriving in Vancouver in 2014, Markstrom has managed just three shutouts. There were nine NHL goalies with at least five shutouts in 2018-19. Demko should also see more starts as Markstrom’s backup this season, as NHL teams are leaning towards a more balanced workload between their two goalies. Markstrom should see still 50-60 games in the crease, and with the team significantly improved in front of him, he should turn in another solid fantasy season.
Projection: 29 Wins, 2.70 GAA, .915 save percentage
Bo Horvat, C
Horvat had a career offensive season in 2018-19, recording 27 goals and 61 points in 82 games. He played well with newcomer Tanner Pearson on the second line and also has a role on the first power-play unit. The two-way stud is a reliable fantasy asset due to his goal-scoring ability and multi-category contributions. He’s hit the 20-goal mark in each of his last three seasons and has 20 power-play goals and six shorthanded goals in that span. Horvat should benefit from a full season of Quinn Hughes and the potential addition of Michael Ferland and J.T Miller as one of his new wingers. While Horvat’s offensive ceiling isn’t as high as Petterson or Boeser’s, he’s a reliable fantasy pick. Horvat plays a well-rounded game that resulted in 227 shots on goal, 33 PIM and 62 hits last season. If you’re looking for a consistent goal-scorer who can contribute in multiple fantasy categories, Horvat is your guy.
Projection: 28 G, 36 A, 64 points
J.T Miller, RW
Miller arrives in Vancouver with three consecutive 20-plus goal seasons on his resume. He’s projected to play on either the top line with Pettersson and Boeser or the second line with Horvat. It’s also possible he lands the third-line centre gig. The 26-year-old doesn’t necessary have a super high fantasy ceiling, but he’s capable of being an effective fantasy winger this season. He potted 23 goals, including nine with the man advantage, over 94 games with a dangerous Tampa Bay squad and is coming over to another good offensive team. If he’s lining up alongside a talented player such as Pettersson, he has the goal-scoring finish to net a healthy amount of tallies this year. Miller’s goal-scoring is his best asset, but he’s also landed in the 40-60 point range in his first four full NHL seasons. You have a good general idea of what you’re getting when drafting Miller, but his new linemates and power-play potential suggests upside that could make him worth selecting earlier than he’s projected to go.
Projection: 23 G, 32A, 55 points
Michael Ferland, LW
Ferland is the other key offensive addition the Canucks made this offseason. The power forward put up 17 goals with Carolina last season and potted 21 tallies for the Calgary Flames in 2017-18. He’s reached 40 points in back-to-back seasons. Much like Miller, I like Ferland as a sleeper due to his potential new linemates. He could also wind up playing with Petterson and Boeser or Horvat. There’s also a chance to lands on one of the power-play units. The gritty forward is a good selection if your league places emphasis on goals for offense while giving value to other categories such as PIM and hits. Ferland is 6’1” and 217 lbs and is known for his aggressive playing style and physical presence. He was third on the Hurricanes with 182 hits last season and also aided fantasy goers with 58 PIM. His playing style leads to him getting scoring plenty of dirty goals, but he also has a strong shot. Ferland should hit 40 points again, but a top-six-role and good goal-scoring ability indicate that he could be in for a career fantasy season.
Projection: 22 G, 21 A, 43 points
Alex Edler, D
Edler is a well-known name on Vancouver’s blueline, but fantasy goers should tread lightly when considering the Swedish veteran in fantasy hockey. Edler missed 26 games due to injury last season and hasn’t played over 70 games in a season since 2014-15. You also have to go all the way back to 2011-12 for the last time Edler hit the 80-game mark. With the emergence of Hughes and the arrival of Tyler Myers, Edler won’t need to be the go-to offensive producer on the Canuck’s blueline this season. He still has solid fantasy value given his role on the first defensive pairing and quality defensive contributions (127 hits, 166 blocked shots in 18-19), but I don’t seem him replicating the 10-goal, 34 points in 56 games success he had last year. Elder received over three minutes of power-play time for the first time in three years last season, but that should go down with Hughes projected to take his place on the top unit. Edler is still a strong two-way rearguard with 30-point potential, but take his injury history and role with the team into consideration before jumping on him too early.
Projection: 7 G, 27 A, 34 points
Tyler Myers, D
Tyler Myers was the big offseason UFA signing the Canucks made to improve their blueliner this season. Myers towers over the opposition at 6′ 8″ and 227 lbs, but is he worth taking in fantasy hockey? The 29-year-old is coming off a nine-goal, 31-point season where he also aided fantasy goers with 63 PIM. Myers should play an important role for the Canucks, and I think he’s worth taking to round out your defense group this year. He’s reached the 30-point barrier in back-to-back seasons and has proven he can produce on the power play. He likely won’t get a look on the Canucks’ first power-play unit, but I like his potential on the right point of Vancouver’s second unit. Even if he doesn’t get used much on the power play, Myers is a good puck-mover who will pick up lots of secondary assists just by making breakout passes to talented players such as Pettersson. He isn’t the best fantasy option on Vancouver’s blueline, but Myers showed by scoring eight even-strength goals and one shorthanded last season that he’s capable of producing offense no matter the situation.
Projection: 8 G, 28 A, 36 points
Late Round/ Waiver Wire considerations: Tanner Pearson, LW, Thatcher Demko, G, Sven Baertschi, LW
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