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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Roundtable: No-Luck November

November really took its toll on a Canucks team that looked prepped to join the NHL’s elite for the first few weeks of the season. The team went 5-7-4 in November, and aside from the power play, not much went their way. What do you think is ailing the Canucks and how would you fix it?

Ryan Hank

I’m going out on a limb and I’ll say they’re a playoff team, barely, but they will be. With that comes struggles, slumps and random streaks.
Scoring will be up and down this year but it looks like their goaltending will decide a lot. Bo Horvat is a big reason they haven’t jumped to the next level as he isn’t driving play but joining it.
Add to that the only people scoring are on the top line and you have a few things not going your way.
Roussel is going to help Bo and I think Ferland will get his step back. I don’t believe Ferland has been 100% yet and it will take a good month being back to see what he can do.
Drop some ice times down for Bo and Edler and stop bringing PP2 our first.
Also, give Tim Schaller more love.

David Quadrelli

As much as it may pain some to say it, the Canucks are a better team with Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle in the lineup. The ability to close out games is lost on the Canucks young group, and while it’s easy to make the injury excuse year after year, the Canucks are losing two of the final pieces of their puzzle. I expect them to have a big bounce back month of December, but am wary of what lies ahead in January and February.

Faber

November is over and that is the best thing for the Canucks. After Tuesday’s game they will be off until Saturday. The short break should give the time to have a mental reset. Antoine Roussel will be close to returning and the same should be said for Ferland, Sutter and Beagle. Once some of the pressure to be the defensive centre is taken off of Horvat I think we could see more 5on5 offence from the captain. The powerplay has won them games but you need to be able to control the goal share at even strength to be a playoff team. Hopefully the defence pairs can get back to having quick transitional puck movement and the team can get back to their early season success at even strength.

Stephan Roget

A more favourable December schedule will go a long way toward helping the Canucks rebound. Every single game is either at home or in the division. With that being said, if you’re counting on NHL schedule makers to fix your team’s problems, you’re in trouble. Relying on players returning from injury is also iffy, because more injuries are almost inevitably going to occur.
The real solutions will have to come from the players themselves and the coaching staff – finding some solid lines, reducing the minutes of Bo Horvat and Alex Edler, and becoming less predictable on offense are all important steps to take.

Brett Lee

I don’t think there’s an easy fix, nor do I think something is really ‘ailing’ the Canucks. The reality is that in the NHL, you win and lose with your best players over an 82 game season (and hopefully playoffs). Depth pieces are what separate the contenders from pretenders but to even have a seat at the table, your best players need to be your best players. Vancouver’s core of stars are young and lack experience. Novembers like these are part of their progression. I’m not worried about the core four. Not only are they exceptionally skilled but they have the makeup of players that strive to be the best in the world – specifically Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. They are going to figure it out how to be dominant over months not weeks. My big takeaway from November was the Washington game. There, I saw a young Canucks team that overcame adversity and gained invaluable lessons in a meaningless November game. I know I sound like an ‘old-school hockey thinker’ when I say that but if I’ve learned anything in my 22 years, it’s that some things can only be learned with time. And to me, learning how to win the right way is one of them. My other answer is that the Canucks are still missing 2-3 impactful pieces from being a true playoff team so the fix is to keep building.