Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that doesn’t need to attract readers with exciting prizes and giveaways.
Speaking of sweepstakes, when was the last time that the Vancouver Canucks won a set of them? You probably have to go back to the days of Mats Sundin to find the last instance of the Canucks landing a highly-coveted free agent with multiple teams after them, but this week it finally happened again when KHL winger Andrey Kuzmenko ended his worldwide tour of potential destinations by deciding upon Vancouver.
It would be hard to find someone in the Vancouver fanbase or mediasphere who’s not at least a little bit excited by the signing. After all, it cost the Canucks nothing more than a one-year, sub-$1 million ELC to land Kuzmenko, and he’s got genuine top-six potential. Adding talent to the roster for essentially free is always thrilling.
But exactly how excited are you?
That’s what we’re here to find out, because this week, we’re asking:
What are your expectations for Andrey Kuzmenko?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Which Vancouver Canuck is going to break out in 2022/23?
You answered below!
Beer Can Boyd:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Not sure it would qualify as a breakout, but I think Jason Dickinson could have a bounce back year. Just turning 27, 6’2″, 200 lbs, and his best five games last year were the last five games of the year. Two years left on his deal, and he has an awful lot to play for.
As for a breakout, would love to see Höglander score 20 this year.
I hope Rutherford and Allvin breakout with a rash of trades to remake the roster and get us out of perpetual cap hell mediocrity.
I think we will see Podz breakout this season. I can see that with some trades this year he will play mostly in the top-six. Won’t have a period of adjustment, and it seems that his combined motivation, work ethic, and skill will all come together. Plus BB seems to trust him on the ice. Look for solid second line minutes and production.
Several players will breakout compared to last season; EP, Brock, Bo, Pearson, Podkolzin, Höglander, Garland, Dickinson, Lammikko, OEL, and Myers. If Miller remains with the Canucks, expect him to top last season’s point total.
Podkolzin. Lots more to his game still.
I don’t know if there is a significant chance of it happening, but it would be pure gold if one of Woo, Myrenberg. Persson, or Johansson had a big year. Getting a decent RHD out of the prospects onto the roster in a couple years would be huge.
I think Boeser stays and gets at least 30 goals.
Breakout player for next year? My vote is for Boeser, as he dedicates next season for Duke and is unburdened by the weight he was carrying around all last season. A close runner-up vote for Podzy, as he gains more confidence from the coaching staff and is given a bigger role on the top-six.
I know what you’re thinking. He had an excellent season. What’s to break out or bounce back from? But he’s ridiculously skilled, and 80 points is within reach.
He regains the trust of the coaching staff, shows off the skill set we have seen flashes of, and becomes a more well-rounded player a year more mature.
A highly motivated Boeser, to prove he deserves a long-term deal if he signs a 1-yr QO.
Tough to say, because I’m not sure who’s going to be a part of the team apart from the main core, but I think Dermott is ready to take another step. He looked really good in limited games, and with a better defense structure and better players around him, he can excel and bring a solid two-way game.
Bo Horvat. Maybe this sounds strange, because it could arguably be said that Bo has broken out, but through most of his career, Bo has been the all-situation man. He takes big offensive zone faceoffs and he plays a checking role against the other teams’ best players and takes a ton of d-zone faceoffs.
So why do I say Bo? Because I think he has 70+ points in him if this team can be constructed in such a way that frees him up to play a more dedicated scoring role. This means that the team needs more reliable 3rd and 4th line centremen that can take away that shut down role and who are capable of taking more d-zone faceoffs.
Obviously I am optimistic that this can happen in the not so distant future and am hoping that this comes next season.
I bet Pettersson scores 40 goals this season.
Tough call. It’s one of Höglander, Vitaly Kravtsov, or Ryan Lindgren.
I’m not convinced any player is going to break out, unless Demko gets absolutely dominant (but that’ll only happen if Spencer Martin turns out to be a reliable backup after all, over the whole season).
Bounce back: Boeser, sure, if the effort and grit return, but not so sure about Höglander. He looked perpetually frustrated and maybe it really was a sign of things to come, not his first season with its great PDO.
The way Management didn’t reward Boudreau suggests the players might not go all-in for him this time, since he’s effectively a place-holder now. And that might have ripples all through the team’s performance.
Pods is the guy and in a big way…especially if Miller and/or Boeser are moved in the offseason and Pods becomes a regular top-six and PP guy.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson because he has something to prove.
I won’t consider Miller, Horvat, Petey, Hughes, OEL, or Demko because they already have had breakout seasons in the past. Boeser hasn’t had a breakout season, but I don’t think he’ll breakout next year. That leaves Podkolzin and/or Höglander. I am hoping for significant improvement from both. Pods is probably more likely to breakout than Hogs.
We broke down what the Canucks have in Kuzmenko on the latest episode of the Canucks Conversation Podcast, and gave a four-minute rundown in the video below.
- What the Canucks have in Andrey Kuzmenko: His strengths, weaknesses, and more
- “Strong interest” in Canucks’ Miller and Boeser, Miller linked to Washington Capitals: reports
- Carolina’s Ethan Bear has been given permission to talk to other teams, should the Canucks be interested?
- Two new potential trade partners seemingly just became big players in the J.T. Miller sweepstakes
- Monday Mailbag: Jett Woo’s future, predicting Andrei Kuzmenko’s rookie NHL season, and the debut of the #MM comment section questions
- Michael Bublé on the “night and day” difference in the Canucks’ locker room after cleaning house in December
- NHL Draft: Who’s rising, who’s falling, and how it affects the Canucks at pick number 15