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5 Vancouver Canucks who disappointed during the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
29 days ago
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There wasn’t going to be a positive article without a negative one.
For every Canuck that exceeded expectations in this playoff run, there were just as many that disappointed. Ones that should’ve been carrying the boats but instead let others carry them. Rick Tocchet called out a good chunk of them with his passengers press conference, but that didn’t change the fact that there were a couple of players who didn’t bother to show up all postseason.

Nils Höglander

Oh boy. I personally have to eat crow on this because I had Höglander listed as a possible playoff hero, but this run was the antithesis of that. His brand of hockey, the relentless puck pursuit and retrieval coupled with the flashes of finishing that he showed through the regular season should’ve translated to the playoffs in theory. Instead, right from the first game, it was obvious that the stage was just too big for Höglander at this point in time.
Plays went to his stick to die. Höglander looked tentative and nervous, unable to come up with pucks and losing board battles left and right. He bobbled routine passes, not really using his body or speed to pressure his opposition on the forecheck. This wasn’t the same winger that had potted in 24 goals and 12 assists in the regular season, that was for sure. Höglander was out of his depth, only putting up 1 goal and 1 assist in the playoffs.
It was perhaps too much to ask of the young Swede to be playing alongside of Elias Pettersson in these playoffs. His finishing rate was definitely unsustainable and probably played a role in elevating the expectations that we had for him. Regardless, Höglander simply wasn’t up to par in this postseason however you look at it.

Dakota Joshua

This one is going to be a hot take. Dakota Joshua had a breakout year in the Canucks lineup, finding his scoring touch and becoming an excellent middle-6 power forward throughout the year. His 18 goals, 14 assist performance in 63 games went along with a heavy physical presence, chippy and tough to play against. In Game 1 of Round 1, Joshua demonstrated just how well his style would translate into the postseason as he set Rogers Arena alive with his three points.
Thing is, after that, Joshua sort of… vanished. He was nowhere near as noticeable after that one game, occasionally throwing a big hit but otherwise unable to find the scoresheet. After the three points in Game 1, Joshua would finish with 4 goals and 4 assists in 13 games, which is definitely not bad production – it’s just the fact that in 12 games, he would only have 5 points. While Joshua isn’t someone that this team was leaning on in terms of points, it was hard to see his impact on the game at times, even outside of the scoresheet.
Joshua’s breakout year shouldn’t be ignored though, and perhaps his physical style had him breaking down a little bit sooner than most. Whichever is the case, it’ll be interesting to see what his next contract will look like.

Elias Pettersson

This was always coming. Elias Pettersson was not himself after the All-Star break, for whatever reason it might’ve been. Injury, slump, things simply did not go his way, cooling down dramatically from the first half of the season into the second half. Many were hoping that the playoffs would be a good reset for the Swede, to allow him to get back to his usual ways. Unfortunately, it only exacerbated many issues.
Pettersson simply wasn’t good for the large majority of the playoffs. Sure, he had a couple games here or there that he looked good, but when he’s about to be making $11.6 million AAV, it simply isn’t good enough to be recording 1 goals and 5 assists through 13 playoff appearances. Mostly invisible otherwise, there were some terribly bad moments too, missing wide open nets against the Predators that could’ve changed the outcome of games, or deciding to vanish against lesser opposition in the Oilers series.
Hopefully the offseason can bring the rest that Pettersson needs to get back to playing the dynamic brand of hockey that he’s capable of. Otherwise, that cap hit might be looking a bit ugly soon akin to Mitch Marner.

Filip Hronek

Filip Hronek’s production at the start of the year was always going to be hard to sustain. He looked like a bonafide 1B defenceman during the heater the Canucks were on to kick off the season, putting up points in bunches and unleashing wicked slapshots as he chauffeured Quinn Hughes on the top pairing. While the points might drop off, the expectation was that he would at least be solid enough to not be a liability, to help out Hughes on the pairing as a secondary puck mover.
Hronek was a puck-mover alright, if you’re looking at the sheer amount of failed slap passes during the playoffs. The Czech defender did not look good in the postseason, getting dragged along by a visibly hobbled Hughes as his passes were somehow always off target. He wasn’t particularly physical, he wasn’t particularly good in his own end, and it got to the point where Nikita Zadorov was a more viable option in the top pairing than Hronek was. 1 goal and 1 assist was meagre production, and that slapper from the start of the year was visibly missing until literally the last possible moment in Game 7.
As a pending RFA, Hronek is looking for an $8 million AAV contract from the Canucks for his services, making more than the captain. Simply put, if he’s expecting that much money, Vancouver can just point to his second half of the regular season and his playoff performances as the reason why he’s being traded for other parts.

Ilya Mikheyev

Dear god this man cannot finish. Ilya Mikheyev wasn’t terrible in the regular season, missing some time with injury but having some decent production in the Canucks top 9 with 11 goals and 20 assists. In theory, the Russian brought a lot of tools to the table, with his speed and decent size making him a good complementary option that should’ve been able to chip in some offence.
Thing is, he was anything but that in the playoffs. Mikheyev was a black hole, completely killing plays whenever the puck was on his stick. The winger missed wide-open nets, sending clear-cut chances safely around the post or into the goalie’s crest. He didn’t pick up a single point in this playoff run, which doesn’t seem to capture the effect that Mikheyev had on this team. If anything, he was dragging the Canucks down with his complete and utter lack of finishing.
With a cap hit of $4.75 million AAV, it’s pretty brutal to be getting this kind of performance out of Mikheyev. Even his biggest tool of speed seemed sapped out of him, with his post-injury performance possibly approaching Antoine Roussel levels in terms of losing his explosiveness.
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