After a tradeless deadline, the Canucks will have to make do with these post-deadline “additions”

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
4 months ago
In the end, it’s not a bad thing to get one’s shopping done early in the NHL, so long as one’s primary goal is not putting forth an exciting Trade Deadline Day.
Between the opening of Training Camp 2024 and now, GM Patrik Allvin and Co. brought in Casey DeSmith, Sam Lafferty, Mark Friedman, Nikita Zadorov, and Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks.
With all that acquiring already done, the Vancouver front office ultimately decided that they didn’t need to make any more moves on Friday, March 8’s deadline – not even so much as a swap of minor league players.
On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with the logic: had the Canucks saved up all their chips and walked away from the TDL having added all the aforementioned players in one fell swoop, we would’ve been calling it the Deadline Day of the Century.
That the Canucks merely paced out their acquisitions throughout the year is not a bad thing, and probably truly the better way to conduct business.
That being said, one of the benefits of making a big move at the Trade Deadline is the immediate boost in morale than comes with adding a major supplement to an already-contending roster right before the stretch run really kicks off.
That boost is something that the Canucks, who made their last trade back on January 31, will not be getting.
So, they’ll have to make do with a few other post-deadline “additions” as they battle to maintain their spot atop the Pacific, Western, and NHL standings.
The return of a healthy Dakota Joshua
We won’t be winning any awards for journalistic originality in stating that the Canucks have missed Dakota Joshua.
He exited the lineup with a hand injury following February 13’s matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since then, the Canucks have gone 6-5-1 without him. And it’s actually a little worse than that, because that record comes on the heels of a four-game win-streak to kick off March.
In February alone, the Canucks went 3-1-1 with Joshua and then 2-5-1 without him. Suffice it to say that his absence has been noticeable.
Joshua never made it to LTIR, just IR, which means that he’s eligible to return at any time, and since there aren’t roster-size-related restrictions post-deadline, they don’t even need to make room for him. Recent reports suggest that he could return as soon as Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Whether he reunites with Conor Garland and Teddy Blueger on the No-Name Line or perhaps joins Garland and Lindholm on a new super third line, we predict that Joshua will make an impact on the lineup far in excess of the average deadline pickup. 
The return of a healthy Tyler Myers
Myers hasn’t been out of the lineup long enough to really be missed. Nor has he been the same sort of direct difference-maker as Joshua. There are also players on hand ready and willing to step into Myers’ role, like Noah Juulsen and Mark Friedman and Ian Cole on the right.
It’s fair to say, then, that the Canucks aren’t quite feeling Myers’ absence to the same severity they are Joshua’s. All the same, adding Myers back into the mix after a few weeks off will still be a positive…especially if it means that Myers returns fresh and refocused.
This has been a great year for Myers by his own standards. But he’s still prone to the occasional mental malfunction, can still be a bit up-and-down, and does sometimes need some serious redirecting.
All of those things might be positively affected by a few weeks in the pressbox leading up to the playoffs. If Myers comes back ready to give it his all, and having watched the game unfold from above through the stretch run, the Canucks might just get him at his absolute best right when they need it most.
The revival of Vasily Podkolzin…
One of the Canucks’ post-deadline additions was added to the roster moments after the deadline had passed, and that’s Vasily Podkolzin.
Podkolzin was papered down to Abbotsford on deadline day for the purposes of making him eligible for the AHL playoffs, but he might just be too busy in the NHL playoffs for that to matter. Right now, Podkolzin is playing in the Canucks’ lineup ahead of Nils Åman and one presumes he currently ranks ahead of a few more on the depth chart after a strong string of games.
Being able to add a young power forward this late in the season is an obvious positive, and that it comes after Podkolzin has spent the past few months building up confidence and consistency is Abbotsford makes it all the more positive. If Podkolzin can find a way to be an every-night contributor for the Canucks, it will go further toward supplementing their forward depth than many of the spare pieces that were available for late picks at the deadline.
…plus up to THREE more recalls from Abbotsford
As we covered earlier in the weekend, the recall of Podkolzin was one of four non-emergency recalls that the Canucks are allowed post-deadline.
Which means that more reinforcements are inevitably coming. Rosters are now limited only by cap space, not number of players, and the Canucks are currently quite low on that. But they can gain a lot more relief space by placing Myers on retroactive LTIR, and in doing so they can gain more than enough room to recall all three of their remaining options, should they so choose.
Who will these remaining recalls be used on?
One assumes that replacing Myers on the blueline is the top priority. Right now, the Canucks have seven healthy NHL defenders on the roster, but they like to roll with eight. That could mean that Jett Woo comes back up sooner rather than later. Alternatively, management may want Woo to remain in Abbotsford for their stretch run, in which case someone like Matt Irwin or Guillaume Brisebois might come up for pressbox duty instead.
Chances seem good that one of the other remaining recalls will be used to get another look at Arshdeep Bains, who brought good energy to the lineup when in Vancouver and seems like someone who may be tossed into a playoff series in need of a spark.
At least one of the recalls will probably be held in reserve to cover for any short-term injuries that inevitably crop up. 
A return to form for Elias Lindholm
Beyond the more direct additions listed above, we have to get a little more tangential, but there are still some potential incoming positives worth talking about.
The first and most foremost is the continued return to form of Lindholm, easily the team’s most marquee in-season addition to the roster. He hasn’t been outright awful since arriving in Vancouver, but four goals and three assists across 17 games isn’t quite what they were hoping for, either.
Imagine the difference it would make if Lindholm could return to anything approaching the 40-goal, point-per-game pace he played at just two years ago in 2021/22. Even if he doesn’t get all the way back there, any measure of return to form for Lindholm only serves to make the Canucks a more dangerous team. 
A return to form for Ilya Mikheyev
Ilya Mikheyev’s name got tossed around a lot in the leadup to the TDL, and while there were plenty who were eager to see the Canucks part ways with him, others weren’t so sure. One heard a lot of sentiment that the knee injury and subsequent surgery that Mikheyev suffered through last season is one that typically takes up to 18 months to fully bounce back from. The notion went that Mikheyev is still actively recovering, and that the best is still yet to come from him, so maybe it was best for the Canucks to hang onto him and wait it out.
Well, the Canucks held on to Mikheyev. That 18-month threshold won’t be crossed until we’re into next season, but one can hold out hope that Mikheyev will regain more of his stride over the next few weeks and hit the postseason at or close to top-speed. 
A return to form for Carson Soucy
At no point this season has Carson Soucy played noticeably bad. He’s been steady. But there are some more noticeable elements of his game, namely his physicality, that seem a lot quieter following his return from injury.
It makes sense. No Canuck has suffered through more injury than Soucy this season, and it’s naturally going to take him some time to fully regain form.
If he’s able to revive his ability to throw open ice checks in the neutral zone and wreak havoc in the corners, he’ll only supplement what has already become an incredibly-physical Canucks blueline. 
A return to form for Sam Lafferty
Another name that fits the “return to form” descriptor is Sam Lafferty, though his decline has flown a little more under the radar. In the first 28 games of the season, Lafferty posted 14 points, which is excellent production from a bottom-six player.
He’s got just seven points in the other 35 games since then.
We never expected Lafferty to maintain that 40-point pace. But if he can find a more productive gear again, especially if he winds up playing regularly with the likes of Teddy Blueger and Pius Suter, Lafferty will add further depth and dynamism to the lower-end of the Canucks’ forward corps, and that’s something that is always needed come playoff time.
The ultimate deadline acquisition: Days off and practice time with a much more forgiving schedule
We realize we’re really reaching in calling this an “addition,” but it bears mention all the same.
The Canucks had one of the busiest pre-deadline schedules in the NHL, which is nothing new to one of the league’s most geographically-isolated franchises.
But things get a lot better from here on out.
Saturday’s matchup with the Winnipeg Jets marked the start of a nine-game homestand, which will carry them through the rest of March.
From here on out, the Canucks have just one more back-to-back situation. They get three days off right now, and then eight more instances of two days off in between games.
Combine the time off with the being at home, and you get something that the Canucks have been lacking of late: ample dedicated practice time. That’s a major plus for a coaching staff that has no doubt witnessed some bad habits crop up in the team’s play, and now finally has the time and space to do something about it.
In the end, a much more forgiving schedule might just be the most important thing the Canucks picked up on deadline day.

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