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Canucks’ year-end media availability: Player insights and offseason outlooks

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jagraj Lalli
29 days ago
On Thursday morning, the Vancouver Canucks held their year-end media availability at Rogers Arena. Players arrived in groups to speak to the media, sharing insights and reflections on their season, challenges, and future plans.
Group 1: Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Casey DeSmith
Elias Pettersson revealed he had been playing with a knee injury since January, contributing to his postseason struggles.
“I’ve been playing with a bad knee since January. It’s been like a nagging injury. The longer it went, the more pain I felt. But, yeah, it just needs time to heal and time to rest. Then rehab. As soon as I get back home,” Pettersson explained.
Brock Boeser discussed his health after Game 6, which ultimately did not let him play in Game 7 vs Edmonton.
I took a shot in game one on the power play and had a bruise there. My leg was feeling fine, but about a week later, my calf started really hurting. So we got it checked out and found a clot in one of my small veins, which wasn’t an issue, so I was allowed to continue to play. Then, after game five and six, I got a scan the next morning after game six, and it showed that there was more clotting that had moved into my deep vein. I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t really understand it at first, so it was an emotional morning for me. To get told that news after you’ve been giving all your energy with your teammates in these playoffs and really striving and pushing for the ultimate goal, to have that taken away and not be out there in game seven with these guys — it hurts.”
Group 2: Thatcher Demko, Elias Lindholm, JT Miller, Tyler Myers
Thatcher Demko praised his backups, particularly Artūrs Šilovs, for stepping up during his injury.
“I can’t say enough about both of them. Stepping in like that, obviously Arty was fantastic. He played his ass off for this group. I tried to talk to him as much as I could without getting in his way or being overbearing. It’s a lot on his plate, but I felt like I was able to chat with him here and there. Even just a ‘good morning’ or a tap on the ass might help him out. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year; that’s not my decision. I’ve been fortunate to get really close with Casey. We have kids of similar age, and our wives are close as well. It’s been great this year.”
Elias Lindholm expressed pride in the team’s efforts despite falling short.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Obviously, it’s a great group of guys. I came in at a good time and got to know a lot of them at All-Star weekend. We had a lot of fun here. Obviously, we fell short, but I think we should all be proud. It was a good experience for everyone to push Edmonton to seven games in round two. Over the next couple of days, I’ll probably talk to my agent and go from there. It’s still pretty fresh, so I haven’t really put much thought into it yet.”
JT Miller discussed embracing his emotional and passionate play style with support from the coaching staff.
“Yeah. I guess I really do believe it’s a fine line. When you’re winning, my emotions are accepted, and when you’re losing, they certainly are not. That’s why I downplay it. I am who I am, and what comes to mind is that the staff here has helped me embrace who I am instead of running from it. It was good to wear my heart on my sleeve and be a little louder, but they helped me channel it. It’s not like, ‘Hey, don’t be like this guy,’ you know what I mean? I don’t look into it that much. I’m just trying to do my job.”
Group 3: Carson Soucy, Dakota Joshua, Ian Cole, Filip Hronek
Filip Hronek expressed his appreciation for playing with Quinn Hughes. “It was awesome playing with Quinn. He’s a great player and a great guy. He made the adjustment for me coming to Vancouver really easy. It was awesome.”
Ian Cole declined to discuss his injury specifics but reflected on the team’s progress. “This season as a whole was much more successful in the end than I think anyone was going to give us credit for when the season started. We learned a lot as a team and matured quite a bit.”
Group 4: Teddy Blueger, Nikita Zadorov, Pius Suter, Conor Garland
Teddy Blueger addressed his contract status and future with the team. “Some of those decisions are kinda out of my control. It’s a great place to be; I really enjoyed my time here, so it would be nice to have another crack with this group.”
Nikita Zadorov compared the Vancouver hockey market to Calgary and praised the Canucks’ fan base.
“Hockey in Canada is different. I can compare it to Calgary, but I feel like the Vancouver fan base is way bigger. Calgary is not even the number one team in Alberta. It’s obvious that there are more Edmonton fans because they have a bigger history. But Vancouver is on a different level. The fans were so hungry to see playoff hockey at home. It’s been eight years, and there are so many great traditions. This organization never won the Stanley Cup before, which probably puts more pressure on you as well. But it’s been unbelievable. I feel like the whole city has grown up around the team during the playoffs. It was fun to see, with my kids going to school and my family loving it here. It’s been just an incredible time. I’ve enjoyed every second of it, for sure.”
Group 5: Nils Hoglander, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Ilya Mikheyev, Noah Juulsen
Ilya Mikheyev reflected on how to contribute to the team when not scoring.
“Everyone wants to score or get some assists, but sometimes, if you can’t score or get points, you just give the team what you can do. Maybe play more in the D-zone or focus on the penalty kill assignments or something. You don’t need to focus solely on points or goals.”
Nils Höglander expressed gratitude for the support from the coaching staff.
“I mean, they helped me out a lot this year. It feels… I don’t know what to say. They helped me out a lot, and I like to work. We talked earlier about that goal before practice, and I think putting in the extra work has helped my game a lot.”
 
Group 6: Sam Lafferty, Artūrs Šilovs, Mark Friedman, Nils Aman
Artūrs Šilovs reflected on his performance and potential. “I think I just proved to myself that I can play here. I can make key saves to help the team to win.”
The Canucks now enter the offseason with significant decisions to make regarding their roster, cap space, and draft strategy. Key priorities will be negotiating contracts with notable restricted free agents Filip Hronek and Artūrs Šilovs and deciding on the futures of unrestricted free agents such as Teddy Blueger, Dakota Joshua, Sam Lafferty, Elias Lindholm, Ian Cole, Mark Friedman, Tyler Myers, Nikita Zadorov, and Casey DeSmith. 
The Canucks have several mid to late-round draft picks (one in the third round, one in the fourth, two in the sixth, and one in the seventh) to enhance their prospect pool. Strategic cap management, effective negotiations, and smart drafting will be crucial for the team as they hope to build on their current roster and prepare for the next season.

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