Five Canucks who exceeded expectations in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
23 days ago
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With the playoffs now in the rearview mirror for the Vancouver Canucks, the time for retrospection begins. Losing in the second round, in a Game 7, was an outcome that not many could’ve predicted at the start of the year. The Canucks were expected to be merely contending for a playoff spot, not winning a round and pushing an alleged contender to the brink of elimination. For all intents and purposes, the season was one full of overachieving, exceeding pretty much every expectation that was placed on this team.
Keeping with that theme, this article will take a look at five players who exceeded expectations in the playoffs, the ones who stepped up and performed when the lights shone at their brightest. These playoff performers might not have been the household names that you would’ve expected, but their names were everywhere this postseason.

Arturs Silovs

What seemed like a dream start to the NHL playoffs soon became intensely stressful for the Canucks. After winning Game 1 against the Predators, Thatcher Demko was ruled out for the rest of the series the next morning due to an injury sustained late in the game. A Vezina finalist, who returned from a knee injury at the tail end of the season, and one of the biggest reasons why this Canucks team was as good as it was in the regular season, was now unavailable. Up stepped Casey DeSmith, who did more than his fair share as the backup in two games — and then also got hurt. Vancouver was now down to its third goalie, with a 2-1 series lead.
Enter Arturs Silovs. The Latvian rose to the stage and then some in the 2024 NHL playoffs, posting his first career NHL shutout in that Game 6 Round 1 win to send Vancouver to the second round. He was no stranger to being in the pressure cooker, having thrown Latvia on his back for a bronze medal in the 2023 World Championships, but this was definitely another step up — and yet, it felt like Silovs didn’t miss a beat. His numbers are by no means impressive on the surface, with a 2.91 GAA on a 0.898 SV% through his 10 playoff appearances, but game after game he battled to give the Canucks a shot at winning games. Silovs’ inexperience shone through as the Edmonton Oilers began to get screened goals aplenty on him, but that raw athleticism helped fill in most gaps whenever the Oilers poured it on the Canucks.
For a third goalie thrust into action on the biggest stage in professional hockey, there really wasn’t much more you could ask for from Arturs Silovs.

Brock Boeser

The start of the year was filled with discourse about what to do with Brock Boeser. Struggling to score in recent years, he looked out of place in this Canucks roster, unable to match the hype that he generated from his rookie season. With just one year after this season left on his contract, plenty of noise was made about moving on from Boeser. Others felt that this would be the year that Boeser would finally break that 30-goal threshold that he had long been on pace for, but never reached.
Well, he reached it and then shattered it. Boeser became a 40-goal scorer this season, recapturing a lot of the Rookie Boeser magic as he found his scoring touch once more. That translated into the playoffs in an offensive explosion, because be honest, who would’ve thought that Brock Boeser would be the Canucks’ leading scorer in the playoffs? His 7 goals and 5 assists through 12 games couldn’t have come at better times too, from the Game 4 Round 1 hat trick that helped the Canucks come back and win in overtime, to the two goals and one assist that he tallied in a first period burst in Game 3 of Round 2 to secure a Vancouver win on the road.
Unfortunately, the dream postseason came to an end in one of the most heartbreaking ways possible, with Boeser ruled out for Game 7 with a blood clot in his leg. Hopefully, he’ll make a speedy recovery, because the Canucks will be wanting his production back in the lineup.

Elias Lindholm

The regular season stint that Elias Lindholm had after being acquired was not the greatest, to say the least. He wasn’t producing, looking rather ineffective, and ended up being shut down in the stretch run to close out the season due to a wrist injury. With Andrei Kuzmenko producing in Calgary, there was plenty of noise that the Canucks messed up, that Lindholm was the wrong move, that they got fleeced for a rental.
Rental he might be, but Lindholm stepped up in the playoffs, big time. Right from the opening game against the Predators, he showed why Vancouver wanted him even before the trade deadline. Not only did he spark the Canucks’ offence, but the consistent defensive positioning, the smart reads and plays, the reliable faceoff presence, and the way that he helped drive one of the most consistent lines the Canucks had all postseason made him more than worth the price. With 5 goals and 5 assists in 13 games, there was no questioning that Lindholm surpassed expectations and performed when the Canucks needed him to, providing utility in every situation that he was iced in.
The question now is if Vancouver will be able to re-sign him this offseason. That playoff performance went a long way in seeing the value that he adds to the lineup – but now, can the Canucks afford to pay Lindholm to keep him around?

Nikita Zadorov

No one did more for his image than Nikita Zadorov in this playoff run. Coming in as a big-bodied defenceman meant to help bring size and snarl deeper in the lineup, the big Russian found himself thrust into a top-4 role. As the lights got brighter and the pressure mounted, it was where Zadorov began to shine. The edge that he played with, the physicality and toughness, all were key aspects to the Canucks defence in this run.
It also helped that he found an offensive touch too. Zadorov posted 4 goals and 4 assists, potting in some big tallies for Vancouver that just seemed to stoke the momentum in their favour. And when he wasn’t finding the scoresheet, he was making his presence felt, making massive hits, getting under the skin of opposing teams and fans all with that massive grin on his face. Zadorov endeared himself to fans with this postseason, and it wasn’t without reason.
With his contract up, Zadorov becomes another Canuck that the team needs to make a decision about. Yes, his playoff run was huge and showed exactly why he is a valuable part of this group. But yet, does that number cross into the 6×6 territory?

Conor Garland

At the start of the season, Conor Garland looked like he had his bags packed with one foot out the door in Vancouver. Playing down the lineup, the diminutive winger wasn’t putting up the production he had in years past, nor was he getting the deployment that he would’ve probably liked. Garland looked like a misfit on a team that was rolling – and that was definitely an issue. But, the Canucks kept him around, and thank goodness they did.
The season went on as Garland became an integral part of the lineup. His constant buzz and hum were as reliable as a Toyota Corolla, helping spark one of the best “third lines” in the entire league for about a month or two. In the playoffs, Garland showed up big time, constantly bringing heart and hustle to each and every shift. He was a gamer, finding ways to make his presence felt, winning puck battles along the boards and generating looks whenever he was on the ice. Even when the rest of the team looked lethargic, Garland was that spark plug who just kept on going no matter what. It didn’t feel like he only had 3 goals and 2 assists in his playoff run — his impact was so much more than that.
Garland is going to be a big piece of this lineup returning next season — and hopefully, the Canucks can find other players to help support his game.

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