Frank Seravalli breaks down how the Canucks can become ‘real’ contenders: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
6 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, Irfaan Gaffar and Harman Dayal were joined by NHL Insider Frank Seravalli to discuss what the Canucks should do to increase not only their chances for the Cup, but their recognition around the league.
Frank first responded to Irf’s question about what the Canucks are doing this year that has led to such success compared to years past:
“We all knew the individual star talent was there. To me, it’s the cohesion of the rest of the team and the structure they play with that’s been more impressive. Just because you get a new coach in there doesn’t mean you can snap your fingers, and everything comes together. Look at the Ottawa Senators. It’s only been a short period since they fired D.J. Smith, but Jacques Martin is having no success. And that was the stamp that existed on this Canucks team for the last couple of years; a group that doesn’t have its act together, maybe doesn’t have the maturity to get its act together, and it takes a recognition on the part of the players to want to buy in… They’ve assembled an All-Star coaching staff, and it’s incredibly important that they’ve gotten everyone on board at the same time.”
Harm then asked Jeff if league execs have the Canucks in the top tier for contenders after their most recent sweep of the New York teams.
“I don’t have them in that category yet,” Frank replied. “The state of the Western Conference, it’s a meat grinder. You’re talking about seven authentic teams that have a chance to come through and represent the West in the Cup final. I’ve been one of the people saying the Canucks are good, but I still think they’re a piece or two away from really being in that inner circle of five to seven teams that can win it all. Some people might say part of the reason for that isn’t necessarily who they go out and acquire; part of it is that they haven’t gone through the battles, the trials and tribulations of being down in a series, being on the ropes, having your season on the line, the pressure of putting it all together when it matters most. I think there’s an element of learning how to win that matters, some would say you need to look at the Blackhawks in 2009 and their run to the West Final that was maybe ahead of schedule- 2010 they come back and win the Cup. I tend to agree with that line of thinking- I don’t think it’s impossible but I do think there’s a couple of holes this team needs to fill.”
Irf: “If you’re Patrik Allvin or Jim Rutherford, where do you assess your biggest holes you need to fill?”
“Some of the injuries this year have highlighted this. I think they’re one true defender away, and up front, you’re looking at a piece for your forward group that can be more of an elevator player. If needed, they can play in the top 6, and if not, have a clear defined role in the bottom six. Kuzmenko is a great example of this- his offensive ability is unquestioned, but when he’s not scoring and since he’s been continually violating Rick Tocchet’s “non-negotiables,” what is he doing for you? Get me someone at the trade deadline that you can point to and say, “I know exactly what that guy is doing to help this team win.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:

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