WDYTS: What will be your single-most memorable Canucks moment of the 2023/24 season?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
12 days ago
Welcome back to WDYTS, the only hockey column on the internet with you right to the bitter end.
Speaking of bitter ends, the 2023/24 is officially over, and it’s actually hard to feel all that bitter about it as a follower of the Vancouver Canucks.
Sure, that second round Game 7 loss still stings, but in dropping their own Game 7 at much higher stakes, the Edmonton Oilers did a fine job of lessening the burn. The Florida Panthers and Roberto Luongo are Stanley Cup Champions, and the 2024 offseason can now begin in earnest.
But before we switch gears entirely to the offseason, it makes sense to take a moment to look back.
As wild as it is to say, the 2023/24 NHL season lasted from early October 2023 until late June 2024. That’s nearly a full nine months of hockey action – and the Canucks were active for eight of them.
Most would agree that this ended up being a far better season than was expected. Plenty of highs, a few notable lows, and lots of excitement and intrigue in between. In all honestly, it’s a lot to boil down to one singular moment.
But we know that you’re capable of a lot.
So, this week, we’re asking:

What will be your single-most memorable moment of the 2023/24 season?

Let it be known in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

Do you believe that the Canucks can actually improve upon 2023/24 in the season to come? If so, or if not, why?

You answered below!
I predict the Canucks will miss the playoffs next year.
Leo Union:
There is a chance they return to the playoffs, but like this past season, the Tocstar’s chips have to land. As we know he is a betting man and has shown he and his team of coaches brought in a system that provided a winning table this year. They had career years from Boeser, Hughes, Hronek, Joshua, Miller, and a few more players. The pathway to the playoffs will again depend on the core delivering and passengers playing at their best. PP and PK need to evolve as does Demko and his aging body. If they falter in special teams and defensive play, they will be battling Calgary for a bottom-12 position and a bold prediction of Tocstar being released as the border-game linchpin.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
My head says no – but then my head said they likely wouldn’t make the playoffs this year.
The cons against improving are obvious: they may not get the performances from guys like Hughes, Boeser, and Miller they got this year, and they’re going to lose a few good guys.
The pros for improving are that they seem to have established a good culture that they can build on, Canucks management has shown they can find value cheaply, and their biggest star, Pettersson, has room to improve – especially if he gets a suitable winger.
My fear on the last part is whether that winger will cost a primary prospect. The team really can’t spare that.
I wonder which Canucks team shows up, pre-All Star Break or post-All Star Break? It all comes down to whether or not the top players can put together whole season of great hockey and effort. Also noteworthy, this team was all in all pretty healthy last year, that is unlikely to occur again.
So to answer the question, I think they will be a playoff team, but will not win the division. That’s not a bad thing though, I’d rather them try to keep players healthy down the stretch as opposed to over working them to win a division title that is irrelevant in the grander scheme of things.
Hockey Bunker:
Yes, they can improve, though it may not be apparent in the standings – just the playoffs.
Goaltending is set.
Once Myers is signed. five of the D is set (including Juulsen at #5/6.)
Forward lines just need a little tweaking and ready to rumble…that is the job of management.
No reason to believe any of these players has peaked yet.
The key to an even better playoff is if the team can keep $5 million in cap space heading into season, reserved for key playoff run pickups.
King Richard:
In 1993 the Canucks won the Smythe Division, then beat Winnipeg in Round 1 (in six games) before bowing out to Gretzky and the Kings in Round 2. In the aftermath, Pat Quinn commented that next year the team might not be as good in the regular season, but would be better in the playoffs. We all know what happened in the 1994 playoffs.
That would be my hope for the coming season – that the FO can build a team better structured to win in the playoffs. But really, this question is premature. How can anyone assess the prospects of a team when so many gaps need to be filled? None of us have any idea how Allvin and Rutherford are planning to replace those free agents they can’t afford to sign for next season. At this point any pronouncements are just a bunch of hot air.
Improving on the regular season means first in the West, which might be a little too tall a task. Improving in the playoffs, I think, is possible. With good health, making it to the Conference Finals and beyond is very reasonable.
Canucks should finish second in Division to Oilers…That may not be an improvement, but winning two playoff rounds will be!!
larry caplan:
Tough to improve on last year. Hate to say it, but too much reliance on Hughes has to be discussed. He just looked worn out and possibly hurt as the season went to its end. Preds made him a target and he played the role to perfection. Its win or lose with Hughes, and if anything happens to him, the team is just average.
bruce donice:
Yes, the Canucks can improve on last season if they can improve both the PP and PK. The improvement will come from changes to the lineup, such as signing players like Roy, Forbort, and Heinen for the PK, and Guentzel for the PP. They may not sign any of the players I listed, but those they do bring in will be to improve special teams.
defenceman factory:
Yes, the Canucks can absolutely be a better team next season than they were in ‘23/24.
I hope the success next season looks different than the successes of last season. Rather than a strong start, fading down the stretch, and making a bit of noise in the playoffs, they need to improve as the season progresses and be peaking in the playoffs. A better team doesn’t mean 109 points and winning the Pacific Division, but it does mean at least 100 points, a top-three finish in the division, and most importantly a more balanced roster and more consistent top-six forward group.
Improvement starts with Pettersson playing to the level he has shown in the past. Next, you need to upgrade two top-six winger positions with better, bigger players. Sounds daunting, but it’s not. Mikheyev was terrible, Suter and Höglander were adequate but small. The third line won’t produce as much as last season, but shouldn’t need to. They do need to chip in a few goals and be good defensively. The fourth line needs to produce more than last season and have an improved goal differential. The reconstructed D-corps might not be as big, but will be just as sound defensively, improve somewhat on controlled zone exits, and have a little more balanced TOI. Improvement on special teams is essential.
Everything we’ve heard from management and coaching indicates they understand where the improvements come from and they have earned some confidence they can get it done.
Super Pest:
Oh, why? Uhh… too much turnover. The youth isn’t ready for a couple of years to give that boost that Dallas and other teams have benefited from. So. Where are we? Trying to reinvent the lightning caught in a bottle that was this past year. Finding replacements that may or may not replicate the same results, and “in-house” reinforcements are simply not there: Karlsson, Bains, McWard, et al are not giving me the confidence that they’re about to break out. Tread water? Break even? That would be a success for “in house” improvements, and that does not equal improvement; that equals regression. Playoffs? Absolutely. Division title? Dreaming. Playoff run? Not a chance because the depth isn’t there and losing horses like DJ, Z, and Cole will hurt.
Jon Anderson:
Simple as that.
Nanaimo Bars:
Improve?? Not likely…
Just about every player hit career highs. (Except Petey). That ain’t happening in consecutive years.
I’ll settle for 3rd in the Pacific and another hard-fought two rounds.
Craig Gowan:
I don’t want to appear to be a cop-out, but my answer is “It depends on who is retained (i.e. re-signed) and what new players are acquired this summer.” It seems to me the team’s good health (except for Demko), Miller’s 100+ points, Boeser’s 40 goals, and Hughes’ 92 points may not be repeated, but that doesn’t mean the Canucks won’t be a better TEAM and better playoff competitor, whether or not they win the Pacific Division or get 109 points again next year. I think the Canucks need at least one effective top-six winger and another top-four RHD. Guentzel and Roy would be fantastic signings in free agency, if affordable. I will very interested to see how Rutherford/Allvin fare this summer.
I feel they will take a step back due to contract extensions. Edmonton won’t be having the cold start they had this past season. To make the playoffs, they will have to move another contract.
Richard Hickey:
The Canucks had ‘everything go their way’ last year. Minimal injuries to core players, a super hot start (PDO), and excellent value from many players: Hughes, Miller, Hronek, Pettersson, Joshua, Suter, Blueger, and Höglander. All performed above their cap hit. I simply can’t see us having the same talent on paper, nor performance per $.
However, if we can improve both the PP and PK to a combined % of 105%, that alone could make up for regression at 5-on-5. We need someone other than Hronek, Garland, Lindholm, or Suter taking up that fifth spot the PP and a few new looks in the formation. That is doable with the right signing. I have no idea why we have such a mediocre PK, but special teams is where the key to future success lies for our team. We can definitely tread water at evens.
We won a lot of games in regulation last year. I suspect a bunch more games go to extra time, and if the results go in our favor, that could go a long way also.
I think yes, absolutely. It depends on what your personal definition of “improve” is. I don’t think they will win the division, but will come in second. Oilers will lose in Edmonton tomorrow night and play right from jump with a chip and win. Will we win more in the playoffs? That for me is improved. With a top-six winger added, we will have locked in 2/3s of a Miller line, 2/3rds of a Petty Line, and 2/3s of a third line (Suter as the center). Plug in low cost additions and you have a dynamic three-line team. With top pairing or 1/2 of a top-four defense locked up, and the FO working hard, I don’t see why we can not structure the remaining slots with hard-nosed, tough to play against journeymen. Build for the playoffs, but we still have to get there.
Unlikely to improve, there’s bound to be some regular season regression. They had so many players have career years last season, so to expect improvement is a fool’s errand. That being said, the regression shouldn’t be so much as to become a wildcard team or worse. I think they’ll be in the playoff picture most, if not all, of the season. The TDL will likely play a heavy hand on how they do in the playoffs, but a second round exit could be repeated. This is still a premature article as every team still have moves to be made come FA Frenzy and tinkering will go on most of the summer. As long as they can plug the departures with serviceable parts and their top players play like their top players, they should be in the low 90s, point-wise.
Quinns Quest:
The success of next season measurement has been set by management. Two playoff rounds is not good enough. Now, how to better that is a combination of health and player training to be ready to play the system and buy-in to coaching. The players all did better last season because of that. The ones brought in to fill the roles vacated by others will meet the objectives by also following the coaching. It’s a symbiosis of management identifying talent and getting them into the cap structure, while coaching moulds the pieces to work the system.
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