WDYTT: The biggest difference between last year’s Canucks and the 2023/24 edition

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
6 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that doesn’t just walk it, but can also talk it.
Speaking of Tocchet, head coach Rick has the Vancouver Canucks looking pretty darn good pretty darn early in the 2023/24 season. Turns out that a cumulative 12-4 thumping of the team that has the “two best players in the world” will do wonders for a team’s confidence.
And the confidence of that team’s fanbase. The CanucksArmy has rarely been so cautiously optimistic to start a campaign, and though the times probably won’t always be quite this good, there’s a general buzz going around that the good times might just last.
You can feel it in the air. There’s something different about this team. Something that wasn’t there last year, and certainly not in year’s past.
But what is it? What’s changed? Feeling it is one thing, but articulating it can be a whole different challenge.
Thankfully, we’ve got some of the most eloquent commenters on the world wide web at hand, and they’re definitely up to the task.
This week, we’re asking you to put into words:

What is the biggest difference between last year’s Canucks and the 2023/24 edition?

(So far, anyway.)
Let it be known in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

Where will the Canucks finish in the 2023/24 standings?

You answered below!
Killer Marmot:
The Canucks will be 5th in the Pacific Division, but squeak into a wild-card position due to a weak Central Division.
You’ve put me in a bad spot to fail again, Stephan, but others are participating, so I decided to suck it up. Now that the team has won Game 1, it is time for me to swing 180 degrees and predict playoffs. Until the first loss that is, after that all bets are off. In other words, you caught me at a time of weakness, but with that in mind, here is today’s prediction (with one condition attached so that I don’t look so stupid when it doesn’t pan out):
I like Canucks a lot better with the Sam Lafferty acquisition. Coach’s first full year, Canucks to a man play in fear of being windmilled by coach Tocchet’s cyclic knuckles of doom, have a dream season, get 2nd in the Pacific Division behind the Las Vegas Golden Helmets (if and only if Tankers hard-man D Mattias Ekholm’s right leg falls off), and win coach of the year for Rick Tocchet.
If we stay healthy, looking good to get into the playoffs. Have we ever stayed healthy?
The Nucks will end up with an 88 point season, 6th place in the Pacific, and 22nd in the League.
Hockey Bunker:
Making the playoffs is a huge task that will require 20% improved goals against, about 3/4 of a goal per game…
…while maintaining their scoring.
It will take complete commitment every game to achieve that which will earn them a wild card spot.
My brain says it cannot be done with this roster, but my heart says yes if Demko plays at a Vezina calibre and is not hurt at any time.
This caveat is why my brain says won’t happen.
I’m going with the brain, not the heart.
Miss the playoffs again.
I hate my brain.
defenceman factory:
101 points, 3rd in the Pacific, Pettersson signs a contract worth $88 million in January, Miller pulls off McDavid’s helmet and Demko pukes in it.
Canucks trade the 2024 1st rd pick for a decent top-4 RHD at the deadline and the Canucks, with full on bubble Demko, take VGK to seven games in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Tocchet wins the Jack Adams.
I go fourth in the Pacific and grabbing a wild card spot.
Oilers, Golden Knights, and Kings finish ahead.
Flames fall behind the Canucks, because they are not the team some seem to like to make them out to be. As well as the Kraken, who fall back to earth after last year’s dream season.
3rd in the pacific, 5th in western conference.
Well done, Roget!
After a blow out first game drop this doozy! If Demko stays healthy, the team makes the playoffs. If he is an All-Star with an improved PK, the Canucks have a chance to be 2nd in the Pacific.
AHL goaltending and almost historically bad PK sunk the Canucks last year. They almost made a run at the end.
If Allvin sticks with this roster, I expect to see us at best 6th in the Pacific.
If he can somehow pull off a miracle trade and bring Hughes a legit partner, 5th is a possibility and we can play some meaningful games late in the season.
If he can bring in Hughes’ and Hronek’s partners, then maybe a wildcard spot is a possibility this season, however, things visibly trending up for the first time in years.
This year is highly dependent on health. If the Canucks stay healthy, I think they can make the playoffs as the 6th seed out of the West. The big problem with this roster is if any of Pettersson, Hughes, Demko, Miller, or Hronek get hurt for anything more than a couple of games, I think the Canucks drop off a lot. The bottom-six depth is better this season, but high-end skill after the top guys is basically nonexistent.
FV Fan:
I think Canucks are better than the Flames and will sneak in the wildcard at their expense.
But please, no trading anymore picks along the way or at the deadline to make it.
4th in Pacific, sneak into the playdowns, lose first round in six.
For this week, I will say they will get the first (second to last) wild card spot, finishing 4th in the Pacific but ahead of 4th place in the Central. If it was old school rules, I would just say 7th in the conference and they are in, baby!
Canucks win the west with 117 points, they go through Chicago, Nashville, and San Jose en route to meeting Boston in the Finals where they jump to a 2-0 series lead before… wait, sorry, wrong year.
3rd in the Pacific as the rest of the division sucks more than anticipated. It’s there for the taking if they can bear down, every team aside from Vegas has some deficiencies that could bite them, and I’m still allowing for Edmonton to outpace them as well.
Canucks will finish in the mediocre middle and will either trade a premium pick for a rental or be drafting in the teens.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
They get a wild card spot with 98 points, meet the Oilers, sweep them with scores of 8-1, 8-1, 8-1, and 8-1.

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