WDYTT: Favourite memories of the Canucks’ three upcoming Hall of Fame inductees
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet to have its acronym retired leaguewide.
Speaking of honouring retirees, the Vancouver Canucks will have not one, not two, but THREE of their former prominent players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this season. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Roberto Luongo are all going in as first-ballot inductees, and their faces are already plastered on the front of the historic HHOF building in Toronto.
The Sedins will go down as the greatest brother act in the history of hockey, and as perhaps the two greatest Canucks of all-time, no matter how one marks that distinction.
Luongo, on the other hand, had a much shorter run with the team, but still got them closer to hockey’s ultimate glory than any other goaltender to ever tend the Vancouver crease — along with providing some of the juiciest soundbites in franchise history.
We would hazard a guess that there’s not a single person reading this column who doesn’t have at least one strong, positive memory of each of these players. Most of you probably have several.
But today, we want you to narrow it down, and we’re asking:
What are your favourite memories of new HHOFers Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Roberto Luongo?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Who is your dark horse pick to crack the Canucks’ roster in 2022–23?
You answered below!
Dakota Joshua could be an interesting bet for the 4th with his physicality, and Nils Aman with his size and speed, though he’s probably a better fit in the AHL for the time being.
Noah Juulsen is the only guy that could possibly surprise and grab the 3rd pair RD.
Juulsen for me, as well.
Linus Karlsson. Even though lacking foot-speed, he demonstrates a superior defensive awareness and ability to win faceoffs during the main camp. That, combined with point production in preseason games from his ability to distribute the puck, then gives the Canucks another viable right handed centre option for the 3rd or 4th lines, allowing the top two lines to be stacked with offensive threats. A safe player wins the race to play some NHL games as a rookie.
Phillip Di Giuseppe will start in Abbotsford or as a 13th forward, but soon find a regular place on the 4th line as injuries take their toll. He will proceed to look like he belongs there, and even play some in the middle-six.
He can score, he can skate, and he can play defense. And he’s got far more NHL experience than the other forward call-ups. His only major weakness is that he’s never killed penalties, which is likely why the phone never rang last season.
It has to be Juulsen or Keeper, since we won’t consider Rathbone a dark horse. Defense is where we need help, and the forward group is stacked with roadblocks for anything but a lights-out training camp performance. Poolman is no guarantee to even be healthy, so that right side should be primed for the 7th defenseman role to be available to whomever can grab it.
Pressbox in the NHL is still better than the AHL, and I predict some injuries this year. We had a light year last year, and that doesn’t happen often. It’s actually likely that the health of this roster determines our playoff chances as much as the play of Demko. We’re too thin to survive many losses on the blueline in particular. It would be wise to promote at least one of these two as opposed to carrying an extra forward.
I am not sure there are any dark horses because the roster seems to me to be set at 13 forwards and eight D-men. I am including Höglander and Joshua in the 13 forwards, because Joshua was signed by management to bring size and toughness to the NHL forward group which has none without him, and Hoglander has NHL skill and speed. The other 11 are obvious NHL starters: Horvat, Miller, Pettersson, Boeser, Mikheyev, Kuzmenko, Podkolzin, Garland, Lazar, Dickinson, and Pearson.
I do think there’s a good chance Höglander is sent down to Abby, given he can be sent down without waivers, he has defensive shortcomings, and he’s unsuitable for 4th line work. In that case, I regard Lockwood and Di Giuseppe as “dark horses” to make the team.
Nils Aman seems to skate well enough for the NHL. I view him as a very dark horse.
Management has made clear they want to give Rathbone a chance to make the team so I see the “Top-8” as Hughes, OEL, Myers, Schenn, Dermott, Poolman, Burroughs, and Rathbone. I can see the Canucks going seven D and sending Rathbone down if he’s not good at camp and preseason, in which case an extra forward will make the team, or they may go with eight D and select one of “dark horses” Wolanin and Kalynuk to make the team. I have no idea how good Keeper is or isn’t, but he may be another “dark horse” for 8th D-man.
Jett Woo. He is RHD, physical, stay-at-home type, exactly what Canucks need. They will give him surprising chance and he will catch it and become the new Kevin Bieksa.
Dark horse is someone who isn’t set on the roster, but comes unexpectedly to claim it. Well it’s possible that’s whoever the Canucks get back in a trade. Or is it the waiver wire guy? Obviously, the known candidates are AHL call ups for 3rd pairing D and 4th line. But of the prospects, the top one is Rathbone. Can he be considered a dark horse, being known and expected to make it? Karlsson needs to be acclimated. So maybe it’s Klimovich’s grit who surprises, ‘cause he learned enough to knock out Hogs.
Underestimated and forgotten Michael DiPietro wins the backup job with outstanding performances in the preseason while the other goalies stumble.
Woo wins a spot on the 4th line as a defensive forward.
Collin Delia. Its Spencer Martin’s job to lose, but if he stumbles in camp, people will wonder if last year’s NHL showing was simply a couple of hot streaks.
Initially, I really like Bains as a dark horse candidate to surprise, but a quick glance at our LW depth chart says that a lot has to go wrong in order for him to get a NHL shot this year. Correspondingly, our D depth is woefully thin. So, realistically, my candidate would be for newly signed Filip Johansson to have a cup of tea with the main club at some point in the 2022/23 season. Hopefully, his smart two-way game will translate quickly to the smaller ice surface to provide the youth and size (6’1 187lbs) we need in the RHD position.
Whoever they sign to a PTO.
Linus Karlsson wins the 4th line right wing spot.
In a surprise dark horse announcement, the Sedins come out of retirement and become the center and left wing alongside Karlsson. The Sedins see time on the 2nd unit PP.
OK, my dark horse candidates:
Goalie: Collin Delia overtakes Spencer Martin as the backup to Thatcher Demko after Ian Clark helps fine-tune his game and Delia has a great camp and preseason. His play and NHL experience puts him over Spencer Martin as the backup.
Defense: Brady Keeper is able to join the Canucks as their 8th defenseman when the season starts, with Rathbone sent back to Abbotsford for some more game seasoning. Keeper’s mobility and physicality are noticeable in camp and in pre-season where he takes out a few opposing players taking cheap shots on Petey and Hughes.
Forward: Phil Di Giuseppe kicks out Dakota Joshua for the 4th line forward spot. Di Giuseppe’s NHL experience, his speed, and his ability to score more consistently than Joshua forces Joshua back to the AHL…despite Allvin’s public comments that Johnson is an NHL player.
P.S.: I’m angry.
Without anyone getting moved, I think Nils Aman could be a potential dark horse to make this roster. I believe he either makes the big club or goes back to Sweden, so that might be some added incentive to keep him on the roster. His size and style of play are a nice fit for the bottom-six, and he fits the profile this management seems to value. Aman would need a very good camp to make this happen, but it’s a possibility.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Sheldon Dries. He had a breakout year in Abbotsford and looked competent in limited duty during his NHL call-up. He would fit into a middle-six scoring slot (if top-nine injuries or trades give him the opportunity). Boeser-lite.
Noah Juulsen. RD with size and mobility, and at the right age to take a step forward. Exactly what the club is looking for. If not held back by injuries, he would probably already be a regular NHLer.
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