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WDYTT: What surprised the most about the Canucks’ opening night lineup?

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 month ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet to know why Danila Klimovich made the Vancouver Canucks’ opening day roster.
Speaking of that opening day roster, if you haven’t heard already, it was perfect. Maybe not perfect in the on-ice sense (probably not), but perfect in the sense that it perfectly aligned with the maximum amount of extra space available under the auspices of Long-Term Injury Reserve.
Now, the Canucks have since had a few days to sort out that opening day roster into one they’re more comfortable with for opening night, and that opening night has since come and gone.
But we’d still like to take a step back and check in on what you all thought about the results of Training Camp 2022.
Most will agree that this particular preseason has been full of surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant, for the Canucks.
This week, we’d like you to take a good look at that opening night roster and ask yourselves:

What surprises you most about the Canucks’ 2022/23 opening night roster?

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

Is the Canucks’ blueline actually adequate for 2022/23?

You answered below!
kanucked:
The blueline is overpaid, but if Myers and OEL play the way they did last year, they’re adequate.
defenceman factory:
There is no way the Canucks’ blueline can be considered adequate. Without strong goaltending and stellar defensive play from the forwards, the inadequacy will be revealed. The heat maps in the exhibition games have consistently shown opposition control of the front of the net. The top-four could get enough saves from Demko to put up decent numbers again this year, but if there is an injury to anyone it that group, the depth just isn’t there.
Management knows the blueline is inadequate, especially if the objective is anything beyond eking into the playoffs. I understand the difficulty in landing an upgrade to the top-four this past offseason. It would have taken significant measures. There is a serious chance management will come to regret not taking them.
Matt Pisko:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Posters will point out that the Canucks spend a relatively balanced amount on defense, relative to the league – somewhere in the neighbourhood of 32% of the ’22-’23 cap. That actually puts them in the top-ten in d-corps spending in the league. But like with many things, the ‘devil is in the details.’ Are they getting adequate value for their spending? The answer is an emphatic, ‘no!’
While the team is getting above average value for players like Hughes and Schenn, and are likely breaking even on players like Dermott and Burroughs, their primary issue is money they have tied up in players who are not playing to the value of their contracts in OEL, Myers, and Poolman.
I’m sorry, but if you are getting paid $7.25M, $6M, and $2.5M, you have to deliver more than ‘being good leader in the room,’ ‘being tall and able to absorb minutes,’ and whatever it was that the previous regime saw in a bottom-pairing fixture who didn’t even make the league until he was 24 – ‘also being a big body who can skate,’ I guess? You need to make better (faster) decisions with and without the puck, especially in your own end and especially when under any amount of pressure.
The Canucks will continue to rely on Demko/Martin playing lights out and having to outscore their defensive deficiencies. Can that net them a playoff spot? Probably. The Pacific has unknowns that make it a crapshoot from top to bottom and their PP1 has the talent to score at almost any point in a game.
Killer Marmot:
By almost every statistic, the Canucks defense was average last year; goals and shots against, high-danger goals and shots against, expected goals against, Corsi and Fenwick against, and so on.
The only place they were below-average defensively was on the penalty kill, but that improved as the season went on.
Given that the defensive roster has not changed much, and if anything is slightly improved with Dermott in the lineup for the full season, then yes, the Canucks defense is adequate.
burnabybob:
It might be adequate to get them into the playoffs, but not much beyond that.
FV Fan:
The Canucks D is adequate, but for what?
Management’s goal this year appears to be make the playoffs vs build a Cup contender.
So yes, the D is probably adequate to barely sneak into the playoffs, but it sure isn’t built for any success there.
BeerCan Boyd:
Imagine what that $12.5 million in cap space could have bought? Certainly a lot more than five more years of OEL deteriorating at an $8.25M cap hit. He looks slower this year than he did last year, and he was a turtle then. Man, Benning was a poor judge of NHL talent.
Kanuckhotep:
The consensus amongst media and the fan base alike is we truly trust OEL, QH, Myers, and Schenn out there in clutch situations. I sincerely wish I could say the same for the rest of the blueline personnel, and though the season has not started yet, I’m sure most posters on this site share this concern. Certainly I’d like to have Burroughs, Poolman, Schenn, and Rathbone prove the naysayers wrong. including a Canucks fan who has followed these guys since the mid-‘60s in the old Western League. No, I didn’t witness them build the pyramids but almost. 🙂
Rusty Bee:
Adequate for a rebuilding team.
Wholly inadequate for a self-proclaimed Cup contender (which mgt has indicated it is with the offseason signings.)
Brian Togri:
I don’t even believe Rutherford thinks this defense is adequate. The problem is not only in acquiring one or two top-four defensemen, but also in moving out one or two significantly overpaid defensemen to make room on the roster and under the cap. The cost to do even one of these things would be significant, but to do both would be crippling, especially for an organization with the limited assets the Canucks can muster. I believe this management group is very aware of what needs to happen, but as of now there is no clear path to achieving this. Very unfortunate indeed.
Neal Larter:
This blueline may be adequate for a .500 club, but even that is questionable.
Kenji:
I’m wondering if this might not be the most purely skilled D we ever had. Hughes, OEL, and Myers are dangerous in enemy territory and Rathbone seemingly can move and has a heater. But they need complementary players who can cover alertly and do all the small things in their own zone. It’s not a right vs left side problem, so much as a lack of defenders who are actually defence-minded.
Systems and pairings are going to be crucial to maximize the strengths and limit the weaknesses of our offensive D.
For discussion:
Rathbone/Hughes (Rathbone held the fort for Fox at Harvard and showed he knows how to pair with a talented rover).
OEL/Schenn (wily vets).
Burroughs/Myers (looked alright in preseason and could free Myers for rushes).
Major Moose:
No.
Bo Ho:
No, but that will not stop us from doing well.
Craig Gowan:
I think Rutherford said the defence is adequate to make the playoffs, if they stay healthy. I note that a full defence rarely stays healthy all season. In any event, this is the question of the season, in my view: i.e., is the defence adequate to make the playoffs? I think not — but I may be wrong. That’s why we watch the games, I guess.
HockeyfanMexico:
It is adequate until the trade deadline. After that, a massive no! If we are on track to miss the playoffs, then it continues to be adequate.
arthur kidd:
I think the Canucks’ d-corp is over-maligned. If we’re just playing capology, then you could knock a mil or two off here or there, and a year or two of a contract, too. But if we’re talking guys on the ice, then I think the Canucks might not be too bad off. OEL is a good player, and Myers last year was, too. Schenn is solid, and there’s decent bottom-pairing potential in guys like the physical Burroughs or Dermott, or even this Wolanin fellow who’s emerged out of thin air somehow. But most of all there is the hockey god that is Quinn Hughes. I expect great things from him this year, playing big minutes in all key situations, and I’m pretty sure the takeaway won’t be how the defence is a weakness.
But if the guy in the trenchcoat is selling some veteran depth, or perhaps even a top-pairing right hander ‘for special customers,’ then it would be rude to turn away without at least inspecting the goods. And, of course, you’re watching that waiver wire like a hawk.

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