WDYTT: Which Canucks will keep up their early-season pace (and which will not)?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
8 months ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet successfully keeping up with the times.
Speaking of pace, several members of the Vancouver Canucks are off to an impressive one when it comes to compiling hockey statistics on the young 2023/24 season.
As of this writing, four different Canucks are rocking a point-per-game average or better, and both of Andrei Kuzmenko and Nils Höglander are just a single point away from the distinction.
So far, so good. But will it last?
Inevitably, the answer is ‘no.’ Some players will maintain their red-hot pace, others will fall off as the season progresses. Still others will rise from the bottom-end of the stats columns after their cold starts even out.
The point is that some players will keep up their early-season pace, and some will not, and that’s such an obvious truth as to barely be worth mentioning, except for the purposes of setting up this week’s question.
Which, of course, we are.
This week, we’re asking you:

Which Vancouver Canucks will keep up their early-season pace (good or bad), and which will not?

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

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

You answered below!
Hockey Bunker:
Biggest difference so far is goaltending. The rest of the warts remain the same.
Need more trades, the equivalent of hockey Compound W.
Zero difference. Game three was the same team I’ve seen the last three years.
You can’t add eight new players, bring in a new coach who is completely restructuring the way the team plays, and expect to see immediate results.
This season will be about getting everyone aligned and changing their style.
defenceman factory:
Last year the coaches were short of NHL calibre players, particularly on D. This year the supply of NHL calibre players is better and it is the coach choosing to not deploy them effectively.
The first game really looked like things were different. Even in the second game, the team worked hard, everyone collapsed back to defend, they made more mistakes, and needed their goalie to steal the win against a clearly better team.
The Philly game, things returned to the start of last year. Myers plays horribly and takes dumb penalties. Juulsen demonstrates why he was well behind Burroughs for third pair minutes. Tocchet is back trying to beat the goals out of Kuz and takes no responsibility for having his team ready. Boeser is floating around ineffectively. The fourth liners playing in the top-nine look out of place. The forwards give the D no support, outlets, zone clears or help down low.
Biggest difference is the penalty kill. It actually seems effective so far.
I think there are two key differences I’ve seen so far.
The first and most obvious is Demko coming out to a hot start. Even in the loss, Demko has posted phenomenal numbers (40 saves, .952%) that I would expect to be unsustainable throughout the season. Last season he had a very rough start (.847% after 3 games), but this season he has looked like the Demko that won our starter job.
The second and more debatable difference I’ve seen is our ability to close out games. Last season, no lead was safe and we thoroughly soiled the sheets repeatedly to start out the season. This year, we took an early lead at home and kept that killer instinct and piled it on to win 8-1, compared to the multi-goal lead we choked against them last year. The second game was not nearly as decisive, it was back and forth with multiple lead changes, but we managed to close out an ugly game. The Philly game we weren’t able to close out because we never showed up. This is a problem but comparing it to last season, where we would choke when we started well and capitulate when we started poorly. I’m glad that in this season we have been able to at least close games we wouldn’t have last year.
A better back-up goaltender.
The internet has spoken.
Quinns Quest:
The league has changed with expansion and the lottery draft, so the Canucks will never ever make the playoffs again. Stuck in the mushy middle of failure and with an owner selling false hope to fools for season ticket sales.
Did I get all the false narratives right? Lol.
Anyway, Canucks can do well if they bring it on a consistent basis but are really two D away and a top-six from contending.
It’s early, so I am going to go way way out on a limb and say The Scoreboard! Just when you think GM Pl… I mean Rogers Arena is heading into the third period down a couple of goals, you get a massive pushback with no quit, singing from the same song-sheet, and giving 110%. The solid offseason acquisition of the new scoreboard does it for me!
The biggest difference is how Coach Tocchet’s vaunted defensive structure has really cut down on shots against.
Wait… what? Oh never mind…
Well after four games, three of which they weren’t ever really in, I’m not seeing any tangible difference. Still getting overrun and outshot, still bleeding power play goals, PP still not really producing, very little secondary scoring. Still the same story. Regardless of the changes made, all to the positive, there still is no real change on the ice.
Only differences so far is the Canucks caught an Oilers team with the worst goaltending in back-to-back games they will probably see all year, and that Demko and DeSmith both have looked good in net. Plus I think the Canucks’ bottom-six forwards will be better this year than last, with the changes in the offseason which has helped the PK look stronger to start the year.
Tocchet’s message is a big difference from Boudreau at the start of last season and now we get to see if the Canucks respond.
bruce donice:
Nothing different winning big games and stinking the joint out in winnable games.
52 years on…..and on…
There seems to be a lot of difference, but is it really meaningful?
Demko is healthy (for now) and his backup is a better quality.
Two better bottom-of-the-roster D added (Cole and Soucy), but they are still playing too high in the lineup.
One very ineffective contract moved out, but many still remain.
Overall lineup is too small and too soft to truly compete when it matters.
Without a doubt, the roster has improved by tiny (very tiny) increments. The real question is at what cost, and has it actually been worth it? This may or may not be a playoff team, but it’s still not a good team.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
The biggest differences this year would be less drama with the team, a new captain with a new leadership style, a healthy Demko, and some reasonably-priced depth additions to the lineup. We obviously still have holes on D (RHD in particular), but if the players we have can play up a level, then we may have an outside shot at some playoff hockey.
Biggest difference is that the entire organization is on the same page. Ownership, management, coaches, and the core players are vying for the playoffs.
Seems like this question was written/decided before the Philly Game?
(Author’s note: “Good eye!)
Because after that game, and having two games in a row getting outshot and outchanced(HD), the only thing truly different seems to be goaltending. Demko’s play has been phenomenal in his two games and DeSmith looked pretty solid.
BeerCan Boyd:
Biggest difference is one less year of Myers.
There is so much the same that it is difficult to determine what is different. Pretty much the only certainty seems to be that Demko is off to a great start and seems healthy.
Other than that, I’m not planning a parade after three games.

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