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WDYTT: Who is your Canucks’ half-season MVP (and runner-up)?
1 month ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that’s half-written by its own readers.
Speaking of half, by the time you read these words, the Vancouver Canucks will have officially reached the halfway point of the 2023/24 season. Tuesday’s game against Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders marked #41 on the schedule, and that’s just 41 more to go until the playoffs.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first take a look back. Really, this column is all about reflecting, and the midway mark of a season is about as good a time for a reflection as one is likely to find.
There’s been plenty to celebrate for the Canucks thus far. They entered Game 41 with the lead in the Pacific Division and with three different players in the league’s top-ten scorers. But only one player can skate home with the Cyclone Taylor Award for team MVP at the end of the year, and it’s time for us to determine who is currently in the lead.
We’re choosing to word this question the way we are because nobody wants to read a column in which all of the responses are identical, and we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Quinn Hughes is going to take the bulk of the MVP votes. With that in mind, we’re soliciting both your vote for half-season MVP and your runner-up, because if there’s not enough debate for first place, there definitely should be for second.
We just told you, but we’ll say it again. This week, we’re asking:
Who is your half-season Canucks MVP? And who is your runner-up?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Where do you predict the Canucks will finish in the standings at the end of the 2023/24 regular season?
You answered below!
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
I predict, with little confidence, the Canucks will win the Pacific division. It really doesn’t matter much how that translates into their finish in the conference or league. They will be at least 8 points back of the President’s Trophy.
To make this unjustifiably optimistic prediction a reality a few things need to happen. Kuzmenko gets better. Tocchet doesn’t go back to overusing his top players. They were completely baked by the time the holiday break occurred. Key injuries are avoided. Canucks acquire a top-six winger who plays a hard game. Miller, Cole, Zadorov, and Joshua play a hard game. Canucks need another in the top-six.
The Oilers need to stay hot, but not too hot. They need to beat LV and LA. The age of LV catches up to them, injuries result and they once again stash key players on LTIR to afford an ineffective rental.
LA has started to put up losses, including being shut out by the Leafs last night. They now need to win all three games in hand just to tie the Canucks. Tocchet figures out how LA is being beat and the Canucks get at least five points from the four games against the Kings.
I would put the Canucks second in their division, finishing behind Vegas but ahead of the Kings and the Oilers.
Also 4th in the conference with Vegas, Colorado, and Winnipeg edging them out.
All in all, I think the current pace will slow a bit in the second half, but much like the game against Ottawa last night, they built enough of an early lead to sustain them in the top half of the conference for the rest of the way.
I have never felt so good by this point in a Canucks season and I have seen them all. Might as well go all in. This team will win the Pacific.
I predict that the Canucks will win the Pacific while putting in a bit too much effort to do so, which may not necessarily translate into playoff success. They are already giving Demko too many starts, which is unnecessary for a team in their current position.
Demko’s SV% has dropped to 0.917 (which is identical to DeSmith), so they need to get him fresh and back to his early season Vezina form by playoff time and not wear him out or risk injuring him.
The ol’ second kick at the can, eh? I think my first kick wasn’t too far off. I had the Canucks finishing 3rd in the pacific, Hughes scoring 20 goals, no cCnuck scoring 100 points, and Demko and DeSmith winning the Jennings.
I’ll probably stick with that. Yeah, the Canucks might get second in the Pacific or even first, but a lot has gone right for the Canucks. I’m just going to assume there will be a bit more adversity in the second half.
I’m looking ahead to playoff matchups, and it doesn’t take a genie and a crystal ball to see the Vegas Golden Knights in the Canucks’ playoff future. That’s going to be a tough matchup. No team has owned the Canucks like Vegas. But rather than cower from that potential matchup, I’m going to embrace it as the sporting event of the year. It should be a thrill.
Most importantly, it sure is just nice to have Canuck fans become fans again. It was a tough slog for a few years there. Being on #teamtank #teampoolflip or #teamtotalrebuild is not a very fun way to enjoy sports.
I had the Canucks as a wildcard team this season in September. I thought of all the teams they would be competing with — Seattle, Calgary, Minnesota, St Louis, Nashville, and Winnipeg — they were the most improved. I did not expect Edmonton to be so bad, nor Arizona so good. That being said, now at the mid-point of the season, I see them finishing 3rd at worst and 2nd at best and facing Vegas in the first round, which could be a great series.
Obviously finishing first would be their best option to face a wildcard team, but I don’t see that as likely unless a few tweaking trades are made. RHD still needs an upgrade and depth, but I’m optimistic about the forward group and depth they have there.
If they can find more games off for Demko to keep him fresher for the playoffs, my guess is Vegas will be very worried about the return of bubble Demko. I’m looking forward to seeing them play LA this season as that will show for sure if they are contenders or pretenders. Win the season series with LA and they could steal 1st place.
I had them 3rd in the division and I think I will upgrade that to 2nd. This team hasn’t given me much reason to doubt them. Are they world-beaters? Unlikely, but with the cushion they’ve built and a propensity to avoid losing streaks, they should finish in the league’s top 10. I’m not sold on their pedigree as a contender, but if they keep improving their team game and Demko gets hot, we could be in for a surprise. It’s actually a shame that their first round matchup is likely to be as tough as any typical 2nd round matchup. The Pacific is no longer a soft division when you look at the top four, as I expect the Oilers to be kicking around as well.
I predict that the Canucks will be second in the division behind the LA Kings. What better way to test where this team really is by taking on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights with home advantage? Similarly to the bubble, a win over the Cup champs would give a just boost in confidence. Vancouver fans are happy we’ll have playoff at the Rog again and home advantage will truly be an advantage.
A few of us CanucksArmy types went on the record back in October. I had the Canucks finishing in the first wildcard position in the Western Conference, and I’d like to formally retract that prediction…though I think I nailed my bolder prediction of Arizona finishing third in the Central.
I’ll replace my prediction with one of the Canucks finishing second in the Pacific. I’m all in on the development of a serious Vancouver versus Los Angeles rivalry, and I think it starts this year with five games down the stretch followed by a first round matchup.
While we’re on the subject, here’s a few other things I was wrong about:
-The Filip Hronek trade.
-The 2021/22 season being JT Miller’s peak.
-Conor Garland, in general (but the same could be said of every.
At least I had it right on Brock Boeser!
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