Why the Dallas Stars may be the Canucks’ blueprint to becoming a contender: Canucks Conversation

David Quadrelli
5 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, Harman Dayal and I kicked off a new era of Canucks Conversation.
We broke down the Canucks’ 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars, Quinn Hughes’ play of late, Thatcher Demko’s — and Jake Oettinger’s — dominance, and much more!
One key thing we broke down today was when Harman talked about how the Stars’ roster construction is a good template for the Canucks to examine as they look to take a step toward becoming cup contenders.
“With Dallas coming into town, I was thinking about Dallas’ evolution as a team. If you look at the end of the 2021-22 season, Dallas was kind of this fringe playoff team that nobody was talking about as a cup contender. They’ve really levelled up and taken that next step where everybody now looks at them as one of the best teams in the Western Conference… As a starting point, and as a template for the Canucks’ situation, I think there are some similarities in terms of roster composition and even cap situation.
“You look at the Stars two years ago, they had an elite defenceman to build around in Miro Heiskanen, but the rest of the blue line was lacklustre and kind of still is. One of the best first lines in the NHL with Hintz, Robertson, Pavelski, but they were sort of a one line offensive team, just didn’t really have enough difference makers beyond that; a stud young goaltender in Oettinger; and the key here is that you didn’t love their cap situation because they had Tyler Seguin as their highest-paid forward at nearly $10 million, and Jamie Benn at nine and a half.
“You had a couple of cap obstacles to work around, and I remember looking at the Stars and thinking ‘man, how are they gonna take that next step? Are they forever stuck in this purgatory of being good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to win a cup?'”
“Obviously they had the coaching change, Peter DeBoer made a huge difference, their best players took another step up which we’re seeing in Vancouver this season as well, but to me, how they fit those difference makers under the cap was: they hit on their first round picks. The last couple of years, we’ve seen Wyatt Johnston come in as a middle six centre, he was the 23rd overall pick, and Thomas Harley came in as a top four defenceman.
“So what does that mean from Vancouver’s perspective? When you look at Tom Willander for instance, if in the next couple years he can step in and be a difference-maker on this blue line, especially when it’s Vancouver’s biggest area of need, and do it on an ELC? That’s the type of thing that could change your roster, change your ceiling as a team.”
I went on to point out that the Canucks also have Hunter Brzsutewicz leading the OHL in scoring and Arshdeep Bains leading the AHL in scoring, not to mention Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s hot start in the SHL. It may take more than one or two difference-makers coming in on ELCs to turn the Canucks into contenders, but as we’re seeing in Dallas, it certainly isn’t going to hurt.
We were later joined by Nation Network’s CEO, Jay Downton in studio. Watch the full replay of the show below!

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