This is a real thrill for us. Stefan Heck is one of Canada’s most gifted writers. And he shares his Canucks/hockey thoughts on Twitter @hockeydipshit. If you’re not following, you’re not living life to the fullest. He was kind enough to do this for us.
The Canucks got off to a surprising start, but have cooled off thanks to injuries and a lot of players seeking their own level. They’re only five points out of a playoff spot, but also only ahead of Arizona in the standings. So this is still a rebuilding year for them, and more importantly, do they know that?
It’s absolutely still a rebuilding year for the Canucks, and if they’ve learned anything, hopefully the next couple seasons are as well. They won’t catch Arizona, but they’ll finish solidly in the bottom 5, which will be low enough for them to draft a player like Quinn Hughes. I think they may have finally learned something from last year’s trade deadline, in which they stole Jonathan Dahlen and Nikolay Goldobin from Ottawa and San Jose respectively. In a shocking twist, fans of the team like it when you make moves with a clear vision of the future in mind, rather than throwing away Gustav Forsling for nothing. Hey, what’s that guy up to nowadays?
Brock Boeser, all that is man?
Brock Boeser has given me… what’s that word… hope? Wait, that can’t be right. He is tremendously entertaining, although in fairness, that’s a low bar to clear with this team (Seriously, Blackhawks legend Jack Skille qualified as “tremendously entertaining” last year). I don’t know if he’ll win the Calder given that Matt Barzal is both a center and plays on a better team, and Charlie McAvoy is terrifying, but he’s a bright spot for a franchise that desperately needs something to care about.
He’s only 21, but have the Canucks completely borked Jake Virtanen with how they’ve brought him through so young? Or is there still something here?
He’s actually shown a marked improvement this year, particularly whenever he actually decides to use his tantalizing speed/size combo and drive to the net. I think there’s still something there, it’s just that the “something” in question tops out at “late 2000s Raffi Torres.”
What did this team need with Sam Gagner, exactly?
As far as I can tell, they needed a player who could fill the Kyle Wellwood role: a short, weirdly entertaining dude who will manage to garner an obsessive cult following in the years after he leaves the team.
It seems impossible, but with the Sedins as old as they are and in the last year of their deal, would they ever consider going somewhere at the deadline to take one last run at it?
I doubt it, because A) they’ve been raising young families here and seem quite content, and B) I can’t imagine a situation in which they’ll not only waive their NMCs to go to a team, but that team will also have the required cap space to fit both of them. With the Canucks retaining salary on Jannik Hansen, they’d only be able to hold back money on one of the twins, and I don’t think that’ll be enough.
Game #36 Preview
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Lineups & How Teams Were Built