You would think it would be hard to not think about the Vancouver Canucks anymore. After all, we’ve been through so much together. Maybe it’s their isolate placing on the continent. All tucked away down there. But that can’t be it. At least not solely it. Maybe it’s that their rebuild is too shrouded is monumentally dumb signings that mean they’ll never be relevant. Which is fine. Maybe it’s without the Sedins I can’t really identify anyone who’s there, nor do I care to.
This is how it used to be with the Canucks. They played in either a really dark arena or then moved into a really brightly lit one. They wore bad uniforms, and that’s really all you knew about them. They were the extras for the real show, which was the Oilers or Kings or Avalanche or whatever else.
What’s funny, and perfect, about the Canucks is that what sprung them out of anonymity is Todd Bertuzzi assaulting Steve McCarthy. No one thought about them before, and after that we weren’t able to get rid of them until now. And mostly it was for additional, cowardly, despicable acts. No one’s ever really marveled at anything they’ve done hockey-wise.
It’s kind of amazing that this organization ever figured out how to contend. Although the truth is they never did. The Canucks only run of consequence came when the Wings got too old, the Hawks had their first cap problems, and the Kings hadn’t matured yet. It also helped they played in the worst division in hockey history before realignment, and that includes the one made completely up of expansion teams in 1967. Once the Hawks recovered and the Kings figured it out and one or two other teams became good, the paper tiger that has been the Nucks in their entire existence folded back into the shadows. Where they belong.
So let’s run through whatever this is and get on with our lives.
2017-2018: 31-40-11 72 points 218 GF 264 GA 47.6 CF% 46.5 xGF% 7.2 SH% .921 SV%
Goalies: Contrary to popular belief, Jakob Markstrom is not the substitute teacher from the Simpsons that Lisa became infatuated with. He apparently plays goalie for the Canucks. And much like the rest of the team, he was indistinguishable from the scenery. He put up a .912, which is just a tick under league average. IT was his first full season as a starter. He turns 29 during the season, so I think we can probably say this is what he is. They’ll be pining for Thatcher Demko pretty quickly.
Backing him up will be Anders Nilsson. He was good is spot-duty in Buffalo two years ago. He wasn’t in Vancouver last year. He’ll be 29 as well this season. Again, these are placeholders for Demko to replace, if he can.
Defense: Alex Edler and his magical flying elbows are still somehow here. So is Chris Tanev, who clearly should have been traded last year as he was the only piece they could have gotten anything for. Tanev has two years left oin his deal so the deadline would be THE TIME to move him, which you can be assured the Canucks will biff.
For some reason they have a second pairing of Michael Del Zotto and Erik Gudbranson, possibly to construct the most-overhyped-in-the-past pairing in the league. Both of these guys belong on a third-pairing if that, and that they’ll be getting more minutes for the blue and green shows what kind of season they’re headed for. Troy Stetcher might be good…or it might be a term for some living room device that only rich people have. I’m not really sure.
They need help, and they seem excited about Olli Juolevi and one or two other kids. You’ll see some of them before the year is out.
Forwards: It’ll be the first season since 1984 that the Canucks will line up without The Children Of The Corn. Passy and Shooty Twin have moved on to their matching houses with matching yards and matching outfits somewhere in the suburbs of Vancouver or Sweden, not that it matters.
Which means Bo Horvat is now the #1 center. Which means watching this team should be considered community service. Horvat has never lived up to his draft position and probably never will. He’ll get to play with Brock Boeser, or Bose Brocker, or Brick Boser. Whatever his goddamn name he is the only genuine talent anywhere on this roster. His 29 goals were no fluke, and he has one of the best shots in the league.
Elias Pettersson and Nikolay Goldobin are the only other hopes, and Pettersson turned some heads at camp at 19. But if it’s bad contracts you want, boy are you in luck! Can I show you Sam Gagner? Are you interested in a Jay Beagle at $3 million a year to not be anything more than a checking center?Brandon Sutter at over $4 million for a fourth-line center? How about Loui Eriksson for $6 million a year until the sun swallows us all (thankfully) to score 22 goals you’ll never remember? Sven Baertschi at $3 million to do….something?
Oh, and Jake Virtanen is still here. And he still sucks.
Outlook: With Stetcher, Demko, Boeser, Pettersson, and possibly Goldobin, there are some kids here who could possibly make up the next Canucks team that isn’t a fart in the wind. I would imagine Adam Gaudette will be up at some point in the season, and we can only hope he doesn’t prove to be the only reason anyone cares about Dylan Sikura (though that’s more on Dylan). Kole Lind is another they’ll keep an eye on.
But they are hardly enough to wash away the massive amounts of shit you dig out of your eye when you wake up that populates this roster. The goalies aren’t impressive, the defense is terrible, and the forwards don’t have enough scoring or speed or anything else. And the coach might be an idiot. If the talent ever spikes in Arizona, this is an outfit headed for last place.
Not that you’ll notice. Because in every fashion, the Canucks are a dark room.
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