We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the Vancouver Canucks.
By: Andi Perelman (aka @FiveForBoarding)
2013 Season: 26-15-7, 59 pts (1st Northwest Division, 3rd Western Conference)
D Yannick Weber
F Mike Santorelli
F Brad Richardson
F Benn Ferriero
C Andrew Ebbett
C Maxim Lapierre
RW Steven Pinizzotto
C Derek Roy
G Cory Schneider
G Cory Schneider to New Jersey for 1st round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft (9th pick, C Bo Horvat)
C Bo Horvat
C Brendan Gaunce
LW Nicklas Jensen
D Frank Corrado
G Joacim Eriksson
G Eddie Lack
If you like winning Stanley Cups, it is hard to be a Vancouver Canucks fan. In 1915, the Vancouver Millionaires won their first and only Stanley Cup. Since then, Vancouver teams have made it to the final 6 more times and have never come out on top. It’s hard being a Canucks fan.
Despite winning the Northwest Division the last five consecutive seasons, the Canucks have not fared well in the post-season. In the 2010, 2011, and 2012 playoffs, the Canucks ended up losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Again, it’s rough being a Canucks fan… In 2013, the Canucks were the first team to be knocked out of the playoffs. The Sharks defeated the Canucks four games in a row and Vancouver ownership knew it was time for some major changes. And so the off-season madness began…
The Potentially Good: Ryan Kesler is healthy, finally. For the past two years, Ryan Kesler has been injury-plagued. You name it, he had it (shoulder surgery, hip surgery, broken bones…etc). Now he is healthy, and ready to get back to normal. This could mean great things for the Canucks. With Kesler on top of his game, the Canucks are a much stronger team. Remember the last time he was healthy in 2011? Yeah, that was the year he won the Selke and the Canucks made it to the Stanley Cup Final. Boom.
The Potentially Bad: John Tortorella is a bit of a loose cannon. He has a temper and we already know that Canucks fans are prone to rioting… In reality though, I think Tortorella is just what the Canucks need. If the player-friendly style of Vigneault wasn’t working out in the post-season, it is smart for Vancouver ownership to shake things up. And Tortorella will definitely shake things up. Be sure to keep an eye on the Sedin bros, because this season they will be killing penalties and upping their game.
Also on the ‘potentially bad’ front is the absence of Cory Schneider. While Bo Horvat is a great prospect, it is hard to imagine how the Canucks could trade their starting goaltender for the 9th pick in the draft. While Schneider’s presence will definitely be missed, the more pertinent concern is if Luongo will adequately fill his role in net. Which brings me to…
The Potentially Ugly: Roberto Luongo is trying to act happy and be a team player, but it is hard to ignore feelings of mistrust. After Luongo was dethroned by Cory Schneider, he had one foot out the door. The day of the 2013 NHL draft, Canucks ownership decided to chop that foot off and make him stay.
So, will Luongo be successful as the Canucks starting goalie? Yeah, I think so, but only if he can play nice with Tortorella. I imagine a scene like this going down after the Canucks first big loss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wJxe8pVprg.
Luongo seems committed to the Canucks in some ways, but he is also stuck in a horrible and awkward situation. Here are some quotes to show what I mean…
“First and foremost I want to re-establish myself as one of the top goalies in the league.”
“Wherever I am, I am going to be 100 percent committed to play. Right now I am in Vancouver. I am 100 percent committed to that.”
Not so positive:
“I was just trying to figure out the reasons why a decision like that would be made especially without consulting me. That is a pretty big move to make without having input from the guy you are going to put your trust in”.
“I was ready to walk away from it [his contract] and sign somewhere else for a lesser term and less money”.
On his ‘divorce’ with the Canucks:
“That is what it felt like, I accepted it and was fine with it and I had moved on personally. The only problem is she wanted me back”.
And speaking of divorce, Luongo also fired his agent this past July.
All in all, the Canucks are making moves to fix their playoff problems. They have a coach that is known for holding his players accountable and focusing on a strong defense. They have a strong desire to win after repeatedly proving themselves in the regular season. Luongo has the opportunity to win back the hearts of Vancouver and prove that he is a world-class goaltender.
The Canucks have been good for a long time, but never quite good enough. With talented prospects like Bo Horvat, a brand new coaching staff, and healthy/focused players, this season could be a strong one for Vancouver.