The Rebuild vs. The Retool. The Canucks are in Troubled Waters.
The Canucks are in Troubled Waters.
Most teams have improved this offseason. Teams like Dallas, Carolina, Arizona, and more. But some teams didn’t improve at all. In that list, there is one team that confuses all of us at Hoser Hockey. That team is Vancouver. They’ve been trying to retool and take a crack at the playoffs once again. Sure, they’ve made some changes in the last few years, but none of which will truly benefit them. Loui Eriksson isn’t what he was in Dallas and, currently on a 6-year deal worth $6 million a year, they sure hope he picks up the pace. The Sedins are still good players, but they are aging and don’t have the same speed and agility as 5 years ago. Let’s go ahead and take a deeper look into this team.
Starting with the young guns in Vancouver, there aren’t as many as you would hope. Bo Horvat showed us that he can take up the spot of a top center for the Canucks. Last year, Horvat had 20 goals, 32 assists for 52 points. Good stats for a 22-year-old, but it’s not enough for a struggling Vancouver squad. Everyone hopes Brock Boeser becomes what he’s hyped up to be. Brock will be good, but how good? We don’t know for certain, but his rookie year will be something to look out for. On defense, Troy Stetcher is a great addition. I truly believe he has what it takes to become Vancouver’s #1 defenseman. Sadly, the Canucks lost a big body this summer in Nikita Tryamkin. Tryamkin wasn’t happy with his ice time so, as an RFA, he left to go play in the KHL. He could be back when his contract is up in Russia. Olli Juolevi can officially make the full time jump to the NHL. Canucks fans, you should be happy you drafted this kid. Olli is going to be good. Very good.
Now what about the new players Vancouver brought in? For starters, they brought in Sam Gagner, Michael Del Zotto, Anders Nilsson, Alexander Burmistrov, and most recently, Thomas Vanek. Something to be said, none of these players are exceptionally “young.” Gagner is a good signing. Last year Sam scored 18 goals and 50 points. That’s good for a 28-year-old who played on the third line. I believe Vanek can still get near 30 goals, but in Vancouver, it’ll be tough. As for Del Zotto, Burmistrov, and Nilsson, they will add depth to the team and that’s it. Losing Ryan Miller wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t ideal. Markstrom will have to prove that he‘s a starter. Goaltending will be a struggle for sure, but they do have a great prospect netminder in Thatcher Demko. In a couple years, expect to see him really start to break through.
So what in the world is Vancouver thinking right now? This is a team that doesn’t have a plethora of good prospects and is aging all over. A rebuild is necessary. Jim Benning (General Manager) needs to ship out the old guys on the team for picks and prospects. This is NOT the time for a “retool.” Vancouver still doesn’t have a shot at making the playoffs. This is the time for a rebuild. But they don’t see it. Until they start what they should’ve started a couple years ago, this team won’t get any better, only worse. Wake up, Vancouver!