3 points up on 9th place L.A. + 14 Games Left
Can the Canucks make the playoffs?
As we all know, this years version of the Vancouver Canucks is very unpredictable.
They have beaten some of the best teams in the league like St. Louis, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, the Islanders and the Rangers. But they have lost to some of the worst teams as well. Buffalo, New Jersey and Arizona to name a few.
So why do I think this years version of the Canucks can make the playoffs?
Because of the mix of young and old that this team was missing the last 2 seasons. And I don't mean the young players that don't stick around in the NHL. I'm talking about the youth that is the future of this team.
Yes, the've sat out Ronalds Kenins, but this team liked him enough to bring him up before Nicklas Jensen, or Hunter Shinkaruk. Kenins brings energy this team has been lacking. Bo Horvat can't do it alone.
And speaking of Bo, how inspiring has his play been? I am almost forgetting that we exchanged Cory Schneider for the pick that led to Horvat joining the Canucks. Mike Gillis is somewhere saying, "I did that! I got that kid!"
Frankie Corrado is in there too as part of the young core. Chris Tanev was another Mike Gillis free agent who picked up the undrafted Tanev out of school. His energy counts, and you can tell how difficult it has been for the defence without him.
Makes you wonder about Nick Bonino, and how he fits into this team. Here is a guy with great hands, and great potential, but for some reason can't seem to get emotionally into the games. How often do you see him hit a player or get into the scrums. It happens at times, but he is never the one causing them.
We still judge Nick when we compare him to Ryan Kesler, whom he was traded for. We did get Luca Sbisa and a solid pick in Kellan Lain.
At least when Ryan wasn't scoring, he was being a jerk to someone on the other team and ruining their night. Teams do not like playing against him. He gets boo'ed every time he touches the puck, as a visitor to Rogers Arena.
With Kassian, you are getting a young big body that is still developing. Plus he is not afraid to cause problems on the ice. Don't tell me you don't enjoy when he gets emotional in a game. His version of "Beast Mode" when he punched Toronto Maple Leaf Dion Phaneuf was well worth the game misconduct, which he received for not tying down his jersey.
Guess what, players and fans on both teams feed of off that energy. When the crowd gets into it, the players get more into it.
That's why energy guys like Derek Dorsett are so valuable to a team. Do you care how many goals he has right now? I don't. I love how he plays the game. He keeps people honest and works hard every shift.
The biggest question mark of all is in goaltending. We all believe that Eddie Lack is a great goaltender. He is big, mobile and gets into position very quickly. But he lets in the bad goal once in awhile. I think all goalies do however.
What do they do when Ryan Miller comes back. It's unknown if he can still handle the playoff grind anymore, if his days in St. Louis last year were any example.
I can honestly say I feel a bit more comfortable with Lack in net than I do with Miller. I feel like Lack has played better overall, with less games.
For now we trust in Eddie Lack and the rest of his teammates. Only a handful of games remain. Can this team make the playoffs?