PROJECTED LINES IF SEASON STARTED TODAY:
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Brock Boeser
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Loui Eriksson
Sam Gagner - Markus Granlund - Thomas Vanek
Derek Dorsett - Brandon Sutter - Jake Virtanen
(Extra forwards: Reid Boucher, Nicolay Goldobin, Anton Rodin, Michael Chaput, Jason Megna, Alex Burmistrov, Scotty Upshall)
Alex Edler - Chris Tanev
Michael Del Zotto - Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson
(Extra Defensemen: Olli Juolevi, Alex Biega, Patrick Wiercioch)
(AHL Goalie: Thatcher Demko + Richard Bachman)
***Brendan Gaunce out until November at the earliest according to Jim Benning***
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
With 1 more year left on their contracts and careers (possibly), the Sedin era should be coming to a close in 2018.
There is much confusion these days however for Canuck fans over where this team is headed. We had been spoiled in the Alain Vigneault and Marc Crawford era’s of this franchise. We have to go back before the West Coast Express to remember a time of consistent losing, which came shortly after a failed Mark Messier acquisition that turned out to be the worst signing in Canuck history. Honourable Mention: Loui Eriksson.
Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Brendan Morrison owned the team in 2002 through 2006. It was the start of some very fun and high paced Canucks hockey teams.
The Canucks also had a sell-out streak of 487, falling just 13 games shy of the NHL record of 500 straight sellouts by the Colorado Avalanche, who attained their mark in the Patrick Roy, Burnaby Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote days. It was a time when the Colorado vs. Vancouver matchup was fun to watch.
After the West Coast Express, the Canucks transferred over to the Sedin’s, who eventually became annual contenders to be in the top 5-10 in league scoring. Plus, we finally stopped our goalie graveyard of Arturs Irbe, Felix Potvin, Sean Burke and a host of others with the acquisition of Roberto Luongo.
Fast forward to 2011 and being a Canucks fan was pretty fun. We watched the likes of Kesler, Bieksa, Burrows and Hamhuis grow into leaders of the team.
Then 2013 hit, and the wheels on the bus stopped spinning round and round.
In an era of salary cap management and solid drafting, the bus that had carried so many Canuck fans started coming apart.
And so began the Canucks new direction of Trevor Linden and Jim Benning. The men who promise to restock the cupboards with high quality draft picks while keeping a competitive hockey team on the ice.
We can't dismiss the cupboards are getting better, but the competition hasn't been fierce with a 28th and 29th place finish in each of the last 2 seasons.
The top teams are changing in the NHL, and most would agree it was a good run by an organization that had previously had it’s share of tough times since it’s inception into the league.
Now we are stuck having to watch Toronto and Edmonton steal the majority of TV time. The sad part is, those teams are overdue for some winning. It’s their turn.
For the next few years, we will get our championship from the draft lottery. We load up with kids we believe will be capable of hoisting the Stanley Cup, and in 3-5 years we should have a decent team. It’s a long process. But we are OVER DUE for that next wave of elite Canuck players.
Bo Horvat will be the Captain next year. The Sedin’s will want to pass the torch eventually and let the kids take the top job. Why not allow the kids to play and learn to be the new face of the franchise. Did the free agent signings affect their growth?