The article goes into more detail about the forwards, defence and goaltending, so feel free to read on at the link above. It's written by Thomas Drance, so does focus on stats to a point, but mentions a few keys:
Partly because they play in such a thoroughly woeful division, the Canucks managed to repeat as President's Trophy winners last season. But their first round playoff exit, in five games at the hands of the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, marred the 2011-12 campaign as a "failure."
Being at the absolute top of the table is a testament to the quality and consistency of the roster, but regular season dominance simply isn't the goal for this club, or their management team.
Sure the Canucks accumulated more points than any other NHL club during the 2011-12 campaign, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find an analyst who would argue in good faith that they were the leagues "best" team last season. In fact, one of Vancouver's dirty little secrets, was that the team wasn't all that good in the second half of their schedule.
The Canucks consistently outscored their opponents down the stretch, but they did so by becoming the Minnesota Wild lite: they stopped out-shooting their opponents, their "Fenwick Close" cratered, and they were absurdly reliant on the unsustainably good goaltending they recieved from both Roberto Luongo and incumbent starter Cory Schneider.
The Canucks should be among the West's top three again next season, partly because their division is still mostly putrid. Of course, no matter what they accomplish in the regular season, the team will be judged on their playoff success.
- Depth at forwards will continue to be a strength
- Top 3 D is now a top 4 again (with Sami losing a step but being replaced by Garrison)
- Best goaltending duo in the league and Lack likely up to the task if/when Luongo is traded