Being a Canucks fan these days is not an easy task.
We currently have an 8th place team in the Western Conference that doesn't know how to score goals, can't beat teams above them, and is riddled with injuries. A two goal deficit for this team on any given night seems like an impossible come back opportunity.
What's most troubling is the leadership of this group. The Sedin's, Ryan Kesler, former Canucks captain Roberto Luongo, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis are supposed to be the voices of reason in the locker room. The motivators. But talk is cheap off the ice when you are not doing your job as a leader on the ice.
The Sedin's are 28th and 30th in the league in scoring right now. Daniel Sedin has the worst shooting percentage in the top 30 at 8.1%, which means he is putting the puck on the net, but it doesn't go in. This is not acceptable from players who led the league in points at the end of the 2009-10/2010-11 seasons. It is blatantly apparent we will not be seeing those results again from the twins, who just signed matching 4 year deals at 7 million per season that start after this one is complete.
Ryan Kesler is the Canucks 3rd highest scorer, but sits a paltry 85th in league scoring. His 17 goals, which are highest among Canucks, have him in 35th place for goals in the league.
Here's the hard truth.
The Canucks do not have a true 1st line on this team any longer and it's time to start building one.
The Sedin's would be an unbelievable 2nd line tandem, who are puck possession players. They also don't belong in the shootout, but that's another story.
It's time to start building a #1 line around Ryan Kesler. He is, or should be in the prime of his career and we are sticking him with average players in Santorelli, Booth or Kassian. Yes he spent time with the Sedin's, but all they do is cycle on the end boards until they cough up the puck or get a weak shot on net.
The Canucks have to start giving up some name defensemen and get a scorer that can compliment Kesler on the top line.
What are the Canucks assets? Bieksa, Edler, Hamhuis, Garrison, Tanev or even Corrado. What good is a team of defensmen when we don't have the forwards who are able to put the puck in the net?
The Canucks need to trade one or two of the assets on the back end along with a Jannik Hansen or Mike Santorelli. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN/ESPN, Ryan O'Reilly might be available from the Colorado Avalanche, and the Canucks are at the top of the list in terms of acquiring the young forward.
LeBrun: "So many teams are keeping an eye on what the Avs are going to do with O'Reilly. If he's made available, to me he's a number one player on the trade market. So many teams could use him and one of those teams that covet him – I believe – are the Vancouver Canucks."
O'Reilly has 18 goals this year, and carries a qualifying offer of 6.5 million at the end of the season.
It's unfair for coach John Torterella to continue down this path with this current lineup. The pressure now falls on GM Mike Gillis to make some changes to the core of this group on the fly. The leadership group has been given more than their fare share of opportunities to prove they can repeat the 2011 season, and have failed in the process.
Chances are the Canucks will make the playoffs, but how confident are you that they will do anything when they get there?
Gillis, the proverbial ball is in your court. Define your legacy with this team and make your move. Just leave Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk out of it. Right now, that's the only hope for any future with this team.