Playoffs Round 1: Canucks vs Kings
The storyline: Nick Schmaltz vs Sam Bennett
Prior to the start of the season, GM @Qwags and GM DC made a hockey trade. Sent from the Canucks after 2 seasons in the blue and green was Nick Schmaltz, a pivot on the 2nd line. Coming back to the Canucks after a similar 2 seasons in the black and white was Sam Bennett, a staple in the top 6. Fast forward a season later, both players will have something to prove against their former team as they look to show their former teams what they gave up on.
The experience: This is a tale of two franchises headed on the same path. The Kings have not made the playoffs since 2021-22 where they got eliminated in the 1st round. The Canucks on the other hand are further down the developmental pipeline having made the playoffs in 3 of the last 4 season. However, they do have not had much luck advancing past the 1st round only once. The Kings have a young core, spearheaded by 19 year old 2nd overall pick Tino Boschman, 21 year old Mat Masters, 24 year old Peyton Krebs, and 26 year old Gabe Vilardi. With so much young talent for the Kings, it is now time to put it together.
In Net: The Kings are leading the charge with the Greek Freak Athanasiou. With possible relations to Giannis of the Milwaukee Bucks, Dimitris knows how to win. He has a career save percentage of 914 and often plays heavy minutes during the regular season with 60+ starts. However, he has yet to play in the playoffs yet and thus have not had a true test of pressure yet. Frequently compared to his brother in the NBA as a regular season MVP and a playoff choker, we hope he does not play the same. For the Canucks, its been Demko time since 2021. He is a steady presence in both the regular season and playoffs but his team in front often lets him down. We hope the 3rd time is the charm for him to get past the 1st round.