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Canucks, player-by-player: Net gains, better on blue line, but forwards need to be on point(s)


From the crease on out — plus up, to the front office — each member of the Vancouver Canucks will be personally tested in 2016-17:



Good season if: Remains healthy and well rested to avoid dehydration and cramping, works harmoniously in tandem with Jacob Markstrom, accepts his game load.

Bad season if: Succumbs to early injury at age 36 and is slow to recover, can’t regain his form, is relegated to backup role in the final year of his three-year, US $18-million deal.


Good season if: Builds on World Cup exposure, including win over Russia, is on same page as goalie coach Dan Cloutier, understands he’s the future, deals with the present.

Bad season if: Parts of his game which have improved — tracking pucks and glove placement — need early attention, gets miffed at media and goalie-controversy talk.




Good season if: Seven assists in five pre-season games — and second overall in NHL points — while playing mostly with rookie Troy Stecher is an indication of a rebound season.

Bad season if: Hasn’t played a full season since 2011-12. Felled by leg fracture in February and he’s 30. Top-pairing minutes will be even tougher if other pairings struggle.



Good season if: Remains steady, durable and an emerging leader. That shot he worked on boosts a meagre four-goal total last season. If so, he could also see power-play time.

Bad season if: Willingness to block shots at any point in any game — his team-high 166 ranked 16th — results in an injury. Missed nine games last season with groin ailment.


Good season if: Finds instant chemistry with Erik Gudbranson, takes advantage of his speed to jump up into the play more readily and provides spark for second power-play unit.

Bad season if: Applies too much pressure and sophomore jinx removes ever-present smile. Finished tied for second in rookie blueliner assists (24), third in points (25) last season.


Good season if: Brings needed mean streak to back end, makes front of the net a no-go zone and blocks shots. Gets pucks to Hutton and scores more than career-high four goals.

Bad season if: Intangibles overshadowed if zone start adjusted Corsi numbers don’t improve, struggles in transition, doesn’t surpass 2015-16 totals for hits (150), blocked shots (73).


Good season if: World Cup training camp and limited playing time gives him a leg up on fitness and quickness to bring a timely physical and consistent presence to third pairing.

Bad season if: Turnovers and neutral-zone hits that leave him out of position continue, doesn’t mesh well with Philip Larsen, gets injured again. Played just 41 games last season.



Good season if: Adds needed passing dimension to 27th-ranked power play as point man in four-forward alignment. Skates out of trouble in own zone, scores odd goal.

Bad season if: He gets the yips in his own zone. Teams are going to purposely put pucks in his corner and come at him hard. Was outplayed defensively by prospect Troy Stecher.


Good season if: He gets it. Understands he has a lot to learn at this level, isn’t tentative and brings a physical element when called upon to get over disappointing pre-season.

Bad season if: He pouts. A European out clause in his contract that allows the behemoth to bolt back to the KHL instead of the AHL is a card he could play but shouldn’t play.


Good season if: Worthy of two-year contract extension, plays a safe defensive game and moves pucks to his partner. The Canucks used 11 defencemen last season.

Bad season if: The challenges of being a 28-year-old undersized defenceman prove taxing in his own zone, loses puck battles and isn’t physical enough defending crease.




Good season if: He survives. Veteran leadership sounds great in the summer. But it loses something if the leader isn’t effective and is scratched. Burrows has to stay in the lineup.

Bad season if: He starts travelling down the Chris Higgins path. Burrows is 35 now and has lost his fastball. The Canucks are committed to him, but for how long?


Good season if: Lost in the mud pit that was last season was the fact Daniel scored 28 goals, his most in four years. If he does that again, the team will be stoked.

Bad season if: He stops shooting. Daniel bumped his personal shots on net up 15 per cent last year. That’s where the goals came from. If that regresses, his line is in trouble.


Good season if: He’s as good as the Canucks keep hoping he is. All summer the Canucks lamented his injury as a reason they scored the second fewest goals in the league. He needs to score 20 goals to make them look good.

Bad season if: We find out that Sutter never putting up more than 40 points in a season was not a “Pittsburgh thing.” Forty or fewer points from Sutter would be really damaging for the team.


Good season if: He remains on the fourth line and that line keeps its head above water. Dorsett needs to be physical, but he can’t be a drag on the team at even strength.

Bad season if: Age and miles are catching up to him. Dorsett turns 30 this year. Complicating things, the Canucks may increase his role considering he’s one of the few bangers they have. It won’t end well.


Good season if: It will be the same until he retires. He will play well if he’s healthy. When his health is good, Henrik will make the power play work and his line will drive play.

Bad season if: The Sedins really are 60-point players. That’s great for a second line, but it’s not enough for what the Canucks need from their only legit scoring threat line.


Good season if: He can rediscover his scoring touch on a line without the Sedins. During the past four years, Hansen leads the team in goals-scored-per-hour at even strength. It’d be great if that continues.

Bad season if: He loses himself in a defensive role. As odd as it is, the Canucks need Hansen’s goal-scoring. If he’s put in a defensive role and his line dips below 50 per cent in shot-attempt differential, it’s bad.


Good season if: He can do more than score. It didn’t take long for him to become a big part of the offence. But can his line drive play? It’d be great if he can get to 50 per cent or more in shot-attempt differential.

Bad season if: He scores a few goals but gets his lunch handed to him at even strength. He was a good defensive player last year but if that regresses, his line is going to sink.


Good season if: He is what we think he is. Eriksson and the Sedins dominated possession in the World Cup of Hockey. They didn’t score much, but keep those puck-possession shifts up and the Canucks’ top line is going to go off.

Bad season if: He flops on the power play and isn’t an improvement on Jannik Hansen in five-on-five scoring. Eriksson needs probably 30 goals to make the team look good.



Good season if: He bumps up the point total and possession numbers. If the Canucks are ever going to compete again, they’ll need Horvat to be a plus-player in shot-attempt differential.

Bad season if: The coaching staff asks him to do it all, and it’s too much. If he can’t help the power play and struggles again killing penalties, the struggles he had in the first half of last season could be repeated.


Good season if: He’s rostered all season. He can be a valuable player. He’s versatile, can play both wing and centre, and he has size.

Bad season if: He struggles with consistency and the coaching staff loses faith in him. This is Gaunce’s moment. He may not get many more.


Good season if: He secures a regular spot in the top nine, continues to be effective defensively and, finally, wins over his NHL coaches. Scoring more than 12 goals would be pretty good, too.

Bad season if: He finds himself in the press box often or, more troubling, in Utica. Virtanen has all the tools to be an effective NHL player. Will be disappointing if he doesn’t play 60 games.


Good season if: His knee is strong, and his hands are soft. Rodin is the one true wild card for the Canucks. Can he score 15-20 goals? That would be sweet.

Bad season if: He never finds his footing because of his January knee surgery. He will start this season on injured reserve. When will he be healthy enough to play regularly? If it’s not till January, that’s bad news.



Good season if: He shows the same skill in the regular season he did in the pre-season. Granlund can be an impact player if he’s as skilled as the coaching staff seems to believe. People would be thrilled with 10-15 goals.

Bad season if: He teases but fails to deliver consistency. Granlund looked great after the trade last year, but it all unravelled. If it happens again, he could play himself out of the lineup.


Good season if: He makes an impact physically. Skille has wheels and size. He’s a good forechecker and that’s why he made the team. If he plays 60-odd games, it likely means he’s been effective.

Bad season if: We’re again talking about the two things that have plagued Skille’s career. He’s prone to long slumps and injuries. Too many of either of those, and this isn’t going to work out.




Good season if: His club survives nine games in the first 15 days and a dozen in the first 22 days to not fall behind the division pack, top lines score, power play comes alive.

Bad season if: It goes south in a hurry, injuries to core strike, too many musical lines, not-ready-for-prime-time recalls and subpar goaltending to put his job in jeopardy.

General manager:


Good season if: Loui Eriksson scores more than 30 goals, Daniel Sedin does the same, Jannik Hansen, Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Brandon Sutter, Anton Rodin get at least 20.

Bad season if: Knee injury slows Rodin, goal drought continues, special teams don’t improve, Gudbranson and Larsen struggle to meet expectations, no meaningful games in March.


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Having all the tools means jack $&!# when you aren't in the right headspace. Virtanen can't think the game at the NHL level yet and he needs top minutes and a lot of one on one coaching to do so. Travis Green can provide that because there are only a couple of meaningful players on the Utica roster.


Good Season: If he plays in Utica and learns to play an effective pro game while putting up points and getting fed meaningful minutes.


Bad Season: If he plays a bottom six role on the Canucks and stagnates in his development while not being fed enough minutes to work on the things he's struggling with.

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