Although Brock Boeser‘s drawn-out contract negotiation was a troubling sign, this is now sorted and there is hope in Vancouver this season. The Canucks for once have made a splash in the free-agent market. The attack has been strengthened on the wings and the blue line for once has sufficient depth. Last season Elias Pettersson‘s Calder winning efforts were a bright spot in another average year. This season Travis Green hopes put to B.C.’s finest back on the map again and not just play for draft picks.
First Key Game: October 5th vs Calgary Flames
Odds to win the division
12:1 (t-5th overall) (via Betway)
Is this a bet worth taking?
They may still be considered a dark horse, but the Canucks are showing signs of life. They have a good core of youth mixed with more mature veteran scorers such as J.T. Miller and Micheal Ferland. Also, the acquisition of Tyler Myers adds a much-needed quality D-Man which Vancouver has been lacking. Jim Benning‘s traded and UFA signings have always been closely scrutinized but this year he seems to want a playoff return after years of mediocrity. However, the Pacific division is going to be a hard one to emerge from since Vegas, San Jose, and even Arizona have made vital upgrades. Right now I would predict a 7th or 8th place finish for Canucks in the west.
Keys To The Season
Story to watch
The Young Guns. The Canucks have shown their intention to build a franchise from the ground up and this year it appears they want to come full circle. Elias Pettersson will hopefully repeat his dominant scoring form of last season, but he is not the only egg in the basket.
Quinn Hughes (brother of Jack) is a highly rated prospect on the blue line and in only 5 games last season showed tremendous promise. Brock Boeser will likely be the focal point of contention though. Vancouver fans will be hoping that these negotiations lock him in as he has emerged as a key part of the future.
Player to watch
Elias Petterson – Who else could it be? The 20-year-old Swede was the talk of the town last season as his 66 points paved the way to Calder glory. The Canucks have waited for a new superstar and Pettersson gives them this in droves. Frequently compared to Pavel Bure, his speed, skill and scoring ability will be key for any success this year. Undoubtedly he gave this franchise a kick start last season as without him it would have been another forgettable season. This year, Pettersson needs to be strong again because he could be the potential leader they need in years to come like another pair of certain swedes (miss you, Henrik and Daniel).
Goaltending. While no-one can doubt that Jacob Markstrom has improved greatly over the last couple of years, he still is nowhere near being considered an elite goalie. Last season his record stood at 60-28-23-9 with a GAA of 2.77 which upon first glance looks like a solid season.
If the last couple of seasons have proved anything its that they do not need solid anymore- we forget that Markstrom was a throw-in from the infamous Roberto Luongo to Panthers trade. Young goalie Thatcher Demko is waiting in the wings- over the course of a season, lets see who comes out as number one?
If the Canucks were an animal, what would they be?
A panda. On the surface, we look innocent, relaxed and laid back and probably fun to watch at times. However, on occasion, we can also be dangerous and do damage when threatened.