Gallagher touches on a subject that I've been chucking around in my head pretty much all summer: who's the Ryan Kesler or Alex Burrows going to be this year? Or, as TG puts it, "...to take that step from goal scoring at the teen level and push it into the mid-20s or beyond."
There are actually two questions here: first is can Kesler and Burrows even maintain their successful ways from last year? We've attacked this a few times already. But, regardless of your opinion on that front, who do you feel is in line next to have that break through year and provide some back-up support for the twins?
Gallagher suggests the following:
And the candidates to do that are clearly Mason Raymond and Steve Bernier for a start, with secondary opportunities to come for Jannik Hansen and Michael Grabner if they can show enough in preseason to suggest they warrant the opportunity.
I'll agree with Raymond and Bernier, but Hansen and Grabner are too much of long shots to be considered. I'm suspect how much longer Hansen will be on the Canucks and Grabner has never played at the NHL level yet (so, based on that alone, we can add Shirokov and Hodgson into the mix).
Raymond is on the bubble too but clearly is a talented asset. He started last year on fire and then succumbed to a dreadful scoring drought midway through the year. Just like Bernier (and arguably Kesler from a few years ago) Raymond had some issues with missing open nets and the occasional hands of stone flu that circulates through the Canucks dressing room every winter.
While not on the bubble, Bernier has a ton to prove. Two teams have given up on him already and he's only played five seasons. Credit Gillis for giving him another chance and Bernier for dropping the weight this summer. But, starting tonight in Anaheim, he has to start
cashing on management's faith ah screw it he needs to bury the chances that will inevitably come his way