Unlike most Canuck fans, I believe our 10-9-1 start to be a blip. Most of us predicted a Stanley Cup hangover, but when it actually occurred we hit the panic button. So here it is. The cup hangover.
Let's not get too crazy and realize what we have. We have a team that not only was the best team in hockey last season as a +77 (GF-GA), they were the best Western Conference team since the '06 Red Wings (+96). We also know we have a coach that we know can lead and motivate this team to excellence. What else do we know? We have a goaltender that has the third best SV% in NHL history, two Art-Ross trophy winners, and a Selke trophy winner, all in their primes.
Should I let 20 games worry me? No. This bunch will figure itself out. For every time we've yelled at Daniel to shoot in the slot when he didn't, there is a time he was in a position to take that shot and instead found the trailer for an easy tap in goal. For all of Kesler's struggles he is not going to shoot at a 5% clip. Luongo had a rough start? This is new?
No I am not worried about what we have. The biggest mistake we could make is change a winning formula after a predictable rut.
I don't even worry about us getting bullied by the Bruins again in the East finals. We don't need a team that can defeat Boston, as odds are they won't be the ones we play in the finals (if we get there.)
What I do worry about? The obvious problem we all saw last June, and the same worry I have had since last November. The lack of elite top six forwards.
We all have identified it. If we ask the average Canuck fan who our top five players are, they will likely say the Sedins and Kesler, then some combination of Burrows, Bieksa, Hamhuis, Edler, and Luongo. All can be argued for and against with varying degrees of quality arguments.
The obvious problem to me is that after Burrows, it gets really iffy if you can name a legitimate top 6 forward on this team. Higgins? Hodgson? Raymond? Booth? All are very large question marks. Also I hate labeling these forwards top 6, because if you keep adding guys that are so called "top 6" forwards, you end up with a bunch of Samuelssons and Booths who are really "6s" and only "top 6s" because the range goes as low as 6. No one describes the Keslers or Sedins of the world as "top 6" because they are stars. (Much in the same vein as no one would say Gretzky was a top 100 player. The statement is true, but misleading.)
To address our secondary scoring you must look at it differently, or you will forever be thinking David Booth is the answer to our problems. Predictable and consistent secondary scoring isn't secondary scoring. It's primary scoring. So to add a player to help with consistent scoring you have to add a star. How do you do this? Is this hard? Yes, it is hard. Can we do it? Yes, we can.
The Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason made a trade the Canucks should have. They traded two first round picks and Jakub Voracek to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter. The same Jeff Carter that over the past three seasons averaged 79 GP, 332 SOG, 38 G, and 70 Pts. Could we have offered a similar deal? Yes. Could we have offered more? Yes. Why not send our 2011 and 2012 first round picks, Cody Hodgson, and more for this superstar? Blow them out of the water! Carter's cap hit is only $5.27 million, only $1.02 million more than Booth. Yes Carter is a "forever" deal, but I bet he is more worth it than Booth is over the next four seasons.
This is the reason why GMMG gets a bum rap from some, including me. The pieces were given to him. The Art Ross twins, the Selke award winner, one of the best goaltenders of this era. He was able to sign them to cap/team friendly deals. But who cares if we don't win a cup? Make the bold move and put a stamp on this team. Stop giving us the David Booths of the world. We have faith in you.
So MG, time to get creative here. Start looking at the problem with a different perspective. Don't acquire top 6 forwards. Acquire the elite. Pay the price. Our window is here, and flags fly from the rafters forever. Don't acquire secondary scoring. Acquire primary scoring. The answer is out there for those who look.