In some ways, it is much easier to take the losing this year in the playoffs b/c the team the Canucks have this year is simply not as good as the team they had last year. There is no secondary scoring, the PP is awful and the defense is not physical or particularly fast. There have been some terrific success stories in Higgins and LaPierre, and how they have resurrected their careers, but they pale in comparison to the majority of guys who just seem like they are going through the motions.
What do they need for next year?
- The 'Nucks need a physical presence on the blue line that can eat up minutes. Bieksa is a good defenseman, but he is not dominant and is not a clear the crease kind of guy - that he is our most physical D-Man is not good.
- Manny Malhotra (or someone like he used to be) - Manny was a big, physical feisty center and leader at one point - it appears that he has been marginalized not just skill wise from his injury, but also as a leader. The guys may love him, but leading is different. To do that you need to produce and put it on the line - something Manny just can't do it seems.
- Develop Kassian - he can be good, it will take time and patience, but they need to play him alongside Kesler and give the guy minutes. Sean Couturier in Phili is a good example, the kids need to make mistakes and still get their minutes.
- Replace Raffi Torres - he added clutch scoring, was a physical force, and simply punished the other teams best players.
- Trade Luongo - it can be done. He is not the best goalie on the team. I love Lou, but getting rid of his contract should be a top priority.
- Bring on a legit enforcer how can play sometimes - these guys have a role in the playoffs, look at Chris Neil, Thornton, Rinaldo,
- Scrap the Higgins, Booth, Kesler line - this is not a good playoff hockey line. Regular season yes, now, no. They are too similar, not particularly physical or nasty, and all are the same type of drive to the net at all costs type of player. There is no snarl on the line, little finesse, and its redundant watching them work together.
- Bring in a dynamic young player - this may be pie in the sky type of thinking, but the 'Nucks need a player that can change the tempo - I love the Sedins but they are PP guys and not guys that dictate the tempo come the playoffs. Players like Hall, Seguin, Karlson, Duchesne, Landeskog, Couturier, Hudler...