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Leipsic and Virtanen’s future with the Canucks

This night was all about the Sedins, but that magical overtime moment wouldn’t have happened without two young wingers

Mar 9, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen (18) and forward Brendan Leipsic (9) defend against Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (24) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin

Let’s let one thing be clear, Thursday night was all about the Sedins.

In a performance that brought you to your knees and had you wildly waving your hands up and down screaming “we’re not worthy,” the twins put on one hell of a finale at Rogers Arena.

Henrik and Daniel have left this generation of Canucks fans with so many everlasting memories, but the events from last night rank right up there with the best of them.

I mean Henrik, how can you not believe in destiny after last night’s showdown?

It was a magical moment, and kudos to you if you were lucky enough to have tickets to the game. That was a moment fans at the game, or even just watching on the tube, will never forget.

What was overshadowed by that epic Sedin performance, was the play of two youngsters in the Canucks lineup. Without them, we would never have been blessed with Daniel scoring that amazing, throwback overtime winner.

Virtanen turning into...something

For all of those who want to beat the dead horse narrative about William Nylander and Nik Ehlers being better players than Virtanen, you continue to do you. There’s no doubt about who ranks where talent-wise. However if we can put that narrative behind us and try to appreciate what Jake might become, there could be a more optimistic outlook here.

He’s not piling up the points, but Virtanen does look like a more complete player now than he did at the beginning of the season. His brain still needs to catch up to his blistering speed and wicked shot, but there’s something to be had here if the player can piece it all together.

I’m not sure what the ceiling here is. Hell, I bet Travis Green and Jim Benning don’t know what his ceiling here is either. He’s now up to ten goals and ten assists in 74 games. Not eye-popping numbers, but he’s also done that with limited ice time and no special teams play.

The ceiling here is probably a solid middle-six forward, who can hit while chipping in some occasional offence. As this league becomes dominated by teams who can roll four lines, Virtanen should have a place in this organization, Mistakes aside, he’s also an incredibly fun player to watch as well.

Leipsic learning the NHL game

When you watch Leipsic play you sit back and wonder, how did we get this guy for someone with one game of NHL experience?

If Leipsic can keep putting up the points next year, this will go down as one of those rare steals by Jim Benning. Not that George McPhee really cares, when his expansion team continues to pile up the points, even when they sit four guys with 50-plus points.

I digress.

With three goals and eight points in 13 games for the Canucks, Leipsic is looking like a real offensive threat. There’s no denying his ability, especially after that sweet backhand goal that he scored last night to send the game to overtime.

It sure helps Leipsic’s case that he’s playing more than five minutes per night with the Canucks compared to what he was playing in Vegas. He’s only five points away from matching his total with the Golden Knights in 31 fewer games played.

When this team is healthy, it’s interesting to see where Leipsic fits into the mix. The Canuck have a glut of middle-six wingers such as Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, and (gasp) even Loui Eriksson.

Are either Leipsic or Virtanen potential first-line wingers? Probably not, but they are showing potential to provide solid scoring depth for this team down the road.

We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, but there’s something to be said for dynamic offensive players bringing the best out of the players around them. The Sedins were perfect examples of this. Alex Burrows and Anson Carter were solid NHL players, but they probably weren’t 30-plus goal players without the twins.

If Elias Pettersson is as fantastic as he seems to be, he could be a playmaker that boosts guys like Leipsic and Virtanen into cerebral offensive threats. The two aforementioned players are solid, but with a bonafide playmaker they could elevate their offensive game even further.

What can I say, this Sedin magic has me dreaming of a brighter future in Vancouver...