Here we go everyone!
Year three for the Canucks under Travis Green has already been entertaining when it comes to who is playing and who is not. The masses on Twitter are having a great time typing in their angry font and telling their digital opponents how wrong they are. (Soon to be me on here)
The question at the end of last year was, will the Canucks do what is necessary to make the playoffs, because if you make the playoffs almost anything can happen. I don’t believe the last part and I am here to evaluate how management did in addressing the first part.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the Canucks are not a playoff team at this point. I can say this because we never got to see the regular season squad play together during the preseason. The teams I saw play preseason games looked a lot like the team I saw last year, but they scored a few more goals. Unfortunately, they also allowed a crap-ton of goals.
Let’s make no mistake, the team defense of the Canucks is the weakest part of this team. Not just the defensemen are to blame, but also the forwards. Defensive responsibility has been a constant phrase used by green when talking about a player like Goldy. You can have skill in this league, but pulling a Gretzky and gliding back is a no-no. (Especially when you’re not near Gretzky’s ability) Let’s get back to the defensemen though. The Canucks got rid of two players that could skate with the puck….if they wanted to…Hutton and Pouliot. They were replaced with two big guys. (Benn and Myers) I’m not sure if I can offer other positive adjectives to them yet.
I thought the roster was set in stone and then Green told Jim to waive Sven. It was a surprise to me because I didn’t think management would have the pucks to do so. Sven is a great guy, with a history of concussions and long recovery times. Management said he looked hesitant at times on the ice. Having a player who doesn’t want to get physical is not ideal in this game. I wish Sven the best and hope he can get back in the battles. Would having Sven on the second or third line makes this a playoff team? No.
There are certain things that will have to happen for this team to make the playoffs. Winning is the obvious answer, so let’s then address how this team will win games.
#1 – The powerplay has to be above 20%.
People always complain about lack of pushback when Canuck stars get hacked. One sure way to stop some of that nonsense is to make them pay on the powerplay. Powerplays are momentum builders during a game. Teams take less liberties and it actually makes life a little easier for Petey and Brock if the team starts converting chances.
#2 The PK has to be above 80%.
Poor team defense leads to players being out of position and taking dumb penalties. I’m talking to you Vancouver. I doubt these mistakes disappear so the team better be able to kill off those penalties. I would really like to see Van be at the team that takes the fewest amount of penalties, but will settle for them killing off four out of every 5.
#3 Petey, Brock and Bo all have to play at least 75 games.
If the Canucks want two scoring lines, then these players have to be out there.
#4 Jordie Benn can’t be a 1st or 2nd pair guy.
I say this because we have players who have more talent above him. He just might end up on those pairings, but if that is the case then this team is probably screwed anyways.
#5 Besides the players in #3, two other forwards will have to score 20 goals.
This is where people will look at the move to waive Sven and say he could have done that. There is stat to prove he has ever done it before, but they will say he “could” have. I would except every other forward with 15 goals each, but that won’t happen. J.T. Miller and Ferland are the two likely candidates to score 20+…..they better do it.
#6 Marky has to play more his last 20 games last year and less like himself at other times of the year.
The end of last year might be the best thing for Marky or the worst. He showed the fans that he could steal a game. Unfortunately they will now expect this to be the norm instead of a treat.
#7 Tyler Motte and Tim Schaller need to stay in the press box.
I shouldn’t have to explain this one.
Let’s say 5 out of these 7 things occur…..I still don’t think the Canucks make the playoffs. It is going to be tight in the division and conference this year. Prove me wrong Canucks!
KENT BASKY: Where to start? Well, let’s be blunt: For this team to make the playoffs, a LOT of things will have to go their way. And for a team that is historically known for not getting the bounces, it’s not looking good. That’s not to say they’re gonna end up in the basement this season. They’re gonna get close, but there’s too many teams that are better than them in the West that unless there’s some kind of cosmic shift, the 5th straight postseason miss will be their reality.
Things we should expect: Elias Pettersson hitting 35 goals (and we shouldn’t be shocked if he hits 40). JT Miller and Micheal Ferland will prove to be good pickups by the Canucks. Tyler Myers? Not so much. The bottom 6 will continue to be a source of concern, and while Quinn Hughes will be a beacon of hope on the back end, the Canucks D will continue to keep us awake at night. Oh, and Bo Horvat will be the captain.
The power play will be better, the PK will continue to be average, and the Canucks will get solid performances from Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko. And while the team will score more this season, they will still struggle to give their goaltending the kind of goal support they need again this year.
All of this hinges on their health. If they can somehow avoid the catastrophic injury levels of the past half-decade, there’s a shot. It should be noted that oddsmakers have them at around a 40% chance of making the playoffs. You know, the same as they’re giving the Oilers. I want them to make it, but it will be a genuine surprise if they do.