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Recap #46: Juolevi doing himself no favours & Draft SZN, Part #1

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Also, is this the worst Canucks season of the 21st century?

NHL: APR 28 Canucks at Senators
Vancouver Canucks Defenceman Olli Juolevi (48) prepares for a face-off during second period National Hockey League action between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators on April 28, 2021, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I honestly thought that 2016-17 death march was going to be the lowest point for the Canucks franchise in some time.

It turns out, I was dead wrong.

Let’s be real, there’s been a lot of bad hockey in Vancouver over the last eight years dating back to Mike Gillis’s last season. However, I don’t think any year in the 21st century was worse than ‘16-17.

Until this season, that is.

In ‘16-17, expectations were low, but the Canucks still fell beneath them. They won two of their final 17 games and finished as the second-worst team in the league.

However, one of those wins was the 11th last game of the season. Tell me, just for fun, would tonight’s Canucks line-up beat this winning team?

Daniel Sedin — Henrik Sedin — Michael Chaput

Sven Baertschi — Bo Horvat — Reid Boucher

Jack Skille — Brandon Sutter — Jayson Megna

Joseph Cramarossa — Drew Shore — Alex Biega

Alex Edler — Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton — Nikita Tryamkin

Luca Sbisa — Troy Stecher

Poll

Would tonight’s roster beat the Canucks team above from four years ago?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Hell yeah
    (53 votes)
  • 41%
    Not a chance
    (38 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now

Regardless, this has to be the worst season in recent memory. Good teams continue to build towards continued success after a playoff birth. Instead, the Canucks took a major step back, are hampered by cap issues, had a player placed on leave for sexual misconduct, had their superstar miss the majority of the season, all while most of the team contracted COVID-19.

Hey, next year might not be good...but it can’t be any worse.

...Right?

Here’s what else is on my mind after the Oilers beat the Canucks 5-3, handing them their fifth straight loss.

NHL: MAY 03 Oilers at Canucks
Vancouver Canucks Defenceman Alexander Edler (23) warms up before playing the Edmonton Oilers during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on May 3, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Edler’s really trying

Will Alex Edler return to the Canucks next season?

I’m not so sure. The Canucks cap situation, coupled with the fact that Edler is no longer a viable top-four defenceman, could spell the end for the longest-tenured Canuck.

Now, Edler is still stuck on 99 goals for his career. It wasn’t for a lack of effort tonight, as he was tied for the team lead with five shot attempts.

Including last year’s playoffs, it’s now been 67 games since Edler’s last goal.

My prediction? He breaks that streak at Game 69 because...well, you know.

Thursday, May 6th against the Oilers...book it.

Let’s talk about Juolevi

Since we started on a “fun” throwback, let’s talk about a couple of players who were top-five picks in 2016.

Jesse Puljujarvi looked good tonight, and scored a goal during his revitalized run in Edmonton. He doesn’t look out of place alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but neither would Jim Benning if he were to lace up the skates in 2021.

Olli Juolevi, however, had a rough night. Last week I wrote about how the Canucks need to give him a longer rope, ideally taking away some of Edler’s minutes.

He didn’t earn any increased responsibility tonight. Juolevi looked timid on the puck, and had a couple of noticeable defensive zone turnovers.

The analytics backed up the eye test on this one, as Juolevi’s 30.8% shot attempt differential was the worst among all players in this game. That occurred despite the fact that he had no minutes against the McDavid line. Nearly half of his ice time was against the Tyler Ennis, Ryan McLeod, Josh Archibald line.

Green’s favourite line

Travis Green’s post-game pressure lasted about 78 seconds.

But hey, the coach thought it was “great.”

Aside from the quick exit, Green had one other notable line from the press conference.

“I thought one line had a great game tonight,” Green said in the presser. While he wouldn’t reveal the line at first, a GREAT follow-up question from Daniel Wagner of Vancouver is Awesome revealed that he was talking about Matthew Highmore, Tyler Graovac and Jayce Hawryluk.

The line broke even in terms of possession while forcing some turnovers. I wouldn’t describe it as “great,” but moderately competent would suffice.

Draft SZN Part #1

Unfortunately, it’s time.

After this game, the Canucks now have the eighth-worst winning percentage in the NHL.

So, let’s look at one of the players projected to be picked at eighth overall. According to Bob McKenzie’s draft rankings, the eighth-best prospect in this draft class is Kent Johnson.

The North Vancouver native obliterated the BCHL last year with 101 points in 52 games. As a freshman in the NCAA with Michigan, Johnson has posted 27 points in 26 games.

In terms of his style of play, Johnson has drawn comparisons to both Mitch Marner and another 1st rounder from the BCHL, Alex Newhook. In fact, our friends over at Raw Charge (SB Nation NHL’s site for the Tampa Bay Lightning) had him ranked at #2 in their draft rankings last April.

Yeah, the Canucks probably need a defenceman over a forward, but there’s nothing wrong with picking the best player available.

If they were to go down this route, I’d wager a bet that Johnson turns out better than the last local boy who was picked in the first round, but I digress.