October is right around the corner and the Canucks are in the process of trimming down the fat during preseason games. Optimism and bag skates are the order of the day. For the purpose of the article, I will assume the Petey and Quinn sign some sort of deal before the games become meaningful. If for some reason they don’t, then all of these points are shit and you should disregard them entirely. There always seems to be indications that the Canucks are a team that could be really good, but only if they can achieve certain goals, team and individually.....and the team has barely reached the simple goals I have set up each year. Maybe this is the year......
#1 - The Canucks need to be more special...specialer?...the specialist?....
The Canucks special teams were terrible last year. Ok...maybe not terrible, but definitely not good. (17.4% PP 25th in the league, 79.8% PK 17th in the league). No chance to be a playoff team with numbers like this. You would think that the PP has to be better this year if everyone stays healthy, but I am not sure the PK got better. With Erikkson, Beagle and Roussel gone, the Nucks will have to insert new blood into the system....and hope those newbies can score 5vs5 as well. The Nucks need to have a 23% PP and 83% PK to be have shot at being good this year.
#2 You can’t score if you don’t shoot....or maybe you just can’t score?
The Canucks averaged 29.1 shots a game last year. They only outshot opponents 14 times last year. That stat shows one of two things or the dreaded combo...
a) The Canucks offence can’t create offence. Unwillingness to shoot...inability to jump on rebounds...
b) The Canucks are trapped in the own end for too long and can’t breakout to create offence.
3. Defense you say? Never heard of it.
I know I sound like a broken record, but fuck....the Canucks defensive system is bad. 33.4 shots against a game and 4th worst shot differential in the league. So many issues with this team in their own end. “But....the defenseman have sucked...not Quinn...we love him....but his defensive skills are weak....but he skates fast!” All of that is true, but the forwards have been bad in their own end as well. Something is broken.
If a player is skilled in the offensive area and knows where to go to get the puck to get a shot off.....why can’t they use that knowledge to defend? The only answers I have is that the player either is a glider and lazy in their own end....or the system they are in, prevents them from making decisions to adjust. Travis....send me an email if I am off base. ( @sedated_)
#4 Brock “fucking” Boeser.
You know what can motivate a player to play at a level you may never see again? It’s not a Lord Stanley’s cup......it’s a new contract. Brock was the man last year due to Petey’s injury. Imagine getting the same Brock with a healthy Petey.....imagine....
Brock will still be an RFA, but really this is his first UFA contract where he gets to cash in. The question really is......will it be the Canucks who get him to sign a contract or will a terrible start to the year mean Brock gets shipped out for some 1st round picks in March?
Either way, Brock should be playing like a man possessed.
5. The Canucks need to score.......more.
29th in the league when it came to Goals For. Realistically, even in the last shortened year, the Canucks needed 30 more goals to be a playoff contender. I’m not sure how that occurs this year unless there are truly 3 lines that can score goals.
I will be honest....I don’t think this team is a top ten team in the league and will struggle to make the playoffs. I look forward to being proven wrong by this team....please prove me wrong.