“Don’t cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
While the remarkable run of the Canucks under Bruce Boudreau has come to an end with the team barely failing to make the playoffs, there is optimism regarding the franchise’s future.
In the last 2 games of the season, the Canucks picked up 3 of a possible 4 points with a 3-2 overtime victory over the LA Kings on Thursday night, followed by a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
In total, the Canucks picked up 92 points this season, falling six points shy of a playoff spot.
However, it is important to note that ever since Bruce Boudreau took over as the team’s head coach on December 5, the Canucks had a record of 32-15-10 and played at a 106-point pace for the remaining two-thirds of the season.
As such, when you factor in some of the players potentially taking the next step in their development next season, coupled with possible improvements to the roster this summer, there is no doubt that on the basis of the team’s record under Bruce Boudreau, the Canucks may very well challenge for the top spot in the division next year should they play all their cards right.
With that, for the final time this season, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con from the last 2 Canucks’ games, as well as a concluding thought as we officially wrap up season one of the Pro-Con-Clusion series.
Pro: Spencer Martin giving fans another reason to be excited
Ever since Jacob Markstrom departed the Canucks organization via free agency in the infamous 2020 offseason, there is no denying the fact that outside of Thatcher Demko, there has been a bit of a stability crisis at the backup position.
After losing Markstrom to Calgary about a year and a half ago, the Canucks hoped to fill the void left by the departure of the Vezina caliber goaltender by respectively signing a couple of established veteran goaltenders in Braden Holtby and Jaroslav Halak.
However, it is safe to say that both of these individuals underperformed in the Canucks’ crease, and considering that the team will be paying Holtby and Halak $3.15 million in dead cap next season, the team needed a cheap and stable netminder to backup Thatcher Demko down the line.
Enter, Spencer Martin.
Supporting a record of 19-4-2 in 25 starts for the Abbotsford Canucks this season, Spencer Martin was thrust into action with the Vancouver Canucks on six different occasions this season.
In a total of 6 starts for Vancity, the 26-year-old has put up an astounding save percentage of .950, while also posting a Goals Against Average of 1.74.
As a matter of fact, with a record of 3-0-3, Martin neither lost a single game in regulation nor did he give up more than 2 goals in any of his six starts for the team.
On Thursday against LA, Martin turned aside 33 of 35 shots in a 3-2 overtime victory for the Canucks.
On Friday night, despite playing in back-to-back games, Martin continued to excel, as the Ontario native turned aside 31 of 33 shots, as well as 5 of 6 shots in the shootout in a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
With Jaroslav Halak being a pending UFA and with Spencer Martin picking up a team-friendly 2-year contract extension recently, it is very likely that the 26-year-old will be the team’s backup goaltender behind Thatcher Demko next season, and considering the impressive numbers Martin put up in his few starts this year, fans would certainly be excited to see his performance in a full season with the team.
Con: Miller’s near-miss in reaching the 100 point threshold
With the 2021-22 season in the books, JT Miller has become the first Canucks player to cross the 90-point threshold ever since Daniel Sedin put up 104 points during the most memorable season in team history back in 2010-2011.
Putting up a total of 32 goals and 67 assists for 99 points in 80 games this year, Miller certainly gave the Canucks every bang for their buck.
Perhaps this remarkable production by the 29-year-old could be attributed as the biggest reason why the Canucks only scored 13 fewer goals this year than they did in the 2010-11 season.
However, there is no denying the fact that while 99 points is an amazing feat to achieve in this league, it would have been great had Miller been able to hit 100 points for this season.
Regardless, there is no doubt that Miller exceeded all expectations that were set for him this year, and while there is some uncertainty regarding whether or not the 29-year-old would indeed be a Canucks player next season, he has certainly put his name in the franchise's record books by putting up one of the most productive individual seasons in team history.
Concluding thought: A huge thank you to all of our readers!
As we conclude the 41st feature and the season finale of the first installment of the Pro-Con-Clusion series, I would like to take this time to thank everyone who has constantly read our articles throughout the season while also sharing their thoughts and views with us in the comments.
This season was certainly filled with a plethora of ups and downs and, without a shadow of a doubt, the 2021-22 NHL campaign can be called one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory for the Canucks.
It was a wonderful experience breaking down Canucks games and providing weekly scouting reports and articles for you wonderful readers of ours!
Do let me know what you liked about the Pro-Con-Clusion series and what you would like me to improve upon for the future. Also, please let me know if you would to see a season 2 for this series once the puck drops on the 2022-23 NHL campaign.
Hopefully, with a summer of hard work and right decisions, we may finally get the chance to see a Canucks team that is fully capable of winning the Stanley Cup very shortly down the line.
Till next season Canucks fans, stay safe and have a great summer!
Go Canucks Go!