Saturday, September 21, 2019

Vancouver Canucks 2019-20 season preview



        It was an eventful offseason for the Canucks, as it seemed like they are sick of losing. With a young core, the Canucks added multiple veterans to hopefully put heir rebuild on the fast track. They could potentially have the Calder winner two years in a row as well, which isn't easy to do.

        Additions: JT Miller, Tyler Myers, Michael Ferland, Jordie Benn, Oscar Fantenberg, Justin Bailey, Tyler Graovac, Zane McIntyre

        Subtractions: Ben Hutton, Markus Granlund, Derrick Pouliot, Ryan Spooner, Luke Schenn, Tom Pyatt

        Forwards
Elias Pettersson was a Calder favorite entering 2018-19, and won the trophy by the season's end. He scored 28 goals with 66 points in 71 games. It was a very successful first year for the former 5th overall pick. Brock Boeser had a solid second year, with 26 goals and 56 points, but he failed to play in 70 games once again. Bo Horvat scored a career high 27 goals and 61 points. The Canucks sacrificed their upcoming first round pick for JT Miller. Miller scored 13 goals with 47 points for the Lightning last year, breaking his three year 20 goal streak. The Canucks signed Michael Ferland, who scored 17 goals with 40 points for Carolina in 2018-19. Former sixth overall pick Jake Virtanen scored a career high 15 goals and 25 points. Sven Baertschi played in just 26 games, and scored nine goals. Tanner Pearson struggled with the Kings and Penguins, and was traded for the second time midseason, this time to the Canucks. In just 19 games, Pearson scored nine goals, the same amount of goals he scored in 61 games with his previous two teams. In his first year in Vancouver, Antoine Roussel scored nine goals with a career high 31 points in 65 games. Loui Eriksson scored 11 goals with 29 points, the latter his most in three seasons with the Canucks. Josh Leivo was acquired from midseason, and scored 10 goals in 49 games. Overall, his 76 games played, 14 goals, 10 assists and 24 points were all career highs. Brandon Sutter played in just 26 games, with six points. Jay Beagle had a rough first season in Vancouver. He scored three goals with 13 points, and the defensive center was a minus player for the first time since 2013-14. Nikolay Goldobin's 27 points were a career high. In his first full season in Vancouver, Tyler Motte scored a career high nine goals. Tim Schaller had 10 points in 47 games in his first season with the Canucks.

           Defensemen
Longtime Canuck Alex Edler re-signed before hitting unrestricted free agency. He scored 10 goals with 34 points. He had a double digit goal total for the first time since 2011-12. The team signed Tyler Myers to a five year deal worth $30 million. The 6'8'' defender scored nine goals with 31 points for Winnipeg this past season. The often injured Chris Tanev enters a contract year. The defensive defenseman played in less than 60 games for the third consecutive season. He had 12 points in 55 games. The 2019-20 season will be the long awaited rookie season for Quinn Hughes. Hughes played in five NHL games last year, with three assists. In 32 games at the University of Michigan, Hughes had 33 points. Troy Stecher had 23 points, one less than his career high set in his rookie season. He is a good bottom pairing defenseman. The Canucks signed Jordie Benn to a two year deal. Benn's 22 points for the Canadiens last year were a career high. He was also a +15. The Canucks signed Swedish defenseman Oscar Fantenberg. In 61 games with the Kings and Flames last year, Fantenberg had four points. Playing in just 41 games last season, Alex Biega nearly doubled his career high point total, with 16 points.

          Goalies
In his second season as the Canucks' starter, Jacob Markstrom had a .912 SV% and a 2.77 GAA, finishing 10th in Vezina voting. Perhaps the team's second biggest prospect after Hughes, Thatcher Demko had a .913 SV% and a 2.81 GAA in nine games last year. He had a 2.58 GAA and a .911 SV% in 16 AHL games.

          Deep Depths
Even after the 16 forwards mentioned above, the Canucks still have good forward depth. Adam Gaudette had a weak rookie season, with 12 points in 56 games. In 63 NHL games over the past four seasons, Justin Bailey has nine points. Reid Boucher played in just one NHL game, but in the AHL he scored 31 goals with 62 points in 56 games. Defenseman Guillaume Brisebois played in eight NHL games at the end of the season.

          Up and Coming
Former fifth overall pick Olli Juolevi's future seems murky. He was already assigned to the AHL. He had 13 points in 18 AHL games last year. He needs to have a good AHL season to have an NHL chance in 2019-20. Goalie Michael DiPietro had a .920 SV% in 21 games for the Windsor Spitfires, but he was traded to the Ottawa 67's, and had a .897 SV% with Ottawa. He played in one NHL game, and allowed seven goals on 24 shots.

           2019 draft class
Round 1, 10th overall: Vasily Podkolzin
Round 2, 40th overall: Nils Hoglander
Round 4, 122nd overall: Ethan Keppen
Round 5, 133rd overall: Carson Focht
Round 6, 156nd overall: Arturs Silovs
Round 6, 175th overall: Karel Plasek
Round 6, 180th overall: Jack Malone
Round 7, 195th overall: Aidan McDonough
Round 7, 215th overall: Arvid Costmar

           Management
A former NHLer of almost 1,000 games, Travis Green enters his third season as Canucks Head Coach. The Canucks haven't had a season over .500 under Green. GM Jim Benning signed an extension in the offseason, which was a surprise to many.

           Projected Lineup
Michael Ferland - Elias Pettersson - Brock Boeser
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - JT Miller
Tanner Pearson - Jay Beagle - Jake Virtanen
Loui Eriksson - Brandon Sutter - Josh Leivo
Extras: Antoine Roussel, Tyler Motte, Tim Schaller, Nikolay Goldobin

           Alex Edler - Chris Tanev
           Quinn Hughes - Tyler Myers
           Jordie Benn - Troy Stecher
Extras: Oscar Fantenberg, Alex Biega

                       Jacob Markstrom
                       Thatcher Demko

             Prediction
The Canucks are an improved team. But, they still aren't good enough to make the playoffs. I predict the Canucks will finish 5th in the Pacific Division, but miss the playoffs in 2019-20.

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