As we strategy the top of the yr, PHR continues its take a look at what groups are grateful for in 2022-23. There additionally is likely to be a couple of issues your group would love down the street. We’ll study what’s gone effectively within the early going and what might enhance because the season rolls on for the Vancouver Canucks.
Who are the Canucks grateful for?
Amid turbulent occasions in Vancouver, the Canucks do discover themselves with one of many brightest items in your complete league: Elias Pettersson. Already a transparent star within the NHL, the 24-year-old took the following step this season with a large breakout, that includes 15 targets and 26 assists for 41 factors by means of simply 31 video games.
The younger Swede is signed by means of subsequent season at a $7.5M cap hit, expiring as a RFA, and was just lately listed as the one untouchable player within the Canucks group. Pettersson being “untouchable” may appear apparent on a group with a couple of superstars. However, that designation is considerably doubtful on a group that should resolve which path to go in.
Once this summer time begins, whatever the path the group chooses to go in, the group will certainly must concentrate on negotiations with their celebrity heart to maintain him from hitting the UFA market in a few years. Extensions with J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko are an encouraging signal of issues to return, however the points with captain and pending UFA Bo Horvat do increase considerations.
Regardless of contract considerations or the success of the present construct, Pettersson has taken himself from a strong top-six ahead to celebrity standing this season. Having him, whether or not that’s to hold the group on his again, to construct round, to finally deal for belongings or one thing else, is a blessing for the group, particularly because it goes by means of these troublesome occasions.
What are the Canucks grateful for?
Regardless of who’s untouchable or not in Vancouver, and impartial of how the group chooses to navigate its future, the group is fortunate to have a bevy of belongings that maintain substantial weight on the commerce marketplace for totally different causes. The most clear-cut of those is Horvat.
After negotiations appeared to interrupt down between the Canucks and Horvat’s camp, it appeared as if the struggling Canucks would doubtless deal their captain earlier than this winter’s commerce deadline.
Normally, the rental of a accountable two-way ahead who was additionally good for 60 factors would fetch a large haul in the marketplace, however that’s not essentially the story right here. This yr, Horvat has been a lot the identical participant with one important change: he’s on tempo for 60 targets. If Horvat retains that degree of manufacturing up, and even stays shut, Vancouver might be a package deal of picks and prospects not seen on the deadline in a while.
Another attention-grabbing pending UFA might be first-year winger Andrei Kuzmenko. The former KHL star selected to return to North America this offseason and after being pursued by numerous NHL groups, finally signed a one-year ELC with Vancouver. Expectations have been excessive for the winger, although he’s arguably eclipsed them, registering 29 factors, 14 of them targets, by means of 32 video games.
Outside of the “untouchable” Pettersson, maybe Vancouver’s largest asset might be Quinn Hughes, who Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman estimated would require a “mammoth” haul to get Vancouver to commerce him. The 23-year-old, signed by means of 2026-27 at a $7.85M cap hit, has blossomed into an elite playmaking defenseman for Vancouver. There’s no scarcity of groups who may discover themselves within the defenseman, although presumably the Canucks’ asking worth might drive them away. While there’s been no connection between the 2 groups, it’s attention-grabbing to contemplate the group best-equipped to make this sort of commerce, the New Jersey Devils, have already got each of Quinn’s brothers within the group.
What would the Canucks be much more grateful for?
A transparent path
After shedding their first seven video games to start out the season, the Canucks have been capable of bounce again, even discovering themselves simply a few factors out of a playoff spot at occasions. The group’s play hasn’t merely been mediocre because the tough begin however as a substitute has been up and down.
Comments and motion from administration have lead some to consider the group might be headed for a rebuild, some to consider they want a short-term reset and a few believing the group remains to be attempting to compete. Complicating the scenario is the group’s 2021-22 season and the offseason that adopted.
Last season was reasonably just like this one, a tough begin, adopted by a rebound, then simply lacking the playoffs. The group appeared to wish a transparent path final yr too, and re-signing new head coach Bruce Boudreau, extending J.T. Miller and signing Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev appeared to point the group was all-in. But, this complicated begin, the shortage of a Horvat extension and the beforehand mentioned feedback from administration nonetheless make that unclear.
It would appear what Vancouver wants most with a purpose to ice a group aggressive sufficient to compete for a Stanley Cup is just path. A full-scale rebuild may prolong the method, however the belongings they’ve now ought to carry again loads of high quality items. A brief re-tool would make sense given the gamers they’ve signed long-term and what they might get again for gamers like Horvat and Kuzmenko. Continuing to compete as is wouldn’t be shocking both, given the group’s means to bounce again and the gamers they’ve now, however that might be dangerous given Horvat’s contract standing.
What needs to be on the Canucks vacation wish listing?
A Horvat extension, or a large commerce package deal
Already mentioned intimately, the Canucks have had points extending Horvat and at this level, a commerce appears extra doubtless than ever. Even with damaged negotiations and a struggling group, it’s simple to grasp why the Canucks would nonetheless desire to work out a cope with Horvat.
It’s exhausting to think about, as long as they get a good deal, that anybody would blame the group both approach. The problem comes with Horvat’s means to easily go away on July 1. Obvious because it sounds, the Canucks can’t permit Horvat to easily stroll like Johnny Gaudreau did with the Calgary Flames final offseason, how Artemi Panarin did with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019 or how John Tavares left the New York Islanders in 2018.
What was the case for Calgary, Columbus and New York (enjoying in clear aggressive home windows or clear administration enhancements incoming) isn’t essentially the identical for Vancouver. The Canucks have loads of proficient gamers (a lot of them signed long-term), a legendary govt in Jim Rutherford and a star coach in Boudreau. Still, the group has been missing path for a couple of years now with no clear signal of a brand new one coming. Losing Horvat for nothing wouldn’t essentially decide for them on their path, however would make no matter choice they ultimately selected simply that rather more troublesome to achieve success with.