This season was definitely one to forget for the Vancouver Canucks. From the COVID outbreak to the Jake Virtanen situation to the interesting moves made by general manager Jim Benning. The Canucks went from a top-four team in the playoffs to being last in the offensive-driven North division. Although they missed star Elias Pettersson due to a wrist injury sustained in March, everyone expected them to be top contenders after a surprising bubble season. The Canucks finished with a record of 23-29-4. This Vancouver Canucks offseason will be pivotal for the team’s future.
Vancouver Canucks Offseason Brings a Retool
The Canucks have a few areas they need to improve. Number one is offence. With a struggling top six group, the Canucks carried a 2.60 goals for per game rate which is 25th in the league. As a result of this, they were also bottom of the league in shots per game. Second, defence. The team has a 3.28 goals against per game rate. Now you can understand why the team was so bad. On that note, they also allow the third-most shots on goal in the league. As a result of this, they have many goals against, which can also explain why they get scored on so often. Last but not least, they have probably the worst depth in the entire league. Look at their bottom two lines and it’ll be easy to identify.
Most people thought the Canucks GM was guaranteed to be gone after this season but he’s officially back. One of the few good things he did this season was re-signing young goalie Thatcher Demko to a five-year, $5 million AAV contract. Who at one point was in Vezina contention. Another good move by Benning was letting go of Jordie Benn. He gave him away for nothing but he really didn’t impact the team. Plus he was taking up two million which could easily go to fourth-line centermen. Resigning their future goalie and freeing up two million was good for the team. They also got a good look at some of their AHL players who could possibly be valuable to them in the coming up season. The Vancouver Canucks will look for a bounce-back season from Nate Schmidt and defensive improvement from Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers.
Going into a very important offseason where you need to resign key players you’d never extend a 28-year-old below-average player. Wrong, Jim Benning did exactly that. He gave Tanner Pearson a three-year, $3.25 million AAV contract. A con you could also point out is the COVID outbreak which seemed to really impact the team however, it’s not on them for getting the virus. There wasn’t much to their season, they didn’t play well offensively or defensively and they didn’t have much to their lineup. You can expect that anything next season will be better than this season.
Key Vancouver Canucks Offseason Signings
The top two signings people will be waiting for this season are stars Elias Petterson and Quinn Hughes. Two of the up-and-coming stars are expected to each get a payday. Hughes contract is projected to be around seven million while Pettersson is projected to go for a bridge deal, projections credited to evolving hockey. These signings will require them to let some guys walk. Some guys the Canucks could let walk are Brandon Sutter ($4.375M), Jimmy Vesey ($900K), Alexander Edler ($6M), Travis Hamonic ($1.25M), Travis Boyd ($700K), and Marc Michaelis ($700K). Lots of people won’t like the idea of letting Edler walk but he hasn’t been good the last few years for Vancouver so letting him go will free up lots for the team. They have the chance to free up some valuable space. Let’s hope they’re smart.
Vancouver Canucks Offseason Target Players
With the leftover cap space after resigning Hughes and Pettersson, the Canucks should go after depth. They had absolutely no help from the bottom six. Some targets could be Jason Spezza, Evan Rodrigues, Carl Soderberg, Barclay Goodrow, or Tomas Nosek. They have a decent d core who had a bad season, that’s all. They do have the option to add a bottom pair player and if they let Edler walk, they’ll for sure need to acquire a defenseman as someone slides into the top pair. A few options are Michael Del Zotto, Jamie Oleksiak, or Mike Reilly. The team isn’t all bad. They’re solid in goal and their top six is great. Look at all the cup-winning teams, they all have one thing in common. Depth. The Canucks can be a legit team next year. Vancouver will also look to have a good draft this year as they can snag an elite prospect in round one.
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