The 2020-21 season wasn’t easy for the Vancouver Canucks. It was even worse for their fans, especially the ones who like to make some bets on their number one team. It all started when the off-season hit and they lost two of their most important core players. Their starter goaltender Jacob Markstrom and defenceman Chris Tanev signed with the Calgary Flames. They also lost Tyler Toffoli and Troy Stecher, both of whom signed deals that were easy to be signed with the Canucks. However, that didn’t happen and they paid the price. The Canucks ended up last in the North Division and, even though there were multiple other factors besides those four players leaving, their fans were pretty disappointed. Nevertheless, the 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks season starts in three months and there’s more to be happy about than in the last season (even though it doesn’t feel like it).
Three Reasons To Be Excited For The 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks
Reason #1: Healthy Elias Pettersson
This was not an easy season for Elias Pettersson. The 22-year-old suffered an injury early in the season and things were not looking good. Considering his two first seasons in Vancouver were big successes, his third was strange. He was missing goals that he used to make look easy, missing passes and not being the player he was before. And the Canucks fans started to get anxious. In April, it was made public that Pettersson had suffered a wrist injury and would be sidelined. The injury turned out to end his season and he had to take a step back from hockey to treat it.
However, the good news is that the Swede is back practicing and shooting pucks like used to be. Pettersson is slowly getting back to the rhythm he had before. Having him healthy is a huge improvement for the Canucks, as he is one of their best players and top scorer. He was missed on and off the ice, and if anyone doubted he was a difference-maker, now there’s no doubt anymore. Of course, Pettersson still needs a new contract, but the Canucks general manager won’t leave him without one for long.
Reason #2: The New Backup Goaltender Situation
The Canucks lost their number one goaltender when Markstrom left to the Flames less than a year ago. They then proceeded to sign Braden Holtby, who has been declining since 2018. They already had Thatcher Demko, who was believed to be ready to take the net for himself. However, the plan didn’t work out quite the way it was planned. Vancouver needed two netminders who could hold the fort when everything else fell apart. However, that wasn’t exactly what they got.
Thankfully, the 2020-21 season is over and in the past now. Last season was a little disastrous but Benning might have learned from his mistakes and things are looking slightly better now in net. They signed Jaroslav Halak, former Boston Bruins backup goalie, who’s a bit more consistent than Holtby. If everything fails, they will have Michael DiPietro in the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks. He sure won’t mind giving his team a hand if needed.
Reason #3: The Young Players Are Ready
If there’s one good thing the Canucks fans can take from the past season is that Nils Höglander is here and he’s ready. The youngster showed tons of skill and succeeded under Travis Green’s system. He played well most nights and saved the team on more than one occasion. Watching him play and discover his NHL game was a delightful and fun ride. Höglander has a great NHL future and can be an amazing player for the Canucks for years to come.
Of course, Höglander is not alone in the “young guns” role. Vasili Podkolzin signed his entry-level contract and seems to be ready to go. The 2019 first-round pick by the Canucks has improved a lot since being drafted. This wasn’t his best regular season in the KHL with the SKA Saint Petersburg, but once the playoffs started his production went up. In 16 games, he scored six goals and 11 points, a contrast with the 11 points in 35 games from the regular season. Of course, the past two years were tough on prospects with COVID affecting the “normal” scenario works. He has shown a lot of potentials and can be really good for the Canucks. If there’s someone that could make fans want to find online casinos in Canada again, that’s him. It’s a reason to be excited about the 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks season!