2018-19 Record (35-36-11) 81 Pts
With the arrival of super-rookie Elias Pettersson, an entire fan base was rejuvenated. Pettersson burst onto the scene and won the hearts of the entire province. The Canucks overall season can be envisioned as a wild roller coaster ride. A promising start derailed by injuries to key veterans which saw the team once again failing to qualify for the postseason. Despite being a slightly below .500 team the Canucks season showed great promise. With the retirement of the Sedins, the reigns have clearly been turned over to the core youth of the team. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat, along with Pettersson and the late-season arrival of Quinn Hughes have created an unparalleled optimism for this organization going forward.
Team MVP – Jacob Markstrom
Jacob Markstrom was named as the club’s Most Valuable Player, although it could have just as easily been awarded to Elias Pettersson. Markstrom had a record of 28-23-9 with a .912 save percentage and 2.77 goals-against average. He held the Vancouver Canucks in most games throughout the season, giving them a chance to win when they otherwise wouldn’t have. Markstrom established himself as a true number one netminder with his performance this past season.
Most Improved Player – Troy Stecher
Troy Stecher was, in my opinion, the most improved Canucks player last season. He had an increased workload due to the many injuries the team incurred. With that increased workload and responsibility he has entrenched himself as a top-four defenseman, thus reducing the workload of the often injured Chris Tanev.
Disappointment – Brandon Sutter
For me, the biggest disappointment of the past season was Brandon Sutter. Not only did he miss most of the season due to injuries, but when he played he failed to generate any type of offense. For a team desperate to find secondary scoring, his two assists were a testament to his lack of vision and creativity. His current contract is now seen by most as dead weight. That coupled with his lack of staying healthy and poor play have made him undesirable on the trade market.
Highlight of the Year
Canucks Depth Chart
Possible line combinations
1st line: J.T. Miller ( LW ); Pettersson ( C ); Boeser ( RW )
2nd line: Ferland ( LW ); Horvat ( C ); Pearson ( RW )
3rd line: Baertschi ( LW ); Gaudette ( C ); Virtanen ( RW )
4th line: Leivo ( LW ) ; Beagle ( C ); Sutter ( RW )
Extras: Goldobin, Motte, MacEwen, Schaller, Eriksson
Injury reserve: Roussel
1st pair: Edler – Stecher
2nd pair: Hughes – Myers
3rd pair: Benn – Tanev
Extras: Fantenberg, Biega, Juolevi, Sautner, Brisebois, Rafferty
Top Three Prospects
Quinn Hughes – Hughes should see regular duty with the Canucks this season and could challenge for the Calder trophy.
Vasili Podkolzin – Podkolzin has two years remaining on his contract in Russia and should see more playing time in the Kontinental Hockey League this season with St. Petersburg.
Olli Juolevi – A healthy Juolevi could challenge for a roster spot this season but is more likely to start the season with the Utica Comets.
Players Primed For a Breakout Season
Key Additions and Departures
J. T. Miller was acquired at the draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning and should be primed for a top-six role.
Hughes, a late-season addition last year will certainly help aide a blue-line which struggled last season with zone exits.
The Canucks chose to not bring back Ben Hutton, Derrick Pouliot, and Markus Granlund. Hutton had a plus/minus of -23, while Pouliot was prone to turnovers last season and Granlund struggled to generate any offense on a consistent basis.
Free Agent Signings
The Canucks have added three key additions to their defense core. They were able to add Tyler Myers, Jordie Benn, and Oscar Fantenberg. They also added depth signings in goaltender Zane McIntyre, center Tyler Graovac and more recently right-winger Justin Bailey. All three will likely end up in Utica. Most recently the Canucks have added Micheal Ferland on a four-year deal at 3.5M per season.
The Canucks would like to be able to free up additional cap space and move on from the contracts of Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter. They will likely have to add prospects or draft choices to those deals as sweeteners. The other trade chips that may be in play are Chris Tanev and Nikolay Goldobin.
The Canucks are hoping to still be able to move out a few players to create roster spots for players with more affordable contracts and to create some needed cap space.
The Canucks have a young core and a prospect cupboard that is reasonably well-stocked. After a few down years, the team seems headed in the right direction. If they are able to remain healthy they should challenge for a playoff spot this season and continue an upward trend for the foreseeable future.
You can discuss this article at the Overtime Heroics forums.