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NHL 2018-19 Season Team Previews: Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks NHL Team Preview

When the Canucks season kicks off on October 3, it will be a sad day in Vancouver. It will mark the first time in almost two decades that the Canucks roster will no longer have the Sedin twins. Henrik and Daniel Sedin retired at the end of last season. The Canucks are in a clear rebuild and it will be even harder now as they lose two of their great leaders.

The Canucks finished last season with a 31-40-11 record. That put them ahead of only the Coyotes in the Pacific Division standings. The Canucks tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the fifth worst record in the entire NHL.

Vancouver made some questionable moves during the offseason. They added veteran depth players, which you would usually add if you were planning on making a playoff run. Vancouver does not have the roster to be vying for a playoff spot this season, so all it did was take up cap space.

Forwards

The Canucks have some nice prospects on their NHL team. Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen and Elias Pettersson all add talent to this roster. Boeser led the team in goals and tied for the team lead in points last season with 29 goals and 55 points. Horvat had 44 points. Virtanen only had 20.

Pettersson did not play last season, but I expect him to break into the lineup this year. Pettersson played in the SHL last season and recorded 56 points in 44 games. Pettersson will likely start out the season in the bottom six, but he will have plenty of opportunities to move up in the lineup.

Vancouver’s forward lineup is littered with veteran forwards. Loui Eriksson and Sam Gagner are both returning to the Canucks from last season. Vancouver signed Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle and Tim Schaller in the offseason this season, which confused a lot of people. All three players are bottom six forwards that are aging.

I expect Vancouver to be active around the trade deadline this season. They will look to trade their veteran forwards to teams battling for playoff positions for prospects and picks. This will weaken their forward core for the last stretch of the season, while helping them build for the future.

I expect the younger talent to be the best players for Vancouver. Without a solidified core though, I do not expect the Canucks to be a competitive team this season.

Defenseman

The defenseman on Vancouver are nothing to write home about. I expect Alexander Edler, Michael Del Zotto, Erik Gudbranson and Chris Tanev to make up the top 4. Edler led all of Vancouver’s defenseman in points last season with 34.

I expect Troy Stecher and Derrick Pouliot to make up the third defensive pairing. Pouliot had 22 points last season, while Stecher had 11. I believe Ben Hutton will be the healthy scratch to start the season, but he will see time during the season.

The Canucks have some great defensive prospects in the organization. Olli Juolevi was drafted in 2016 with the fifth overall pick. I expect Juolevi to appear with the Canucks at some point this season.

In this year’s draft the Canucks drafted Quinn Hughes and Jett Woo in the first and second round. Neither player looks like they will see time with the Canucks this season. Both players have yet to get their entry level contract, which means they will not be able to join the Canucks or their AHL affiliate.

While the Canucks have some good prospects for the future, the defensive core looks weak for the upcoming season. Vancouver does not have a true top pairing, which will allow other team’s top lines to dominate.

Goalies

The Canucks will likely have Jacob Markstrom as their starting goalie to start the season. Markstrom finished last season with a .912 save percentage and a GAA of 2.71. Anders Nilsson will probably backup Markstrom. Nilsson finished last season with a .901 save percentage and a 3.44 GAA.

Vancouver has Thatcher Demko, which is one of the top goalie prospects in the NHL. Demko got one appearance last season, where he allowed four goals on thirty shots in route to a win. I expect Demko to get another shot at the NHL this season. If he impresses I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays on as a backup instead of Nilsson.

Overview

The Canucks have a solid foundation for the future but are not set up for success this season. Vancouver has no real defined star player and is lacking depth throughout their lineup. I expect them to be trading plenty of their veteran players around the deadline, which will only weaken their lineup for the final stretch of the season.

BetOnline has not released this year’s win totals for the NHL, but I expect the Canucks to be somewhere around 30 ½ wins. The Canucks lost a huge part of their team in the Sedin twins this offseason and I believe that will take a hit on an already weak Canucks team.

Vancouver is in the Pacific Division, which is extremely competitive. Vegas, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles all made the playoffs last season. Edmonton has one of the best NHL players in Connor McDavid. Arizona and Calgary both made offseason moves to try and become competitive.

After all these moves, Vancouver got left behind and I believe it will show. The Canucks will struggle throughout the season and I believe your best bet is to bet under the Canucks win total.

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