Vancouver Canucks 2008 Offseason Report
Is it me or were the Canucks really boring to watch last year? Only the New Jersey Devils can pull off being both boring and successful which means it may be time to look for offense. Vancouver’s 39-33-10 record was not good enough to make the playoffs and it left the club with another disappointing season.
Now, is a defensive style coach really good for the Canuck team?
They were the third worst scoring team in the West but have always had the talent to be in the top five. No, Vancouver does not have any “big time” players, especially after Markus Naslund signed with the Rangers. After the new highly formed skillful first line with the Sedin twins and newly acquired Pavol Demitra, the other three lines all have to be producing better numbers.
Though Ryan Kesler scored 21 goals, his 37 points must improve significantly for this team to make the post season. The same goes to Taylor Pyatt, Brad Isbister and Alexandre Burrows who combined for only 79 points on 07-08. With defensive minded Vigneault behind the bench, there is a whole lot of wasted speed on this team.
Vancouver was the sixth best team in the NHL on goals allowed which means they competed in every single game. This even with Kevin Bieska, Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo missing a combined 96 games last year proving the Canucks were very deep on the defensive end. I really think Vancouver is underrated in the back and play well under Vigneault’s system.
There is no question that Roberto Luongo is a player to build a franchise around but also a goalie that can be trusted. As good as he is Luongo still needs his team to provide him goals to take a little less pressure on him.
With Mike Gillis taking over for Dave Nonis as the GM, he will demand production from all the players on the team or else he will find another city for you to play in. Gillis expects better but will not get it, not without goals. Vigneault is not good for this team
The unfortunate passing of Luc bourdon this year really affected the team emotionally, mentally and skillfully. His potential in the league and on the Canucks was extremely high and he will be missed in every aspect of life. Vancouver will honor his life during their October 9 th home opening game.
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Notable top players staying for the Vancouver Canucks:
Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Sami Salo, Ryan Kesler, Taylor Pyatt, Alexandre Burrows, Mattias Ohlund, Willie Mitchell, Kevin Bieska
Vancouver Canucks - Players added via free agency & trades:
Kyle Wellwood, Steve Bernier, Pavol Demitra, Darcy Hordichuk, Mark Cullen, Jason Krog, Nolan Baumgartner
Vancouver Canucks - Players lost to free agency & trades:
What Vancouver has:
Goaltending. Luongo is the best goalie in the NHL, he just hasn’t had a team in front of him to help his numbers prove it.
Twins. The Sedin brothers are not players to build a team around but there are both very good players. If Demitra stays healthy, they both should reach 80 points next season.
An aggressive new general manager. Mike Gillis has no fear on trading, waiving or sending players to the minors. He will make sure to have the best team on the ice at all times.
What Vancouver needs:
Consistent seasons. In the past four seasons, the Canucks have alternated making the playoffs twice with over 100 points and have missed the playoffs twice. According to the pattern, Vancouver will reach the 100 point marker in 08-09.
More goals. Their 207 goals were the fourth worst in the Western Conference and dead last in the Northwest Division. With Demitra, the Canucks should score a few more; this is if Coach Vigneault changes his defensive style hockey.
To help Luongo. He faced over 2000 shots last season and still earned six shutouts. Though his starting defenders were mostly broken, the NHL is not a place for excuses; somehow Vancouver needs to give him a break.
Expectations for the Canucks next year:
Vancouver can finally move past the “Naslund, Morrison and Bertuzzi” era and be led by the Sedin twins. Even with Demitra, the Canucks cannot come out of the incredibly tight Northwest Division, unless an offensive minded coach comes in. I will be surprised if they break the 85 point barrier which makes the playoffs a no-no.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Director of Content
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