Is the playoff drought over for the Vancouver Canucks? Fans hope that the team's rebuild phase is at a point where the club could reach the postseason for the first time since 2015.
The Vancouver Canucks, a team that has missed the postseason for the past four years, got busy in the offseason to balance out their roster of talented young players with some league veterans. The hope is that this signals a return to the playoffs after a lengthy rebuild.
Vancouver Canucks Acquisitions and Moves
There’s no question that the younger players on the Canucks roster are stars in the making. Elias Pettersson was the winner of the Calder Trophy, naming him the NHL rookie of the year last season, and he’s part of a dynamic group which also features Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and the 7th pick of the 2018 draft, Quinn Hughes. Hughes was only on the ice for five games last season, but he managed to notch five assists.
To bolster the lineup with some experience, the Canucks organized a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire forward J.T. Miller for a conditional first-round pick. Next, they brought in defensemen Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn as free agents. Myers had 31 points last season with the Winnipeg Jets. Their last big move was the signing of forward Michael Ferland, who had 31 points last season with the Hurricanes.
Travis Green, now in his third year as head coach of the Canucks believes just as much in the team’s youngsters as he does in the veterans brought in this summer, saying: “Everyone talks about how the guys we added over the summer are going to really help us, but they are going to help our young guys. Our young guys are the guys we are waiting on to see where they are at. We need our young players, who are elite talents, to continue to progress to take us to the next level.”
Vancouver Canucks 2019 NHL Schedule
It’s a milestone for the organization as 2019/2020 is the 50th season of the Canucks franchise in the NHL. To celebrate, the opening night game will be on Wednesday, October 9th against the Los Angeles Kings, which is the anniversary date and first Canucks opponent from their debut season in 1970.
The Canucks will enjoy their longest home stand this season for six games from February 8th to 22nd. The team has 13 road trips booked this season, with six games away from Vancouver being the longest trip, from November 19th to 30th. Their last game before the All-Star break will against the Sharks on January 18th and then they’ll return to the ice to face the Blues on January 27th. The team’s All-Star break coincides with the League’s mandatory bye week of eight days between games.
Vancouver Canucks 2019 NHL Odds
Oddsmakers don’t seem too confident in the Canucks’ abilities this season, giving them +2000 odds to win the conference, and the lowest odds (+1200) to win the Pacific Division.
Vancouver Canucks 2019 Season Prediction
Jim Benning made some major changes during the offseason that seem to signal a real desire to make the playoffs this year. The club is certainly stacked with up-and-coming franchise stars. Brock Boeser has been great in the preseason, and he recently resigned with the Canucks to a three-year contract extension worth an average yearly value of $5.875 million. Elias Pettersson has also started to get hot in the preseason, showing flashes of the scoring genius that Vancouver hopes to see much more of.
What could kill the Canucks’ postseason chance is their powerplay. Last year they tied for 22nd in the league and generated only 43 goals. Those numbers must improve for this club to make a real run of it. Another huge factor? Goaltending. Jacob Markstrom will need to be consistent and sharp to help his team reach the postseason for the first time since 2015. Thatcher Demko, his backup, is an exciting young player who has shown signs of greatness between the pipes.
So the big question is, are the Canucks improved enough to get to the Stanley Cup playoffs? A safe prediction is that the Canucks will finish fourth in the Pacific Division, and will miss the playoffs.