Well here we go again, another season is about to start. Hopes are high, as they are every year, and really as they should be. As a miserable bastard, I even have hope at the start of every season. It’s what you do in September/October. Although, this year according to the experts, we shouldn’t have any hope apparently.
(The latest triumvirate; photo from Canucks Twitter)
Obviously I am a massive homer, and have Canucks-coloured glasses, but I find it hard to believe this team will finish dead last. I’m not saying they’ll win the division, but when I look at the other teams in the league I am not that impressed. Carolina, Colorado, Edmonton, Buffalo, New Jersey, Minnesota, Calgary, Arizona, Ottawa, Toronto, and even Anaheim and the New York Islanders all look bad, or shaky at best.
I know this sounds absurd as several of these teams were playoff teams last season, or close to it. Colorado’s coach, the ‘lovable’ Patty Roy, quit late in the summer, and they have been struggling. The Islanders lost three key Forwards in Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin, and no offense, but Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera won’t make up those points. Also, all three of those guys had some fairly lengthy tenures with the Islanders, so those are big losses.
Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Buffalo all have bright futures with some major prospects and young, NHL-ready talent, but they are also still trying to find their legs. Colorado and Arizona kind of fall into this category as well, but I see them more as question marks than anything else.
New Jersey made a great move acquiring Taylor Hall, but they are the same team they were last year, now with Taylor Hall. Minnesota barely made the playoffs last year, and have made a few changes, but who knows if they will improve.
My only point is there are a lot of question marks between the middle of the road and dead last in the NHL. We saw it with Calgary last year, coming off a surprisingly good year, and then regressing. Injuries, under-performers, not NHL-ready prospects, trade-requests, etc. always come up through a season. If the Canucks do finish last I will not be shocked, but I’m not counting on it.
We can argue all day about if they are rebuilding or trying to make the playoffs, but that is another, 10,000 word post. However, when you look at who was lost (Dan Hamhuis, Radim Vrbata, Jared McCann, Linden Vey, and Yannick Weber), I’m not ready to scream the sky is falling. Hamhuis and Vrbata were the only everyday players, and both under-performed from previous years.
This year we see a hopefully injury-free season from Brandon Sutter, and have added Erik Gudbranson and Loui Eriksson, as everyday NHL players. Philip Larsen comes over from Edmonton, and will presumably see some Power Play time. Also, some of “the kids” will see more time, with Brendan Gaunce and Jake Virtanen making the team.
I know the “Fancy Stats” (shoutout to Pucks on Net, Cawwww!) say this team is dead last, but I’m just not seeing compared to what’s out there. One too many question marks for a lot of teams for me to believe this. But I do look forward to having this post sent to me in April 2017. I am keeping the faith though, but hey, I’m a Detroit Lions fan, so take that for what it’s worth.