Over the last decade the Vancouver Canucks have won more regular season games than all but five NHL teams. Their fans have bought up every ticket since 2002, and this organization has some of the nicest facilities and big time budget in the league. However they have not made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1994. They are also one of 11 teams out of the 30 NHL franchises who have not made a conference finals since the year 2000. When they bowed out of the playoffs last year, General Manger Mike Gillis vowed that he would surround his core players with a ton of secondary talent.
Head Coach Alain Vigneault is entering his fifth year as the Canucks coach. In that time he has compiled a record of 182-114-32, and he knows better than anyone that the second round of the playoffs is not the Stanley Cup finals. I hate to quote Marty Mornhinweg but for the Canucks this year the bar is high. Alain demands that his forwards back check, and that his defense joins the attack. They are a very fun team to watch, and anyone who pigeon holes Alain as a defensive coach, should remember that this was the second highest scoring team last year.
This team’s breakout candidate may be Alex Edler. He showed what a force he can be in last year’s playoffs. He has all the skills to be a dominating figure on the ice. He is big, physical, and mobile. However he is not mean, and may need a mean streak to really dominate opponents.
Key Additions- D Dan Hamhuls, C Manny Maholtra, RW Victor Oreskovich, LW Jeff Tambellini, D Keith Ballard, and C Joel Perrault
Key Subtractions- RW Steve Bernier, RW Michael Grabner, G Andrew Raycroft, D Brad Lukowich, and D Nathan McIver