(Photo : (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)) ST LOUIS, MO – FEBRUARY 23: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his game-winning purpose with Quinn Hughes #43 towards the St. Louis Blues in extra time at Enterprise Center on February 23, 2023 in St Louis, Missouri.
For the previous decade, the Vancouver Canucks have been misplaced within the NHL’s wilderness. Now, a core led by the transcendent Elias Petterson at heart and the dominant Quinn Hughes on protection have the Canucks squarely related within the league.
The retirement of legendary twin forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin on the finish of the 2017-2018 season marked the tip of an period. One that introduced the group to the precipice of the Stanley Cup in 2011, and one which led to a string of roster mismanagement and poor planning.
Without the Sedins, the Canucks struggled to forge an identification, and although it has been clear for years that Petterson and Hughes are franchise-caliber stars, the crew has didn’t encompass them with the expertise wanted to actually compete with the likes of Colorado, Vegas and Edmonton within the West.
The Canucks have made the playoffs simply as soon as since 2016, an look within the 2020 playoffs that happened within the bubble through the pandemic.
Vancouver Canucks: Emergent Stars Lead Team
That has all modified this yr, as goaltender Thatcher Demko has emerged as one of many league’s elite to provide Vancouver a triumvirate of stars; a top-line heart, top-pair defender, and beginning goaltender, the three most important spots within the lineup.
Career years from J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser and Filip Hronek have helped produce supplementary offense, whereas depth items like Sam Lafferty, Tyler Myers, and Pius Suter have supplied stability to the underside of the roster that has been missing in years previous.
Veteran first-year head coach Rick Tocchet has tailored to the strengths of this roster and let the crew actually prepare dinner offensively.
Miller, Hughes, and Petterson every have over 50 factors. Miller is tied for fourth within the league in scoring, Petterson is tied for sixth, and Hughes is tied for twelfth.
Vancouver Canucks: Recent Road Trip
While many query the crew’s potential to maintain acting at this degree as a result of crew’s save and taking pictures percentages bordering unsustainably excessive, the Canucks put at the least a number of issues to relaxation with a latest East Coast street journey.
The Canucks knocked off the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders in 4 nights, then took down the Penguins in extra time and the Sabres in shutout style in a sport that began at midday as a result of winter storm in Buffalo.
The five-game streak in a tricky portion of the schedule helped buoy the Canucks to the highest spot within the Pacific Division.
It’s a loaded Western Conference this yr with the Winnipeg Jets rising as a dominant power together with the scorching-hot Oilers and the final two Stanley Cup champions within the Avalanche and Golden Knights nonetheless hanging round, however the Canucks are within the hunt and promise to be a tricky out within the postseason.
Over the long term, Vancouver will compete so long as Petterson, Hughes, and Demko are intact because the crew’s core and acting at a excessive degree.
Hughes is on a sweetheart deal long-term, and the crew nonetheless has three extra years of Demko assured, however Petterson’s impending contract shall be attention-grabbing. He’s due an enormous elevate from his present wage of $7.36 million, and holding his quantity long run below $12 million could be a win for the crew’s cap flexibility.
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