HSS Writer and all around hockey fanatic Kristian Johnston-Galvez will be taking us coast to coast in a seven part series recapping the state of every Canadian NHL Franchise. We’re starting off in the west coast (Vancouver) and will make our way out east (Ending with Montreal).
The Vancouver Elias Petterssons had a season relatively on par with expectations. They missed the playoffs, but did not finish dead last in the West. For the recent Canucks, this is as successful as they’ve come (in the previous three seasons combined they have the least amount of points in the standings).
They gunned it out of the gate, propelled by Elias Pettersson torching every goalie and defender he saw for about 6 months, and then cooling down significantly. As he cooled, so did the Canucks. They slowly lost they grip on a playoff spot, and never got it back.
No questions need to be asked about Pettersson’s talent though, despite his scoring slump near the end. He was hyped as a prospect and it is quite obvious he was undersold.
No seriously he’s unbelievable.
This man is light as a feather and shoots like he’s Shea Weber.
THOSE HANDS TOO. IN. CREDI. BLE.
Just watch this super-star. This is a franchise player.
As far as overall standings go, they actually did come closer to the playoffs than most people would have thought. A testament to the real development going on there. Pettersson is a star, but they have true gems like Boeser and Horvat that leave optimism as they grow.
The prospect pool is VERY deep in Vancouver. Quinn Hughes is going to be a top pair guy for a long time. Olli Juolevi is back to seeming like a top notch prospect, and there’s still guys like Dahlen coming up soon. They could do some real skyrocketing in the next few years.
On top of that they took smart bets on guys like Josh Leivo and Tanner Pearson. To their credit Leivo is just killing it playing with Boeser and Pettersson, forming a tremendous line of young men that can do some serious damage next season.
Goaltending was not a forte, but they’ve got two guys coming that’ll make sure they never have to worry about goaltenders again. Thatcher Demko and Mikey DiPietro. By again I mean until October 31st, when the entire city, including the coaching staff, is fighting over who should be the starting goalie. Vancouver and Philadelphia NEVER escape the goalie wars.
They’ll need to get rid of the anchors they signed for no reason though. Way too much money tied up in good ol’ veterans. Beagle, Roussell, Eriksson, etc, they need to be on the move to make space for the young guns.
Maybe someone in upper management takes away Jim Benning’s ability to sign free agents. Seems like his kryptonite, he sure can draft though. So limit his weakness, exploit his strengths. There’s a clear example of what can go wrong when you let your GM make choices that are not inspired by speed and skill. They finished two points below the Canucks this season, with McDavid on their roster…. (hint: we’ll talk about them next)