The Canucks definitely struggled with offense last season under the direction of Coach John Tortorella. Henrik and Daniel Sedin were the two leading scorers on the team, with Henrik scoring 50 points and Daniel scoring 47. But last season was the worst performance the Sedin Twins have given in a decade. But the Sedins were over played last season and were on the ice at all the wrong times− the penalty kill was definitely one of those times. With Tortorella out of Vancouver, and Willie Desjardins taking over duties as head coach, the Sedin twins should be able to make a comeback this season and post better numbers.
To support the Sedins, Vancouver acquired former Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata. Vrbata posted 51 points over 80 games last season with the Coyotes. If Vrbata can adjust to Vancouver’s lines, then he will do a great job bolstering the Canucks’ offense, as well as getting a few points on the board.
Over the offseason, Vancouver’s number 2 center, Ryan Kesler, was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa, and a first and third round draft pick. Vancouver’s offense is going to miss Kesler, but Bonino looks like he could become a great replacement for Kesler on the roster. Bonino brings a versatile two-way game to Vancouver, as well as high statistics for converting shots to goals.
Losing Jason Garrison is going to hurt the Canucks’ defensive pairings, but the remaining defensive talent on the Canucks should be able to fill in the holes on the blue line. Last season Chris Tanev stepped up took on more responsibility on the ice, which should earn him a consistent stop on the second defensive pairing.
Not only will Vancouver miss Garrison’s defensive play, but also the offense he was able to create. Garrison has a laser of a shot from the blue line, which helped him post 33 points last season. To make up for lost points, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa will need to shift their focus from a completely defense oriented game.
With the addition of Ryan Miller, Vancouver seems to finally have a reliable goaltending duo. After dealing Roberto Luongo to the Panthers before last season’s trade deadline, the Canucks picked up Miller from the St. Louis Blues, after being dealt from a struggling Sabres team. With a stronger defense in front of him, Miller will hopefully be able to come close to his Olympic caliber style of play once again.
Backing up Miller will be Swedish goaltender, Eddie Lack. In his first NHL season, Lack played 41 games and posted a .912 SV% and a 2.41 GAA. Lack will most likely not see as many starts this season, provided that Miller can stay healthy.
Overall, Vancouver should have solid and consistent goaltending this season; especially now that Vancouver’s goaltending drama is a thing of the past.
With new coaching and management, I think this could be a comeback season for the Canucks. Vancouver spent the offseason building the team around the Sedins, and the twins are able to bounce back and post better number this season, the rest of the team can flourish with them.