The following is a guest post from Carlo Magno, a high school student in the greater Toronto area who is participating in a school internship program with Hockey World Blog. In his free time, Carlo loves watching the Toronto Maple Leafs and playing NHL 21 on PS5.
After the incredible playoff run from last season in the bubble, the most disappointing team this season has to be the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks had high expectations from their hometown fans as well as fans from around the league.
With great young talent like Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Thatcher Demko, it is not surprising that everyone was expecting them to be a solid team. Unfortunately, Pettersson did not get off to a great start at the beginning of the season with only one point in his first six games. Since then, however, it seems that he is back on the right track.
Hughes and Boeser both started the season hot, with 21 and 22 points in their first 24 games, respectively. While those are good numbers, they have not always led to wins as the Canucks play in one of the hardest divisions this season.
One of the struggles for the Canucks has been their goaltending situation. They signed veteran netminder Braden Holtby in the off-season hoping for a bounce back year, but it hasn’t paid off as they were expecting. Holtby has a 3.57 GAA and a .894 SV% in 12 games played with a disappointing 4-6-2 record.
Meanwhile, Thatcher Demko has a 12-12-1 record with a .918 save percentage in 25 games played and a 2.77 GAA. The Canucks took a chance on Demko this season as their starting goalie after an incredible playoff performance in the bubble. The result, however, was losing Jacob Markstrom to free agency.
With goaltending looking inconsistent at times, the Canucks might find themselves in a tough situation if Holtby or Demko can’t step up and find their game again. Without their terrific play, the Canucks may find themselves on the outside looking in at the end of the season.
Overall, it seems that fans are surprised that the Canucks have gotten off to such a slow start. With a losing record of 16-18-3, and the trade deadline quickly approaching, there will be some big decisions to make for GM Jim Benning. Will he pull the plug on the season, or go all in again hoping Demko and Pettersson can spark the club enough to lead them on another playoff run.