Can the Canucks Make the Playoffs?
The Canucks motto for 2014-2015 was “Change is Coming”. They certainly got that right.
After a horrid 2013-2014 year, which saw the firing of both coach John Tortorella and GM Mike Gillis, many penciled the Canucks out of the playoffs for the upcoming season. But under the wing of new general manager Jim Benning, the Canucks have been steered back in the right direction after a successful offseason. There are still a few questions to be answered, but Vancouver is not looking as bad as they’re being wrote off to be.
The main talk of the summer was Ryan Kesler, who was inevitably traded within the division to Anaheim. Losing a defensively solid center in a Kesler hurts, but Benning and the Canucks got off with quite the return. They acquired Nick Bonnino, who’s coming off a career year at only 26 with 49 points. They also got defenseman Luca Sbisa, who brings a young factor to the relatively old back end in Vancouver. The also got the 24th overall pick, used to draft Jared McCann. They did not get a star in return for Kesler, rightfully, but they did get some much needed all around depth.
The Canucks also acquired Derek Dorsett in a draft day deal with the Rangers for a draft pick, along with getting 23 year old Lindey Vey from the Kings. Vey has a ton of potential, although never having a good shot to break the Kings’ roster. At the price he came at, it could be a steal in the future for Vancouver.
Then up came July 1st and free agency, where the Canucks did as well as any of their counterparts if not better. They got their first like right winger for the Sedin twins with Radim Vrbata, a slot that was not being filled well by the likes of Alex a Burrows and co. Vrbata allows for some relief on the wings, and stretches out the depth nicely. But the big fish came from in the cage. Benning went out and inked Ryan Miller for 3 years. Miller is the perfect fit for the Canucks as of right now. Miller not only brings a leadership and mentor status to Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, but is still a great goalie in the league. Miller is the key to the Canucks making the playoffs for this year, and he can easily accomplish it. What holds for him after that, is the question.
So, can Vancouver make the playoffs this year? My guess is yes. After a great offseason, the Canucks are ready to get right back into the hunt. The newly added depth, with the two Sedin’s and Vrbata up front, Edler and Hamhuis anchoring the defense, and new goalie Ryan Miller in the cage, the recipe for success is there on paper. They also have Bo Horvat and possibly Nick Jensen ready to break onto the scene this year, if not next year for sure. There hope again in Vancouver, but only time will tell how it’ll pan out.