Vancouver Canucks Year in Review: Grading 2015 X-Factors

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Nov 27, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Vancouver Canucks right wing Radim Vrbata (17) throws pucks on the ice prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks entered the 2015-16 season with a lot of questions. At least they answered some of them.

The year 2015 for the Vancouver Canucks will go down in history as one of failed transitions that asked more questions than it answered.

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The disappointing round-one exit to the Calgary Flames in a losing effort giving up 18 goals in six games. We knew there were questions to answer: what to do with the slow and incapable defence, and how to survive a Pacific Division revival. So in the offseason GM Jim Benning cut veteran Kevin Bieksa and signed mobile Matt Bartkowski.

What offseason?

If the Canucks were successful at doing something over the offseason, it was being successful at sending out mixed messages to the rest of the league, and getting picked to finish almost last in the West. Go and sign an aging NHL journeyman in Adam Cracknell, go ship out two of your best under 25s in Zack Kassian and Adam Clendening, and the league says: “Getting younger by getting older? Not so fast, Jimmy. Get your act together.”

Related: X-Factors and the Season of Uncertainties

Hence the X-Factors. When the season started, I listed five players as the Canucks’ “X-Factors”. Let’s see how they did in the first half of the 2015-16 season.

Next: Radim Vrbata