Now, the Canucks have equipped their roster with several nice additions. To keep it at least somewhat realistic, I decided against signing Stamkos and settled on Puljujarvi or Laine as the Canucks’ 2016 first-round selection.
That said, Keith Yandle, Milan Lucic and Patrik Laine/Jesse Puljujarvi would be more than solid additions for the club. So, what could the 2016-17 lineup look like with these players?
Line 1: Sedin – Sedin – Hansen
Henrik and Daniel Sedin will continue to do their Sedinery — with or without Jannik Hansen. However, for the most part, I liked Hansen with the Sedins. Not only because it worked quite well most of the time, but also because having a full Scandinavian line is pretty cool. Alternatively, Laine/Puljujarvi could slot in on the Sedins’ right wing as well, keeping the Scandinavian line alive. But, an NHL top line is probably too much responsibility for Day 1.
Line 2: Lucic – Sutter – Laine/Puljujarvi
NHL clubs continue to get rid of their goons and their totally unskilled bottom six. However, that does not mean the Canucks can’t have a line that is extremely tough to play against. Lucic: 6-foot-3, 236 pounds. Sutter: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Laine: 6-foot-4, 207 pounds/Puljujarvi: 6-foot-3, 201 pounds. A skilled second line that is tough to play against and defensively responsible almost sounds too good to be true.
Line 3: Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen
The Canucks’ current second line gets Jake Virtanen for the departed Radim Vrbata and moves down to third. In fact, the second and third line could just get an equal amount of ice time. Sven Baertschi looks like he is good enough for the NHL and no defensive liability anymore. Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen can help on the defensive side if need be. Plus, obviously, this is a very skilled trio as well.
Line 4: Burrows – McCann – Etem
Jared McCann on the fourth line in his sophomore season? Ugh. But what are we going to do? This team wants to get back into the playoffs and Sedin, Sutter and Horvat are the better players right now. So, McCann will continue to get sheltered minutes with Alexandre Burrows and Emerson Etem on his wings. This line could be labelled “the rest,” but at the same time, it is quite promising too.
Derek Dorsett starts the season as (hopefully) a healthy scratch. Linden Vey might have to take a seat beside him in the press box, but the Canucks might not have enough room on their roster to extend his contract. A restricted free agent, Vey could be shipped out anytime starting today.
You might have noticed that Hunter Shinkaruk is still not on this roster. Sad story, I know. However, injuries happen — though hopefully not as frequently as in 2015-16 — and Shinkaruk will be No. 1 on the call-up list.
1st D-Pairing: Yandle – Tanev
Keith Yandle and Christopher Tanev. Does that not sound like a legitimate top pairing to you? The Canucks finally got what they need.
2nd D-Pairing: Edler – Pedan
With Yandle in, Alexander Edler can finally move down to the second pairing. He is still a valuable part of the roster, but he is not a No. 1 defenceman anymore. Is Andrey Pedan ready for a second-pairing role? We are about to find out.
3rd D-Pairing: Hutton – Biega
Ben Hutton is developing nicely, and a pairing of Hutton and Alex Biega would certainly be fun to watch. If everything goes well, they could get the tough minutes Edler and Pedan can’t handle. That’s me being optimistic, anyway.
Luca Sbisa is not needed anymore. The best words you’ve heard today.
Goalies: Miller – Markstrom
But, this would only fix things short-term, right? How is the rebuild over in 2016? Just read on…
Next: The Future