Stuck watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs without your Vancouver Canucks?
It sucks to not have the Vancouver Canucks competing in the NHL playoffs. Putting aside everything about the season — the youth movement, the injuries, the lack of trades… At the end of the day, does the city not want to see the Canucks in action right now, even if they get swept by, let’s say, the Dallas Stars?
So here is our guide to passing this long offseason. First up, let’s get through the rest of the month of April. The offseason isn’t as uninteresting as you think!
Playoffs Fallout: The Ripple Effect
Even if the Canucks aren’t in it this year and there are no Canadian teams to cheer for, there still are plenty of reasons to watch the playoffs. After all, there are some great matchups to watch, like the San Jose – Los Angeles series and the Anaheim – Nashville series.
The obvious thing would be to track former Canucks, check if Roberto Luongo got a shutout or if Kevin Bieksa scored any goals after getting demolished by the Calgary Flames in the playoffs last year. Oh right, do you care about what Mr. Ryan Kesler is doing these days?
But there is more. There is the ripple effect.
If the L.A. Kings get swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (San Jose took the first two games going away, leads 2-0 as of Sunday), does Milan Lucic‘s dance with the Kings come to a bitter end? This is a wild guess, but does Daryll Sutter get a little talking-to?
If the Dallas Stars and the Chicago Blackhawks have their ways and plow through the rest of the Western Conference, are they still looking to add Dan Hamhuis to their lineup for next year?
The season is far from being over if you are the fan and not the player.
Building up to the World Championship
The tournament begins on May 6th in Russia. Why do the Canucks care? Because almost a third of the lineup might be headed to Russia. Let’s do a headcount here. I have italicized and bolded the players who are playing or are rumoured to be playing for their countries at this year’s IIHF tournament:
More from Canucks News
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- Canucks send Jack Rathbone and Vasily Podkolzin down to Abbotsford
- Canucks acquire Ethan Bear, Lane Pederson from Carolina
- Brock Boeser, Curtis Lazar placed on injury reserve
- Canucks officially unveil Reverse Retro jersey in latest aesthetic change
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Hansen
Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen
Granlund – Sutter – Vrbata
Dorsett – Gaunce – Burrows
Edler – Tanev
Hutton – Tryamkin
Hamhuis – Sbisa
Miller – Markstrom
Yup. That’s nearly a third of the lineup. Add Thatcher Demko to that list, too. The great part about this is that Jacob Markstrom is going to be Team Sweden’s top netminder and Demko has a legitimate shot at taking the starting role for Team USA. Add this lack of international depth to the list of the playoff fallouts.
This year’s tournament is going to be a Canuck fest. Why not spend April watching how many more Canucks may be called to Russia in May?
NCAA Free Agents
After signing defenceman Troy Stecher to a two-year entry-level contract, Jim Benning still has a couple more big names on his scouting radar. Don’t we just love it when our GM turns into a scout in the offseason? Well, now is the time for Benning to win back the city’s love by doing what he does best, scouting.
While signing Demko to a pro contract is the top priority, the Canucks are interested in Prince George native former Penticton Vees netminder Michael Garteig, who has finished his NCAA stint with the number one ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats. Aside from his egregious giveaway to Brock Boeser that led to North Dakota’s win in the Frozen Four finals, Garteig has an unreal glove hand:
Yes. He does go a little too around-the-world with it, but hey — if he gets the job done and leads his team to the Frozen Four finals, he is a good goaltender.
Also, the Canucks are in pursuit after one of the NCAA’s most dynamic scorers and Boeser’s left winger — Drake Caggiula.
Just an FYI on that goal, that number two in blue who picks the puck up on the penalty kill and backhands it to clear the zone is Stecher, the defenceman the Canucks have signed just this week. Would not mind seeing that NoDak trio — Caggiula, Boeser, Stecher — in action for the Canucks a couple of years from now.
And last but not least, yes. The Draft Lottery is less than two weeks away. The Canucks can win the Auston Matthews sweepstake. The number two consensus pick also looks good to me, as Patrik Laine solidifies the number two status ahead of fellow Finnish Jesse Puljujarvi.
The worst that could happen for the Canucks from the draft lottery is to fall down the draft as low as sixth overall. There reside players like Matthew Tkachuk (LW Jake Virtanen 2.0) and top defenceman Olli Juolevi, who would both be of great help for the Canucks.
RW Jesse Puljujarvi — Draft Profile Faceoff — RW Patrik Laine
Circle this date on the calendar if you haven’t already. The Draft Lottery goes April 30th.
April is going to be a great month for the Canucks. Nothing can possibly go wrong at this time of the year! The team is bound to get better this month, whether it be through NCAA free agent signings, the Draft Lottery, or the experience gained through the World Championship. And yes, maybe there is some unfortunate fallout from the first rounds of the playoff to feast upon.
And that is it for the month of April. Here we go; we are just getting started on the journey to October!