Vancouver Canucks Roundtable: Reviewing the 2015-16 Campaign

Apr 25, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks players reacts to the goal by Calgary Flames left wing Jiri Hudler (not pictured) during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks players reacts to the goal by Calgary Flames left wing Jiri Hudler (not pictured) during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 7, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (53) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Which player’s performance were you most pleased with and who disappointed you most?

Sarah Laug

Bo Horvat was the player that both surprised and pleased me the most. It’s no secret that he struggled a little bit before Christmas in his sophomore campaign but after the holidays, he really found his stride consistently in the second half.

Disappointment wise this season, I’d have to say that Radim Vrbata‘s follow-up season was a let down after his success last season. He did have a few highlight-reel moments but most nights he struggled to find his signature finish that made him so dynamic last season.

Gerald Morton

I was extraordinarily pleased with the play of Jacob Markstrom. Granted, this is solely because I was convinced he would never be an NHL-caliber goalie. But his work with Rollie Melanson has paid off and he has been solid.

The disappointment list is long and inclusive. But if I must pick on one performance I’ll single out Matt Bartkowski. He may be the worst defenseman in the league and has absolutely zero upside. Beyond that, he’s a stellar player.

Jeff Godley

I was hoping Sven Baertschi would step up, but I secretly believed he wasn’t capable of it. He took a while, but he proved me and all of his other critics wrong. On some nights he was far and away the best Canucks forward on the ice. He showed real determination in both zones, driving the net with the puck and skating hard on the backcheck without it.

I don’t understand what happened to Alex Burrows. Has he slowed down? Has he lost his touch? I can’t say, but he went from being a perennial hero to dead weight. It would be a shame for Burrows’ career with Vancouver to end in a buyout, but he simply didn’t play well enough to justify his contract.

His one saving grace may be the fact that Chris Higgins has fallen further out of favour and will be a cheaper buyout.

David Joun

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As a guy who always played in net, I cannot overlook Markstrom’s stellar development as a player. However, how is everyone forgetting how good Jannik Hansen‘s been already? He was hands-down the most pleasant surprise of the season for the Canucks. One does not get a bottom-six winger to just play with the Sedins on a regular basis.

Most disappointing performance has got to be Matt Bartkowski, now that I look back. He didn’t have to face injuries like some others had to. He had the chance to become a top-four player or a stellar top-six player on a fragile Canucks blueline. Benning counted on his former Bruin connection in signing him to a free-agent deal. And what happened? Nothing but a tank.

Steve Boddy

OK well this question brings me right back to Horvat. He was definitely the guy I was most impressed with. His plus-minus can be justified between going against stronger opposition and being the guy who’s coming onto the ice after the Canucks have yet another awful line change. He wasn’t a liability defensively so the stat is flawed.

Him cracking 40 points though? That’s pretty good. Especially when you consider the bulk of it came in the second half of the season. I can see the guy being a 60-70 point guy down the road.

Disappointment would have to be McCann. But the disappointment is mostly because he started so strong and became more and more irrelevant as the season went on. I’m excited to see if he makes it back on the roster next season but I think that will largely be tied to how his training regimen goes over the off season. I expect he’ll be in Utica, though. Point to ponder, do you think Granlund would be here if McCann had shown he could be a reliable bottom-six centre?

Janik Beichler

Again, I will have to agree with David on Jannik Hansen — not only because he has a pretty cool first name — and add something of my own. How is everybody overlooking Jake Virtanen? He came in as a rookie, got bashed after a rather unfortunate World Junior appearance but recovered and became one of the team’s best defensive players. Add some scoring to that and you’ll have exactly the player he was supposed to be!

The list of disappointments is indeed a long one. Bartkowski and Vrbata are the obvious choices here. However, I am also slightly disappointed in Horvat’s defensive play. He was not a defensive liability but you can’t be on the ice for that many goals against.

Next: 3. Hey Willie D, you stayin'?