The Vancouver Canucks open the 2016-17 season with a back-to-back weekend — The Canuck Way writers make their predictions.
After a long, dreary offseason, the wait is finally over: Vancouver Canucks hockey is back.
Will the Canucks finish 30th? Or will they compete for a playoff spot? Answers to all of our questions are coming, beginning Saturday night.
The line combinations look… interesting.
It looks like there are more silly line combinations to come:
The top line and defense pairs are as expected, but the bottom-nine forwards look like this:
Brendan Gaunce — Brandon Sutter — Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertschi — Markus Granlund — Jake Virtanen
Alexandre Burrows — Bo Horvat — Derek Dorsett
If the Canucks keep these combinations, Brendan Gaunce will be put through a major test, stepping up to the second line in his first home opener.
Bo Horvat, meanwhile, appears to have been demoted to the fourth line. Markus Granlund has taken Bo’s presumed place between Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen.
Granlund was one of the best forwards at training camp, and the Canucks believe he can be a playmaking center. Meanwhile, they want Horvat to draw some of the tougher defensive match-ups.
This is the latest in a long string of attempts to get a “balanced” lineup with scoring throughout. While I understand the impulse, Willie D is simply overthinking this. The Canucks have little enough scoring depth as it is, spreading it out does not seem wise.
Hopefully sanity will prevail in the end.