Henrik Sedin says Vancouver Canucks can fight for playoffs

VANCOUVER, BC - April 2: Henrik Sedin
VANCOUVER, BC - April 2: Henrik Sedin /

Though the Vancouver Canucks are officially “rebuilding” in 2017-18, captain Henrik Sedin believes that the team can challenge for a playoff spot. See what he had to say here.

After finishing second-last in the NHL in 2017, the Vancouver Canucks certainly won’t be a popular pick among fans and prognosticators in 2018.

Obviously, the Canucks aren’t quite the playoff juggernaut they once were. From 2002-2013, they made the playoffs every year with the exceptions of 2006 and 2008. That included seven Northwest Division titles, two Presidents’ Trophies and that memorable run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

But the Canucks haven’t won a playoff series since 2011, and they’ve qualified for the postseason just once in the past four years.

With general manager Jim Benning dealing away Jannik Hansen and Alexandre Burrows at the trade deadline — along with taking the bargain hunting route in free agency — it’s evident that the Canucks aren’t focused making the playoffs in 2018.

But don’t tell that to captain Henrik Sedin, who remains confident that this team can make a run for a playoff spot in 2018. Speaking with Tim Campbell from NHL.com, Henrik believes the Canucks are capable of making a run for a playoff berth next season:

"“We had some injuries that were tough to go through, but if we can stay healthy … if you look at our lineup from top to bottom, it’s not that far off…But we can’t go through stretches with key players injured, not like other teams can do. We’re thinner that way, but our young guys are getting better. For me and Daniel, it’s just about being as good as we can. I think we should be able to fight for a playoff spot. That’s our goal.”More from The Canuck WayWhich team won the Bo Horvat trade?What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu RätyBack to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature nightCanucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg"

On paper, the Canucks definitely have some talented pieces that could help them push for a playoff berth.

Bo Horvat, Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi all look to take strides after posting remarkable seasons in 2016-17.

Loui Eriksson is due for a bounce-back, and the sky is the limit for prospect Brock Boeser.

But the question comes down to how their young defence can play, and if the tandem of Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson in goal will be enough.

And it doesn’t help that the Canucks play in a brutally tough Pacific Division that features three California heavyweights, plus rising powers in the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. Vancouver doesn’t have the star power that their opponents do, so making the postseason is a lot easier said than done.

You have to respect and admire Henrik Sedin’s confidence in Vancouver making the playoffs. They made a surprise return to the postseason in 2015, but that was while the Sedins were still performing at high levels and Ryan Miller was a true No. 1 starter.

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The plan for 2017-18 is for the Canucks to play their young kids more under new head coach Travis Green. With the Sedin twins entering contract years, it would be nice to see Vancouver make the playoffs one more time with their franchise icons. But a ton will have to go right if the Canucks are to make the postseason in 2018.