Vancouver Canucks 2017-18 season preview: Colorado Avalanche


There was only one team in the NHL that did worse than the Vancouver Canucks and that was the Colorado Avalanche.

The Vancouver Canucks made sure that they finished the season as low as they could so they wouldn’t fall below fifth overall at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. As a result, they had a chance to snatch centre Elias Pettersson at that spot despite falling a full three slots thanks to the craziness of the draft lottery.

The reason that the Canucks could only finish second to last and not hit the very bottom and draft at the number four slot is the Colorado Avalanche. They drafted Cale Makar fourth overall.

If you thought being a Canucks fan these past couple of years was bad, imagine how it would feel as an Avalanche fan to finish last overall and fall to fourth overall. Their season was not just bad. It was historically bad.

Let’s see what the Avalanche did this offseason after a 48-point campaign. Will they suffer another year of horrible hockey?

Offseason Changes

The biggest offseason change may have yet to come as the Avalanche are likely to move Matt Duchene sooner rather than later. Do not expect the Canucks to acquire Duchene but it’s difficult to imagine that the Avalanche will be any better than they were last year, at least based on these moves.

Colorado Avalanche (22-56-4, Last in the NHL)

2016-17 vs. Vancouver
  • (3-2) Vancouver, Nov. 26 @Colorado
  • (3-2) Vancouver,  Jan. 2 @Vancouver
  • (3-2)Vancouver, Jan. 25 @Colorado

2017-18 vs. Vancouver

  • Jan. 30 @Vancouver
  • Feb. 20 @Vancouver
  • Feb. 26 @Colorado

3 Storylines to Watch in 2017-18

  1. Patrick Wiercioch has to prove himself

Patrick Wiercioch has seen better days. He once was a top-four defenseman for the Ottawa Senators. Now he has fallen to the bottom-six ranks in Colorado before coming to his hometown Vancouver.

Wiercioch is likely a depth option for the Canucks, probably currently occupying the number seven slot with Alex Biega close behind or as a depth forward. With his size and mobility, Wiercioch can provide some stability on the back end as a depth option.

More from The Canuck Way

His junior numbers and his half-a-point-per-game production with the Senators a few years ago suggest that he may have something to add offensively as well. Being let go by the worst team in the league is not a pleasant feeling and Wiercioch has three chances this season to prove the Avalanche wrong in letting him walk free.

2. Tank VAN vs. Tank COL

Hopefully this is not a discussion the Canucks and the Avalanche need to have when they meet  in February.

Will these two former Northwest Division rivals find themselves in a race for Rasmus Dahlin?

Quite frankly, there is a good chance the Avalanche and the Canucks fall to such fates. I would also bet that the Canucks will out perform the Avalanche and end up having worse odds come draft lottery time.

Regardless of where these two teams are in respect to each other in the standings, there is a good chance both become trade deadline sellers. Let’s see if the opening night roster and the roster at the end of February prove to be much different for these two clubs.

3. Elias Pettersson and Cale Makar

Though this storyline is not for this season, it is worth discussing since these two teams are rebuilding, or at least in the need of rebuilding. Pettersson and Makar were drafted one after the other, with Makar going fourth overall to Avalanche and Pettersson to Vancouver right after.

But when it was suggested that the Canucks could have drafted Pettersson over other players at even higher at the top of the draft had the lottery balls fallen for them, I could not help but wonder if they would have passed on Makar to draft Pettersson, let’s say, fourth overall.

The two will not play any games against each other, the defenceman and the centreman. Makar will be in NCAA hockey while Pettersson is already starting up some Swedish Hockey League action with the Vaxjo Lakers.

Next: 30-in-30 Chicago Blackhawk Edition

But watching the two develop and likely face off against each other at the upcoming World Juniors will be a big test for these two clubs’ scouting departments and general managers.