This won’t surprise many — NHL experts from across the web aren’t keen on the Vancouver Canucks turning things around in 2017-18, despite some big roster changes in the offseason.
The Vancouver Canucks have missed the playoffs in three of the past four years, including a pair of 28th and 29th finishes in the league standings. Long gone are the days when they were a trendy pick by NHL fans and experts to win the Stanley Cup.
To the surprise of very few people, experts aren’t banking on the Canucks to turn things around in 2017-18. General manager Jim Benning tried to make this team more competitive by signing Sam Gagner, Thomas Vanek and Michael Del Zotto to fix a terrible offence, while veteran Anders Nilsson was brought in for stability in goal.
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So even though the Canucks look much better — at least on paper — you won’t find many people who are expecting a turnaround.
In The Hockey News Yearbook, they projected the Canucks to finish seventh in the Pacific Division — only ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.
It must be said, I’m retty sure none of us see the 31st NHL team placing higher this season.
Puck Daddy from Yahoo Sports concurs with The Hockey News, placing Vancouver to only finish ahead of Vegas in the division:
"It’s really a time for celebration in Vancouver, as the Canucks have finally dropped the pretense and gone into a rebuild. There’s fun to be had in this forward group, less so on the blue line. Whatever happens, it will all of course be Loui Eriksson’s fault."
Over at ESPN.com, Tal Pinchevsky previewed the Canucks and, you guessed it, has them finishing second-last in the Pacific Division.
Determined, I continued our search to see if anyone has the Canucks placing higher than that in the division. But there was no luck at USA TODAY, where Kevin Allen gave Vancouver 75 points. Only the Golden Knights (67 points), and Colorado Avalanche (72 points), were given lower projected point totals.
TSN also published their early power rankings, and they had the Canucks 29th. You can guess which two teams they projected to finish worse:
"The Sedins are 37 and the best addition to the Canucks roster (with Travis Green now behind the bench) is prospect Brock Boeser, so other than that there’s not much to really get excited about."
And the story didn’t end. The Sporting News projects Vancouver to finish with 63 points…seventh in the Pacific Division.
Eventually, the search got tiring and I gave up. It just doesn’t seem like there’s anyone out there that’s picking the Arizona Coyotes or Los Angeles Kings to finish below the Canucks in the standings.
Does this really matter? Not at all. If every NHL expert picked the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup, it doesn’t mean you should be optimistic about their chances. It’s just fun to see what the experts have to say.
For the Vancouver Canucks, they can only hope these experts are “wrong”, unless they end up drafting Rasmus Dahlin or Andrei Svechnikov.