Vancouver Canucks: 3 takeaways from Sedins’ final NHL game

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In what was the final NHL game for Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Vancouver Canucks battled hard but fell 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers in a shootout. Here are three takeaways from the regular season finale.

The Vancouver Canucks finished their 2017-18 season how it started – with a thrilling game against the Edmonton Oilers. Though the 3-2 shootout loss marked the end of a campaign that will see Vancouver miss the playoffs for a third consecutive year, this regular season finale was as memorable as they will ever come.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin gracefully played their final NHL game, receiving strong ovations from the classy and faithful Oilers fans during and after the contest. The two franchise legends now skate off into the sunset, awaiting the next chapter of their lives after spending nearly two full decades with the Canucks franchise.

It really didn’t matter whether the Canucks won or not. They just wanted to have fun out there with the Sedins, and fun they had. Daniel scored a shootout goal, sniping a wrister past Cam Talbot. Henrik failed on the good ol’ slap shot, but No. 33’s children on the bench were delighted to see the captain get one last crack at his first career shootout goal.

The twins then skated around and received a thunderous ovation from Rogers Place – full of both Canucks and Oilers fans.

Now, let’s take a look at three things we learned in Vancouver’s final game of the 2017-18 season. And more importantly, the final game of the Sedins’ careers.

Jussi Jokinen needs that extension

Well, 35-year-old veteran Jussi Jokinen certainly turned back the clock after he was dealt from the trade deadline to the Canucks. He scored Vancouver’s first goal and brought back the nostalgic filth in the shootout, roofing a shot over Talbot to keep the skills contest going.

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Jokinen scored four goals and 10 points in just 14 games with the Canucks. Just two years removed from an 18-goal, 60-point season with the Florida Panthers, it’s not crazy to believe he can still score 40-50 points again.

With the Sedins retiring, Vancouver has $14 million off the books. But instead of throwing money at veteran players that will certainly cause headaches (hi there, Loui Eriksson), Benning should look to bring Jokinen back on a one-year deal.

That’s exactly what it must be, a one-year deal. No two or three-year pact worth $3 million a season. Give Jokinen a one-year, $1.5 million take-it-or-leave-it option. Maybe he doesn’t put up much next season, but at least it was a cheap gamble.

Make no mistake, the Canucks are rebuilding and want to get younger. But having a couple of veteran players in there like Jokinen can’t hurt – especially if they’re cheap.

Canucks had pride and effort

Unless the Canucks get lucky and manage to pick in the top-three anyway, the folks on #TeamTank will not let this team forget their 5-0-2 run to close out the regular season.

Give the Canucks credit for finishing strong, but they went from probably securing a top-five pick to likely missing out on this year’s can’t-miss prospects — Rasmus Dahlin, Brady Tkachuk, Filip Zadina, Andrei Svechnikov and Adam Boqvist.

Related Story: Canucks recap: Sedins have perfect sendoff

But again, the Canucks simply had the pride and effort down the stretch, which somehow hasn’t been seen since late November. Without Eriksson, Brock Boeser, Sven Baertschi and Chris Tanev, Vancouver was motivated to finish strong for the Sedins. And finish strong they did.

The Canucks played with a competitive edge and made sure the two greatest players in franchise history got to leave the game in perfect fashion. Close games, overtime winners, shootout moments and more. They may not have done tanking the way many fans wanted them to, but the Canucks showed nothing but determination and effort down the stretch. The team deserves credit for that.

The new era begins

The last time we saw a “passing of the torch” moment had to be during the 2005-06 season, when the Sedins overtook Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Todd Bertuzzi as the franchise’s top players. Big Bert was traded that offseason, while Naslund and Morrison left in free agency two years later.

Now that the Sedins are retired, it’s officially a new era in Vancouver — which will be fronted by Bo Horvat, Boeser and other young players. This is Yoda training Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, and John Blake replacing Bruce Wayne as Gotham’s savior in The Dark Knight Rises. It’s time for younger guys to come in and do what the Sedins did: Lead and win.

The moment the Sedins stepped off the ice, the moment it became the next era of Vancouver Canucks hockey. It’s going to feel very strange, and it could be a couple of more years until the Canucks finally have two bonafide franchise stars to bring them back into relevancy.

Next: Canucks: Adam Gaudette wins Hobey Baker Award

For now, we can enjoy and reflect on the two magnificent careers put together by the Sedins. But once September rolls around, we’ll be preparing for the new wave of Canucks players to lead the franchise to success.