The Future of the Pacific Division and the Vancouver Canucks

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 14: Bo Horvat
ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 14: Bo Horvat /
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Where do the Canucks fit?

So, we looked at the other teams in the Pacific, but what about the team in Vancouver? The Canucks certainly have the best prospects in the division. Once they hit the NHL, it will be interesting to see their place. I’ve covered bad contracts on this roster before. By 2021, we will see Brandon Sutter and Erik Gudbranson come off the books, leaving behind Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle.

If the team’s future prospects all turn out as good as you think, they will be expensive. You don’t want dead space on your salary cap, so it may be prudent to pay a few of these players to not be on the roster. It wouldn’t clear salary in some cases, but at least free up a roster spot.

The Canucks will likely find a way to figure this out (it would embarrassing otherwise). With that being said, I’m not going to assume that the Canucks will be winning any President’s Trophies in 2021. They will definitely be better than LA and Anaheim. Besting San Jose will be possible, but not certain. Anything can happen with Vegas, so I’m not comfortable putting Vancouver ahead of them in three years.

I think Arizona will be in a similar spot, but the Canucks could edge them out. Same thing goes for the Oilers. Actually, I have a feeling those three teams may compete for the same wild card spot when push comes to shove in this future scenario. That leaves Calgary finishing ahead of Vancouver. It’s not what you want to hear, but keep in mind that the Flames’ rebuild is supposed to already be over (so is Edmonton’s, but here we are).

There you have it. By 2021, I would hope the Vancouver Canucks are in a position to be in a playoff spot. If not, you would have to question what the team is doing by that point. That season would be seven years of team building and by then you need a lot more to show for it than prospects.

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Vancouver could certainly beat my expectations. Then again, the people building for the future thought we had a playoff team for the last three seasons. Excuse me for the lack of faith. Power will shift in the Pacfic Division. I don’t see the Canucks at the bottom once the shift takes place. However, I don’t see them at the top, either. It just makes the most sense that they end up in the middle.