Vancouver has an incredible prospect pool, but we need to make sure that as fans, we are not clinging to the past for the wrong reasons. These young players should not be forced into these player moulds. Let them grow into their own.
Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. Vancouver Canucks fans had a nice trip of that as we bid farewell to Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the two greatest players in franchise history. For some fans, there is a Sedin-shaped hole in their hearts.
We are being told that the future is now. Elias Pettersson will debut in the NHL this year and after seeing him light up Penticton with Jonathan Dahlèn at the Young Stars Classic. Media and fans have already declared that Pettersson and Dahlèn will be the second coming of the Sedins.
More from The Canuck Way
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
To that, I ask why? If you are in that camp, why are you looking for someone to replace them? It just seems like people are not willing to let them go. If the future really is now, we should be moving forward, not stubbornly clinging to memories.
The sad thing is this is not the first incidence with our prospect pool. Adam Gaudette is supposed to by Ryan Kesler 2.0. During his rookie year, we heard Brock Boeser would be better than Pavel Bure.
This is the biggest reason why I try to avoid NHL player projections on prospects. You can identify similar traits, but to outright declare that this prospect will be exactly like this player can make you look rather foolish. I think it’s a little lazy, but I understand people do it because it’s something familiar.
However, when you are comparing your players to some of the greatest players in franchise history, you are distorting expectations. I’ve talked about mellowing expectations, but I want to approach this differently. The problem I have is placing these prospects in the shadow of players you are familiar with.
That’s where this loses all sense and logic. The Sedins gave us 17 seasons of incredible hockey. They entertained us with the cycle game night in and night out. Why would you want more of the exact same thing? Don’t you want to see these players bring something new to the table? I certainly do.
To me, this is where the issue lies. Fans want to re-live the glory days of 2011. And judging by the fan vote, 1994 as well. I’m not saying forget those days. Instead, sit back and allow these prospects to grow. Don’t expect them to live up to this built up idea you have in your head. Because if they do, the first people to turn on these prospects will be you. When unrealistic expectations are not met, fans feel upset. Disappointed, perhaps cheated.
And that doesn’t make sense. We shouldn’t be looking to duplicate what happened in 2011. If you recall, that cup run was nothing like the one in 1994. Whenever the next opportunity arises (hopefully with this group), I expect it to be different. When and if these prospects establish themselves, I want to see the kind of unique impact they will have in this league.
It’s a fool’s game to live in the past and not be here in the present. I know today is not a good time for the franchise. Things won’t get better for a while, but we can’t pretend that the present does not exist. I would love to skip ahead to when the Canucks are good again, but it doesn’t work like that. But I think it’s more egregious to expect this young men to fit in this arbitrary mould. Let them become their own players. There are a few future stars lying in wait. But take a step back. You don’t want to pull a Dave Pratt or Iain MacIntyre. Otherwise you just come off as crazy.