The Canuck Way’s 10 most notable Vancouver Canucks moments of 2018

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 7: Henrik Sedin
EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 7: Henrik Sedin /
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vancouver canucks /

10. Fortnite Gate

Oh, the controversy on this one. Here is Canucks moment number 10. With a new leadership group ready to put its stamp on the team, they took a strange hill to die on. After a summer scandal broken by Jeff Marek about a prospect who won’t make the NHL because of video game addiction, Twitter sleuths thought it was Olli Juolevi (it wasn’t).

That probably led to banning Fortnite on the road. Michael Del Zotto declared it an issue (little did he know that he was a short trip away from multiple healthy scratches) and Bo Horvat did “right” by his veteran teammates and echoed those words.

It made no sense at the time and we will see how much of a difference it will make on their road record. Last season, the Canucks were 15-22-4 (points percentage of .415). So far, they are 10-9-3 (points percentage of .523). We’ll see how long that stands as the rest of the season is played.

Lastly, it had a funny back and forth with Patrik Laine, who pulled no punches when he heard what the Canucks were doing.

Canucks fans thought they had the last laugh when Laine had a slow start, but the Finnish sniper has been a tour de force this season as one of the league’s prolific goal scorers.

9. The Grit Wars

Our number nine moment happened on July 1st this year. Free agent frenzy is where general managers make horrendous mistakes and this one was no different. Signing twin contracts to Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel (4 years, $12 million), Canucks fans were split. The day was completed when Tim Schaller was brought in on a two-year deal ($3.8 million total).

The contracts for Roussel and Beagle were long. They were full of bonuses and were buyout proof. We had Canucks fans disgusted by the moves (yeah, right here) and others defending the moves. The team needed grit. Jim Benning assured their size would reduce injuries. Well, Roussel started the season with a concussion and Beagle has only played 17 games this season because he broke his forearm blocking a shot.

Regarding Roussel, I don’t have an issue with him. He’s a good energy guy, I love the accent and he is very gifable. Granted, he is probably a couple of concussions from early retirement, but his contract alone is fine. What’s not fine is spending almost $8 million on three fourth line players when you only need one. Schaller is a disaster and the Canucks had a better version of Beagle in Sutter, who is also four years younger. Thus the Grit Wars were born. Going one for three is not as bad as it could be, but it’s just another chapter in unnecessary signings.

8. Trevor Linden “amicably” parts ways with the Canucks

The positive ones are coming. I promise. Just two more and it’s all fun stuff from there. Just when you thought The Grit Wars were the biggest story of the summer, we have our number eight moment of 2018. The Icon. The President. Or as I liked to call him, The Shield.

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However you want to remember him, Trevor Linden made ripples in the Vancouver market when he “amicably” parted ways with the team. Was he fired? Did he quit. Each side will push their version of the story and after the smoke cleared and the dust settled, I think it was a little of column A and a little of column B.

Linden’s friends in the media did a good job making him look like a sympathetic figure. Like a king betrayed by the slimy words of

Petyr Baelish

John Weisbrod. Linden was just as responsible for the state of the team to that point as Benning, but there’s an old saying in Vancouver: Life moves fast.

From what we understood, Linden wanted more time to prepare a competitive team and Benning/Weisbrod were confident in a quick turn around. You know, the thing that was promised over four years ago. Linden figured it out too little too late and either removed himself from an untenable position or was fired for speaking out. Either way, it was another messy departure from someone who worked for the Aquilinis and no amount of live tweeting should erase that fact.

Except it did. Like I said. Life moves fast. Canucks fans have largely forgotten about it because of the team’s moderate level of success. Aquilini played a game of PR chicken with Canucks fans and he didn’t blink.

light. Related Story. Trevor Linden parts ways with the Vancouver Canucks

7. The second best prospect pool in the NHL

See, here is a positive moment from 2018 (kinda). The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranked every prospect pool in the NHL. It was special at the end of August to hear that the Vancouver Canucks possessed the second strongest pool in the league in the seventh Canucks moment of the year.

Ignoring the asterisks i.e. no players in the NHL (especially ones who have already graduated), those were incredible bragging rights to have. Finally, after four lackluster seasons (the year they made the playoffs resulted in a disappointing first round exit), it was something fans to hang their hats on.

Related Story. Corey Pronman ranks Canucks farm system second best in the NHL. light

I had my issues with the asterisks, especially since the ranking was so top heavy thanks to their top two players. However, Canucks fans were happy. They had several prospects put up very good draft+1 seasons and the hype was building up for a potential Calder run in Utica. Then reality set in. The adjustment to the AHL was steep for most prospects, who saw early struggles.

We saw one prospect head back to Europe due to a lack of ice time and a controversy over development. Worse of all, Olli Juolevi had his season cut short by a knee surgery. And with a promising start, it’s a shame he couldn’t build more momentum in such an important development year.

A prospect pool can be like a double edged sword. Things look amazing until they meet the AHL. Canucks fans were used to prospects bypassing the AHL rather quickly. Watching them struggle was a new feeling. It made some of us rethink and not rush to pencil every draft pick into the lineup. But hey, second best prospect pool, right?

6. Selecting Quinn Hughes seventh overall

Okay, it’s all positive from here. The Canucks’ number six moment of 2018 was selecting Quinn Hughes seventh overall. Having that selection was nerve-racking. Personally, my friends and I weren’t sure if Hughes would drop to our selection in the draft.

But then we saw the magic unfold. We saw the draft go against most of the rankings. Seeing teams draft for position. One of the big names in the top three dropped to Detroit, which was probably my biggest fear for taking Quinn Hughes. They got Zadina and my eyes lit up when Hughes’ name was still on the board.

Seeing Weisbrod giddily make his way to the stage already gave it away, but I didn’t care. I wanted Quinn Hughes from that the draft and that’s exactly who the Canucks selected. He is so dynamic and skilled and watching Team USA at the World Juniors, he really is the backbone of that team. Shut him down and your team has a problem. The Canucks might want to make note of that when they are insulating him at the NHL level.

light. Related Story. 2018 NHL draft prospect profile #4: Quinn Hughes

Don’t be fooled by Brian Burke’s small body comments. The kid has the skill to overcome the difference in size. Hughes is the future of the Canucks defence and will be another incredible first round pick to watch. I just wish we had at least one more of him on the back end. And to think, some people wanted to trade that pick away for Noah Hanifin. Shame on you if you did. Shame.