During Tuesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks revealed their award winners. Here is a breakdown of each of the recipients.
The Vancouver Canucks revealed each team award winner during Tuesday night’s 4-2 home victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Jacob Markstrom took home the Three Stars and Team MVP Awards. Rookie sensation and likely Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson was named the team’s most exciting player, while Antoine Roussel took home the unsung hero Award. And finally, Alexander Edler unsurprisingly took home the top defenceman Award.
The Canucks won’t be in the playoffs for a fourth straight year, but 2018-19 has been a season full of many great moments. The rebuild finally looks in place, with Pettersson already emerging as a superstar while guys like Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser continue to elevate their respective games.
There were many positives throughout the season, which made for a pretty exciting team award ceremony on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at each winner, and how they managed to capture some individual hardware.
Obviously, there’s no arguing against Markstrom winning the Three Stars Award,. He simply earned the most selections, and you can’t really deny math and facts. So yes, he absolutely earned and deserved this award.
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The team MVP award was probably between Markstrom, Pettersson and Horvat. The former stood on his head throughout the season and enjoyed a career season.
Without him, the Canucks aren’t anywhere close to the playoff race at any point during the 2018-19 campaign.
As for Pettersson, nothing more can be said that we haven’t talked about already. He was the team’s top scorer and took over games on his own throughout the season. He’s already the face of the franchise now, and it’s always hard to debate against a team’s top scorer from being the MVP.
And finally, Horvat continued to take his game to another level this season, with 27 goals and 61 points on the season — both career highs. He was excellent defensively, scored three game-winning goals throughout the year and made a case for being the future team captain.
But at the end of the day, Markstrom won 28 games on a Vancouver team that had too many breakdowns defensively — and the vast amount of injuries didn’t help. And yet, all Markstrom did was keep the team in games — and in the playoff race until the end of the season.
Markstrom doesn’t look ready to hand over the keys to Thatcher Demko as the future starter in Vancouver. It’ll be fun to see if the 2018-19 team MVP can build off a career year and thus prevent Demko from taking over the top spot in the crease
Alexander Edler and Antoine Roussel
Nobody was ever going to debate against Edler being named the team’s top defenceman. Quite frankly, he was the team’s only consistent blueliner throughout the entire year. Not only that, but Edler also had one of his finest seasons in the NHL. Plain and simple.
Edler surpassed Mattias Ohlund as the franchise’s all-time leading goal-scorer among blueliners. With 10 goals and 32 points on the season, Edler enjoyed quite a bounce-back year. He’s given the Canucks an easy choice to re-sign him ahead of free agency on July 1st.
If Josh Leivo or Tanner Pearson played the entire season in Vancouver, you could make a case for both possibly winning this. But both were only acquired mid-season in trades, so that had to hurt them both in this race.
Roussel was the clever and safe choice here for being the team’s unsung hero. Signed to a four-year, $12 million deal in free agency, Roussel had nine goals and 31 points (a career-high). He finished with 50 blocked shots and 87 hits. Roussel has also become a key leader in the locker room during another long rebuilding year in Vancouver. It’s simply too difficult to disagree with the fan voting here.
There was really no questioning this one, either.
The No. 5 overall pick from 2017 came as advertised in his rookie year. Pettersson has dazzled throughout the 2018-19 season, with 27 goals and 65 points up to this point. All of those highlight reels and clutch moments not only made him the Canucks’ most exciting player this season — but easily their most exciting in a few years now.
The rebuild didn’t seem to have much of a direction before Pettersson’s arrival. But like Markstrom, he kept producing when his team needed it most, and it kept the team in the playoff race.
All of those world-class dangles, shots, defensive plays and game-winners. How else can you define a team’s most exciting player? Of course Pettersson deserved this one.