This year, the Vancouver Canucks learned that their stars are ready to compete, but need some help in order to be successful. The team needs to be aggressive this offseason in finding that help.
The Vancouver Canucks‘ big three of Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat have been outstanding for the team this year. They have provided almost all of the scoring this season and shown that they are elite players who can and want to win.
The three, however, need some help in the form of secondary scoring heading into next year. They can’t do it alone, and they can’t be expected to do it alone.
This season, Horvat showed that he can play big minutes in all sorts of situations, and can lead the team. He’s ready for the captaincy. Pettersson showed that he is an elite talent who is only going to get better with time. Boeser showed that he can play the style of game head coach Travis Green demands of his players, while at the same time, remaining an offensive threat.
Antoine Roussel showed that he can provide the grit and chippy the team lost when Derek Dorsett was forced into retirement. Roussel even showed some chemistry with Horvat and was having one of the best seasons of his career. Roussel registered a career-high 31 points before suffering a season-ending injury earlier this month.
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Jay Beagle can play the shutdown role on the fourth line, and Adam Gaudette looks ready to be the full-time third line center. But this article isn’t about the bottom six — this article is about how the Canucks’ top three players need a better supporting cast if the team wants to be successful next season.
The team needs to be aggressive this offseason, and can’t afford to make any of the same mistakes that they’ve made in past offseasons. It’s time to go big and show these guys that you believe in them and their abilities.
The team, especially the youngsters, gave their all this year, but just weren’t given the best opportunity to succeed based on who’s on the ice with them and throughout the rest of the lineup. I say management owes it to the young guns, who made major strides this year, to be aggressive in finding them some help.
Jason Botchford on an episode of the TSN1040 PatCast brought up another excellent reason that the Canucks should be aggressive this summer — current contracts. Pettersson is still on his entry-level deal for two more seasons. Horvat is signed to a bargain of a contract and is only making five and a half million dollars for the next four seasons.
Boeser will need a contract this summer, but the team will have money to spend and should spend it wisely. Why not go after a legitimate top-six winger or top-pairing defenceman this summer? Whether that be through trade or free agency, the team can afford to pick up better secondary scoring than what we saw this year.
Horvat having a new linemate seemingly every night isn’t fair to him. The future captain of your team should be able to look over and see a familiar face nearly every night. Jim Benning has done a tremendous job bringing in guys who can potentially fill that spot in Tanner Pearson and Josh Leivo, but there is still work that needs to be done this offseason.
This team is ready to be competitive in my opinion, and with better secondary scoring throughout the lineup, they can win more hockey games. Look at some of the wins in March — look who was scoring goals in those games. Tim Schaller and Tyler Motte both had two-goal games and Loui Eriksson had a four-point night.
When all four lines are pitching in, it takes the pressure off the big three to be at their best every single night. They need a little bit more help going into next season, but these guys are ready to compete. After being hungry for a playoff spot all season long and showing up to play hard nearly every night, management owes it to the players to set them up for success next season.
The Canucks need to take advantage of their superstars being on favourable contracts while they still can, and get some legitimate secondary scoring to give them a better chance to play in what fans have missed out on for the past four years — playoff hockey. What do you think? Should the Canucks be aggressive in free agency or should their focus still be on rebuilding? Let me know in the comments below.