Projecting the pairings
Edler – Tanev
I think this duo should remain as the shut-down pairing as both defencemen play well off each other. Familiarity is key when you are matched up against the best players on the other team. It’s much easier to play defence when you know where your partner is going to be on the ice.
Hughes – Myers
Quinn Hughes will be entering his first full NHL season and should have a partner that can give him some extra room in the defensive zone. That was supposed to be Luke Schenn, but he decided to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
However, towering Myers will do just fine. He may not be as physical as Schenn, but his size and reach will definitely help out in the defensive zone. Myers isn’t the best defensively sometimes, but he can also move the puck, giving Hughes the option to give it back to him, as he moves up the ice.
Benn – Stecher
This prospect of this pairing is exciting, as it will give Troy Stecher a little more freedom to jump up into the play. With a solid defence partner in Benn, Stecher may feel more comfortable to join the offense. This pairing could also be a second matchup option as they are both adept defensively. This could turn out to be a very good two-way pairing.
Extra: Fantenberg – Biega
If the Vancouver Canucks decide to go again with eight defencemen on the roster, Fantenberg and Biega will probably be the two left standing. I know many will be questioning, where is Olli Juolevi? But the fact is, he is coming off a long layoff and will need some time in the American Hockey League.
I have no doubt in my mind that he will see a lot of ice in the NHL this season, just not to start. Josh Teves, Brogen Rafferty and maybe even Jett Woo will almost certainly challenge them, but for now, they will be the seventh and eighth defencemen ready to be inserted at the first sign of injury, which if we’re being honest, will probably happen early in the season.
Barring any trades, the Canucks defence looks set for the 2019-20 season. I may be one of only a few saying this, but I like how Benning has improved the d-core for this coming season. Time will tell if the term and money were right for Myers, but he is a solid option for the top four.
The defence should also provide more offense this coming year with Hughes, Myers, Stecher, Edler and even Benn capable of putting up 20 or more points. If everyone stays healthy, and that’s a big if, we should see an uptick in the numbers. I may be in the minority, but I am excited to see this new backend in action. Bring on the regular season!