Over the All-Star break, the Vancouver Canucks hold sole-possession of first place in the Pacific Division. There are 5 reasons why the Canucks have found success.
When the media was given access to the Vancouver Canucks on day one of the new season, it was made clear that ownership, management and coaching staff were going all-in on this group of players and announced the team was ready to make a push for playoff hockey. It was a bold move by Vancouver, but one that could be pulled off if absolutely everything went the right way. So far, nearly everything has gone close to perfect for the Canucks.
At the All-Star break, the Canucks have a single point lead in the division, just barely ahead of a four-way tie for second. Surprisingly though, Vancouver has games in hand over all teams trailing, the division is extremely tight, but the Canucks are doing the impossible and putting the doubters in their place. The chemistry in Van-City is high, the scoring is coming from up and down the lineup and the Canucks’ core is playing consistent elite-level hockey.
1. Jacob Markstrom is good
Jacob Markstrom has picked up right where he left off last season. The 2018-19 team MVP is back with another superstar calibre campaign. Despite facing the loss of his father, Markstrom has remained utterly solid in net. He’s racked up 34 starts, including18 wins with a 0.916 save percentage en route to his first, very hard-earned All-Star Game appearance. Markstrom is in the final year of his contract, the netminder will be looking to cash in on his next big deal. Perhaps a solid streak of wins and a ticket to the playoffs is the final test that lands him the contract he desires.
2. Quinn Hughes exceeding expectations
It’s some kind of miracle that Quinn Hughes fell to the Vancouver Canucks at number seven in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Hughes has burst on to the scene and has already made a strong case of being the best player in his draft class. Yes, he’s that good. The shifty, American born defender has been an absolute treat on the blueline in Vancouver. He’s only played 53 career games in his career, but you could argue he is the most talented D-man the club has ever had their hands on. 34 points in 48 games this season puts him third in rookie scoring, and its enough to rocket him into the 2020 All-Star Game. He’s an absolute home run for the Canucks.