3 veterans the Canucks will lean on in the postseason

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks have one of the youngest teams in the NHL, meaning they’ll be leaning on these three veterans once the postseason rolls around.

The Vancouver Canucks have built a very promising core over the past few years, and 2019-20 will mark the first postseason appearance for several players.

They’re going to play the most important hockey of their lives, all while opposing coaches and players do everything they can to shut them down. These three veterans will be crucial leaders in the locker room and on the ice once the playoffs commence.

1. J.T. Miller

Since joining the Canucks, J.T. Miller has quickly established himself as a leader in both the locker room and on the ice. At 27 years of age, he has already been to the postseason six times and has experienced both sides of the spectrum, from going to the Eastern Conference Final (with the New York Rangers in 2015) to a devastating first round elimination (with the Tampa Bay Lightning last year)

He learned first-hand how important mental toughness is in the playoffs, and Miller will be important in keeping his team level-headed. In February, he talked about last year’s sweep to ESPN and the lesson he took away from the experience.

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Anything can happen, and you can’t take anyone lightly, Miller said. “We were a period away from going up 1-0 and felt like we were dominating. And then lost four straight.”

Miller will be important in keeping perspective in the locker room but also leading by example on the ice. He has established himself as a top-line winger on the Canucks, and Miller will be counted on to continue his high-end production from the regular season.

2. Tanner Pearson

Tanner Pearson was with the Los Angeles Kings when they won their second Stanley Cup in three years back in 2013-14.

The biggest reason for their Cup win was the roster depth. L.A. received production up and down the lineup, and Pearson on the second line played a big role, putting up 12 points (four goals, eight assists) during the postseason.

Tyler Toffoli was also on that championship team, and perhaps we will see a reunion of the two wingers when the Canucks compete for a Stanley Cup of their own.

Depth has always been a key factor in the playoffs. Defences tighten, up and injuries run rampant as the games get more physical. Pearson experienced first-hand how important depth was to the Cup-winning Kings, and he’ll serve an important depth piece for the Canucks.

3. Alexander Edler

When Quinn Hughes was just seven years of age, Alexander Edler was playing his first season with the Canucks. He has played 873 games with Vancouver, having experience everything.

From their prime in the early 2010s to their downfall, Edler has always been a reliable piece on the back end. He finished the 2019-20 campaign with his third-consecutive 30-point season, despite seeing his ice time slashed by nearly two full minutes and losing valuable power play time.

He knows the organization better than any other Canuck. Edler will help the young players navigate through the media frenzy as well as manage expectations while keeping their focus as narrow as possible.

Edler could be on the top shut-down pairing for Vancouver, giving Hughes an easier matchup on the second pair. The lack of travel with hub cities will definitely benefit him, as it gives Edler more of a chance to recover and prepare for the next game.

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Veterans are really important in the playoffs, as they have a lot of experience and know what it takes to win. These three players will be crucial in providing guidance for the Canucks as their young players navigate through the NHL postseason for the first time in their lives.