The beginning of the “New Age” Canucks starts next year

Vancouver Canucks (Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)
Vancouver Canucks (Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Vancouver Canucks have made some changes to their roster that will cause them to depend on their youth. The time of the “New Age” starts now.

The Vancouver Canucks have a franchise centerman in Elias Pettersson. The Canucks have a franchise defender in Quinn Hughes. And the Canucks have an elite goaltender on the rise in Thatcher Demko. When the puck drops in the New Year, it’ll be the start of a New Age for west coast hockey.

Out with the old, and in with the new. General manager, Jim Benning has already begun this transition when he let go of some key free agents earlier this month. It wasn’t exactly the players he would have preferred to say goodbye to, but Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Tyler Toffoli and Troy Stecher all signed with other teams in the NHL. With that in mind, they’ve officially closed the book on their story in Vancouver.

But as old faces leave the Canucks to embark on a new journey, Vancouver’s NHL franchise will start writing a new chapter of their own. One that begins with an injection of youth that will hopefully see them become the building blocks that support this young and very exciting core of hockey players. One that starts with these franchise pieces stepping up and becoming leaders of this “new look” contender.

Of course, players of the old age still remain, but with their contracts withering away as time continues onward, youth has already begun to take over in Vancouver. Demko will split time in goal with Braden Holtby. Olli Juolevi will get an opportunity to slowly take some responsibility off the hands of Alex Edler. Zack MacEwen will get a chance at being a full-time NHLer. And finally, the Canucks are leaning on Jake Virtanen to be a legit top-six forward.

Yes, right now, it may feel like the Canucks have taken a step back. But this is the beginning of something great. It’s time for head coach, Travis Green to put some faith into a handful of up and coming prospects in the Canucks organization. It’s time to see what these kids can do under a younger group of leaders.

It’s clear that the old way of doing things has finally caught up to Benning. Long term and overpaid contracts have logjammed this team into forcing their hand. Because of it, Benning doesn’t have much of a choice other than to give his prospects an opportunity now. The veterans have had their chances for far too long and their time is coming to an end one way or another.

This will be a huge stepping stone for Pettersson, Hughes and Demko. As players like Brandon Sutter and Edler begin to regress, these three players will take on a lot of responsibility when it comes to lighting the way for the rookies to follow. They’ll need to be a shining example of what it takes to be a successful everyday NHL player.

Next. Canucks re-sign centre Adam Gaudette to 1-year contract. dark

Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen because the Canucks’ Stanley Cup window is right around the corner. It’s time to let the kids play hockey. It is time for a New Age in Vancouver.