Canucks: It’s time to start playing the team’s young forwards

It’s time to call a spade a spade. The Vancouver Canucks season is over. The mixture of a poorly constructed roster, an extended absence of Elias Pettersson and a lengthy stoppage for COVID-19 was a lethal disaster for Vancouver, and with nine games left, the Canucks would need a miracle to make the playoffs. It’s simply not happening.

So all Vancouver can do now is begin to look towards next year. Vasili Podkolzin should bring some reinforcement and hopefully, Pettersson can stay healthy. But the Canucks also need to address their bottom six. It has quite frankly been atrocious this season and right now is a good time to start looking at potential roster pieces next season both with forwards and defencemen.

Kole Lind has already gotten into three games. Jonah Gadjovich will be joining the team next week. Jack Rathbone made his NHL debut on Tuesday night. But those shouldn’t be the only three.

What does Vancouver have to lose giving the likes of Lukas Jasek, Will Lockwood, Guillaume Brisebois, Michael DiPietro and even Carson Focht a look? Worst case scenario, they are overmatched and lose, something they’ve been doing a lot of lately anyway. Obviously, the quarantine period complicates things, but it shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent.

The fact of the matter is, the Canucks don’t gain anything running the likes of Travis Boyd, Jimmy Vesey and Jayce Hawryluk out there for much longer. None are signed past this season, and none have given any indication that they should be back. Hawryluk has two points in 21 games, Boyd and Vesey are pointless in 10 and 11 games respectively. What is Jasek or Lockwood going to do? Have negative points? They can’t possibly produce at a slower clip than those three, and at least they come with some upside.

Part of what made the Canucks a playoff team like last year is the depth scoring they received from guys like Adam Gaudette, Jake Virtanen and even Josh Leivo and Zack MacEwen at times. That has not been the case whatsoever this year. Forward production outside the Lotto Line, Bo Horvat and Nils Hoglander has been relatively nonexistent meaning that if the top guys get shut down, the Canucks aren’t scoring. And the top guys have been shut down plenty with Pettersson missing so much time.

Are the AHL forwards listed the answer? Maybe. Maybe not. But you do know that Boyd, Vesey, Hawryluk aren’t the answer. So what do you have to lose seeing what Jasek, Lockwood and Focht can bring?