After a busy offseason, the Vancouver Canucks are looking to get back into the playoff picture in 2022 after missing out in 2021.
The Canucks did make the playoffs in 2020 (Probably wouldn’t have made it if the pandemic didn’t happen.) and they managed to knockoff the St. Louis Blues but bowed out in the second round at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights with Thatcher Demko pulling off stellar goaltending performances in the final three games.
The 2021-22 season will have (Thankfully) no more Scotia North Division and a return to the Pacific Division and an 82 game season. The only thing that is different in this year’s Pacific Division is that the Seattle Kraken has replaced the Arizona Coyotes who have moved to the Central Division.
The Pacific looks like it will be an unpredictable division. Vegas is the clear favourite to win the division. One of San Jose or Anaheim is going to finish last and Los Angeles has potential to surprise but doesn’t look like a playoff team yet. After that, it will be a dog fight between Vancouver, Seattle, Edmonton, and Calgary for playoff positions.
The Canucks are a much better team than they were last year on paper. If they don’t make the playoffs, general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green won’t be back for the 2022-23 season.
Here are some things that need to happen for the Canucks to make the playoffs this season.
Thatcher Demko has to prove he is one of the better starting goalies in the NHL
You could say the above statement is already true and yes, you’re right.
However, this will be Demko’s first full season as the starter in the NHL. It’s his crease now and he has to own it.
Starters usually end up playing 55-60 games and it’s going to be a big test for Demko.
However, Demko has kind of had a taste of what that was like with the condensed schedule last season.
You can’t expect him to be an absolute brick wall every game and he is going to get tired and he will have to pave the way for Jaroslav Halak.
He has to show he can handle a full 82 game season and like any goaltender try to stay consistent and bounce back from a below-average performance from the next start.
The Canucks are going to be in good hands if Demko performs the same way he did last spring for a large chunk of this season.