Canucks: Early season mailbag through five games

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 02: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 02: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – OCTOBER 15: Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 of the Vancouver Canucks looks to pass during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on October 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – OCTOBER 15: Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 of the Vancouver Canucks looks to pass during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on October 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

I was admittedly not a fan of the Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade. I didn’t think he had anything left and that the contract would kill the Canucks both now and in the future. It may still do the latter, but OEL has been solid this year. He hasn’t made any glaring mistakes, and his offensive play is a major upgrade over the rest of the defensive corps save for Hughes. He gets shots through and on net, which is a welcome sight for those who watched Alexander Edler for so many years (Love Eagle, but come on.)

He looks to have recovered from his knee injury, but also seems to be playing with a lot more confidence. It’s a long season and five games is a small sample size, but I have no complaints about OEL so far.

Conor Garland in my opinion has been the Canucks best forward through five games. He is truly everywhere. Yes there are some reckless plays and yes there are some moments that make you ask why?

But for a team that has had long stretches of being completely lethargic this year, Garland, along with Nils Höglander have been two of the only energizer bunnies on the Canucks.

He’s a fun, pesky player in the realm of Brendan Gallagher or even a Brad Marchand without the cheap shots (and the elite scoring ability). The Canucks badly needed a true top-six winger to play with Bo Horvat, and Garland has been that. Oh and he also leads the team in scoring.