It has been an up and down few weeks for the Vancouver Canucks.
After three straight wins which included two big wins over the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers, the Canucks fell back to earth with 7-2 thumping at the hands of the New Jersey Devils on Monday night. Calgary and New York are in the top ten of the league-wide standings and New Jersey is in the bottom ten. That tells you one thing about the Canucks, they lack consistency.
Other than that seven-game win streak in December which started after Bruce Boudreau arrived, the Canucks have been an up and down team all season. In their last 10 games, they are 6-4-0. There have been some big wins but some ugly losses like the ones to the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks.
At the time of this writing, the Canucks have 58 points and are just three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot.
Vancouver only has a 12.1% chance at making the playoffs according to MoneyPuck. Yeah, It seems unlikely at this point. The Canucks’ flaws have been masked by the great goaltending of Thatcher Demko. The defensive core needs an overhaul and there has been inconsistency from the team’s top players. Fortunately, Elias Pettersson is returning to form and J.T. Miller has been a point-per-game player but players like Nils Höglander have had offensive droughts.
If the Canucks do make the playoffs as a wild card team, it will be hard to see them get past a team like the Flames, Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche in a seven-game series due to their inconsistencies this past season. Demko can’t be relied on like he was in the bubble against Vegas.
The Canucks are still a flawed team and they need to sell at the deadline.
Trade rumours have been swirling around the Canucks for the last few weeks. Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman joined Monday’s edition of Donnie and Dhali: The Team on CHEK TV and he said the Canucks are listening to calls on everybody except Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Demko.
Making the playoffs would be nice this year especially since there has not been a playoff game at Rogers Arena since 2015. However, the team isn’t ready to go on a deep run and it is more likely there will be a quick exit in the first round.
It shouldn’t be about just making the playoffs it should be about building a team that can go on deep runs every year for a long time and of course, can win the Stanley Cup.
A team that can beat a top ten team in the NHL and lose to a bottom ten team needs improvements which we already know. To make those improvements, the first step for Jim Rutherford, Patrik Allvin and company to do is to sell. Rutherford has already got approval from the fanbase by talking about a long-term vision and hiring competent people in the organization.
Whether the trades involve Miller or not, the Canucks need to be thinking about the future and acquire assets that can make them a team that makes the playoffs consistently and goes far every year.