There isn’t a lot of news surrounding the Vancouver Canucks at the moment. It’s the dog days of summer folks and it’s blazing hot in Vancouver and British Columbia.
While the Canucks are talked about endlessly on social media and Sportsnet 650, other Vancouver sports teams’ seasons are in full swing. Sports fans in Vancouver have flocked to Nat Bailey Stadium to catch the Canadians, the Langley Events Centre to watch the Fraser Valley Bandits or BC Place to watch a BC Lions game or a Vancouver Whitecaps match.
The Whitecaps on Wednesday won their second Canadian Championship title as they beat Toronto FC in a thrilling game that went to penalties in front of over 24,000 at BC Place. I was covering that game for the Area 51 Sports Network and even got to watch the penalty shootout on the sidelines.
That was an experience I will never forget. That was also one of a few reasons why I took a few days off from writing about the Canucks. Our contributors have also taken some time off for various reasons. It’s summer after all.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten my duties here at TheCanuckWay.
So with August approaching, here are five questions heading into the season for the Canucks.
#1: Will the defence be fixed before the season starts?
Yeah, this is the big one.
Unfortunately, the Canucks defensive core is the same as last season. That’s not a good thing. The Canucks going into next season with the same defence would be unacceptable, especially considering how poor they were last season. (Especially with the breakouts)
But Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford admitted that fixing the defence has been harder than expected.
“We have to address our defence, which has been harder to do in the offseason,” said Rutherford on Wednesday’s edition of the Bob McCown Podcast. “There were some defencemen available in free agency, it didn’t work for us, whether it was term or what they were looking for. It appears that it’s going to take longer to address the defence than we would have liked. We’re going to have to do it through trades.”
Rutherford also said it’s all about finding the right partner to trade with.
“We need to do more than what we’ve done, but you can only do things if you have a partner to do it,” he said.
So it looks like changes to the defence could happen but it will be tough. We all know the Canucks need help on the right side. They were linked to the Carolina Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear before free agency and John Marino of the Pittsburgh Penguins in trade rumours. But Bear re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes to a one-year deal worth 2.2 million dollars and Marino was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round pick.
So the Canucks have to go for other options. They have been linked to some interesting names.
One of these is John Klingberg. According to Irfaan Gaffar of TheFourthPeriod on July 22’s edition of Canucks Central on Sportsnet 650, the Canucks planned to trade Tyler Myers to the New York Islanders on draft day but of course, it never happened. But had they traded Myers and got more cap space, they would’ve signed Klingberg.
I don’t see the fit because Klingberg is turning 30 this year and even if the Canucks did have the cap space for him, signing a 30-year-old to a big contract is always a risk. (Update: on Friday morning, it was reported that Klingberg will sign a one-year deal worth seven million dollars with the Anaheim Ducks.)
The Canucks have also been linked to Islanders’ defenceman Noah Dobson according to Ben Kuzma of The Province.
Now, this would be an excellent get. Dobson is 22 and coming off a 51-point season. He still has a ton of upside and would be the perfect long-term partner for Quinn Hughes due to his ability to excel on both ends of the rink.
However, I don’t see the Islanders moving him and would be surprised if they do because he is the future of their blue line. Kuzma suggested J.T. Miller could be involved in a trade for Dobson. But they would have to give up more than just Miller. Players like Jack Rathbone and Nils Höglander would probably have to go to Long Island for Dobson.
It is tempting and the Canucks should kick tires if Dobson is on the trade block. I could be wrong but it doesn’t look like he is. But remember, Lou Lamoriello traded Devon Toews for two second-round picks so it is not impossible.
Looks like the Canucks will have to find the right partner and offer if they want to acquire a right-handed defenceman before the season starts in October.