What should we expect in net for the Canucks next season?

Jan 21, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vacnouver Canucks goalie Spencer Martin (30) replaces his mask against the Florida Panthers in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vacnouver Canucks goalie Spencer Martin (30) replaces his mask against the Florida Panthers in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

While we already know who will be the number one goalie for the Vancouver Canucks, last season showed that, just like Batman needs Robin, Thatcher Demko might need his Spencer Martin… or Collin Delia?

Last season, Demko led the team with 64 games played and a 0.915 SV%, numbers that ultimately led him into the Vezina Trophy conversation.

But his number two, Jaroslav Halak, unfortunately never got into a rhythm to help the team in Demko’s absence. Halak finished the year with four wins out of 17 games played, to go with a 2.94 GAA.

Fortunately, the Canucks found a much more suitable replacement in Martin. Even though the 27-year-old only suited up for six starts at the end of the last season, he still managed to secure three wins. More impressively, Martin finished the campaign with a magnificent 0.950 SV%.

Based on how Martin performed last year in the AHL and the NHL, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as the projected number two behind Demko this season.

Let’s look more into what Demko’s load could look like next season and whether Martin’s place in the NHL really is as clear-cut as it seems from the outside.

Could Demko have another season of 60+ games?

Now, of course, this question has more factors than just one. For example, we always need to factor in injury, how well the back-ups perform, and, like last season, a possible late season playoff push.

But, for argument’s sake, let’s put all of those factors aside and simply assess the big picture. In other words, how we can expect head coach Bruce Boudreau to use his goalies.

In his 15-year career as an NHL head coach, Boudreau only had three goalies play 60+ games a season, one of those goalies being Demko last season.

The other two?

Jonas Hiller who played 73 games in 2011-12 for the Anaheim Ducks team, who eventually failed to make the playoffs that year after Boudreau was brought on at the fairly early stages in that season, and Devan Dubynk, who did not play less than 60 games in three consecutive seasons.

In terms of the physical attributes, Demko is likely the most similar to Dubynk. which could tell you a lot about the kind of goalies that Boudreau prefers.

Demko is two inches shorter than Dubnyk, and also a little lighter, but if the example of Dubnyk says anything about the goalies that Boudreau rides the most, then this is the recipe for the next few seasons under this coach.

In those three seasons, Dubnyk was also at the height of his game, which led to serious Vezina consideration, much like Demko is expected to be for the foreseeable future.

When Demko was asked about the possibility of another busy season for him, he replied, “I think once the season starts you can have a number in your head but obviously that’s not my job to decide… I will be ready for whatever they need me to do.”

What we know about Spencer Martin

It’s very likely that almost every Canucks fan apart had no clue where Martin came from last season, and that’s understandable.

The 2013 third-round pick had not really shown anything special through his career up to this point.

Having played just three other NHL games prior to joining the Canucks, Martin’s resume is definitely brief.

However, the former Tampa Bay Lightning netminder has been a solid AHL goalie for most of his career, having won 87 AHL games through seven years, with his breakthrough finally arriving last year.

As mentioned before, Martin impressed in the big leagues last year, but even his AHL stats back up the fact that his showing through those six games was not a fluke.

Martin played 25 games for the Abbotsford Canucks, winning 19 with three shutouts, while also recording a 0.914 SV%.

In yesterday’s Canucks’ training camp media day, Demko commented on Martin and their relationship.

"“He came in last year, he played unbelievable. I’ve been skating with him for over a month now, just trying to build that chemistry off the ice and he’s been looking good so far this year and I know we are both excited to work together.”"

Is Collin Delia going under the radar in Vancouver?

Delia, who was acquired this offseason, previously spent five years with the Chicago Blackhawks organization, playing a total of 32 NHL games. His best record came in the 2018-19 season, where he played 16 games with six wins and a 0.908 SV%.

Delia is an experienced and cheap addition for the Canucks who, according to mentor Pasco Valana, can and will work hard in the minors and the NHL when given the opportunity.

Valana is a long-standing goaltending coach for the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey program and currently leads the “Elite Goalies” Canadian Division in BC.

Having previously worked with Delia, Valana recently posted a training camp clip of Delia making some great saves and super high IQ movements in order to turn the puck away.

In an interview on the “Slangin’ the Bizkit Podcast,” he spoke about Delia’s ability, stating that “he’s a guy that’s got NHL experience, amazing AHL numbers, he’s got the drive that he wants it [success] more than anything in the world.”

Valana also spoke on Delia’s goaltending coach situation.

"“He can definitely move into a starting role down the line here and become an incredible goaltender… Now he’s got Ian Clark and a goalie coach from Finland, I mean I have no doubt that Ian’s going to do a great job with Collin, and I think it’s going to be a phenomenal season.”"

In other words, don’t be surprised if the goaltending tandem of Demko and Martin ends up being a goaltending triad this season with Delia in the mix for the Canucks.

Next. 5 comparable contracts for Bo Horvat. dark

What are your thoughts on Vancouver’s goaltending situation this year? Let us know in the comments!