There’s no surprise that the Vancouver Canucks head into the 2022-2023 season with their sights set on the playoffs.
After inking forward J.T. Miller to a massive eight-year extension, as well as bringing in speedy and tenacious winger Ilya Mikheyev and bottom-six centre Curtis Lazar to round out the roster, the team will be looking to continue their second-half surge from last season all the way into the playoffs.
The bad news? Anything less than the postseason will be an utter failure, putting immense pressure on both the front office and on the players.
With expectations sky high, the Canucks will need several players to break out offensively, while also relying on their superstars to carry the mail more than ever. With that being said, let’s take a look at how the season could play out offensively for the team’s forwards.
Prediction: 36 goals and 62 assists (79 GP)
A completely healthy offseason and no contract distractions appears to have worked wonders for Elias Pettersson, with initial reports out of training camp suggesting that he’s been as dominant as ever. For the team to be serious about playoff contention, Pettersson must be the leader of this team offensively, so don’t be surprised if the young Swedish centre gets close to the 100-point mark while also cementing himself as a bonafide superstar in this league.
Prediction: 28 Goals and 55 Assists (76 GP)
Miller saw incredible success on the powerplay last season, tallying 38 of his 99 points on the first unit, and it’s very likely that this powerplay success will continue this season. However, Miller has mentioned that he wants to focus on rounding out his 200-foot game more, which could lead to the 29-year-old taking a slight step back. He will likely still put up impressive numbers, but this could be the year that Miller takes a backseat to Pettersson’s offensive charge.
Prediction: 31 Goals and 31 Assists (70 GP)
Could this be the year for Brock Boeser to hit 30 goals? He definitely thinks so.
Boeser appears more settled in this year’s training camp and will be looking to bounce back from the past three mediocre seasons for him. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old will have to wait a little bit to kick off his quest for 30 goals, with the team recently announcing that he’ll be sidelined for 3-4 weeks following successful hand surgery.
Is there a chance that Boeser is slow out of the gate when returning? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean Boeser still won’t be poised to reach the offensive production that Canucks fans have longed for from him since his rookie season.
Prediction: 72 GP 32 Goals and 22 Assists (72 GP)
A contract year for Bo Horvat could lead to a few big distractions, but the captain’s maturity and leadership will still carry him this season. As steady as they come offensively, Horvat’s game and role won’t change much, so expect him to once again be relied on for his sturdy two-way play and consistent goal-scoring.
Prediction: 21 Goals and 33 Assists (77 GP)
After a blockbuster trade brought the tenacious winger to Vancouver, Conor Garland managed to have a good season, albeit with a few ups and downs. Now with a year under his belt, Garland hopes to properly settle into his role as a secondary scorer on a deep offensive team.
Prediction: 20 Goals and 25 Assists (70 GP)
So far, all the reports have suggested that Nils Höglander has looked incredible in training camp and will be looking to bounce back during this year’s sophomore campaign. Will he find himself a consistent threat in the top-six forward rotation? Likely not. But Höglander could take strides in cementing his role on this year’s team, and for many seasons moving forward.
Prediction: 18 Goals and 21 Assists (66 GP)
The 2019 10th overall selection began to get more and more comfortable as the season went on last year and will undoubtedly work towards securing a spot in the top-six rotation.
Prediction: 16 Goals 22 assists (69 GP)
This one was a little difficult to judge, as a 26-year-old rookie only has KHL success under his belt. The production doesn’t always translate, but the Canucks are hoping for Andrei Kuzmenko to not only establish chemistry with Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev, but to also be a winger that can slide up and down the lineup during the season.
Prediction: 16 Goals 10 Assists (55 GP)
As we all know, the speedy winger secured quite the contract from General Manager Patrick Allvin this offseason. This one may turn into one of those disappointing free agent contracts handed on the opening day of free agency, but the Canucks will still rely on Mikheyev to provide crucial offensive depth for the team’s middle-six.
Prediction: 12 Goals and 14 assists (71 GP)
The veteran winger may see a decrease in his role this season with the additions of Mikheyev and Kuzmenko. However, his production has been steady through his tenure with the Canucks and that should continue as he’ll be relied on to move up and down the lineup and could even find himself on Horvat’s wing again at some point due to their familiarity and chemistry with one another.
Prediction: 9 Goals and 5 Assists (79 GP)
Not known for his offensive prowess, the feisty centre was brought in for his defensive game, penalty-killing abilities and high faceoff win percentage to take the pressure off of Horvat.
Prediction: 6 Goals and 6 Assists (56 GP)
Similar to Lazar, Jason Dickinson will have a specific role on the team which will be defensive zone starts and penalty killing.
What do you think, Canucks fans? Are these points predictions in line with what you would expect this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments below!