Canucks injury updates on Thatcher Demko, Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson

We take a look at the latest injury news for the Vancouver Canucks, which includes some of the most important players on their roster.
San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks
San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

It might be the offseason, but injuries still play a role in a team's plans for the draft, free agency, trades and more. The situation is no different when it comes to the Vancouver Canucks.

In this respect, the Canucks actually have some of their most valuable players currently dealing from a variety of ailments. Here's the latest on each of the four players in question, even with training camp still a couple of months away:

Thatcher Demko

This past season proved that the Canucks were right in putting their faith in Thatcher Demko being the long-term number one in Vancouver. He had a career year across the board with 35 wins, a 2.45 Goals Against Average and 9.18 save percentage, and was named a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time.

Unfortunately for everyone concerned, Demko suffered a knee injury early in March, which effectively ruined his season as he missed 14 games. He did return, but another knee issue in the Canucks' first playoff game versus the Nashville Predators proved to be his final act of the 2023-24 campaign.

Yes, there was talk during the second round matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, that the two-time NHL All-Star could be in position to return the longer series lasted. However, it went all the way to a final game seven, and he was nowhere to be seen.

After the season, Demko did advise he was very close to returning and would have been available at some point of the next series versus the Dallas Stars, if the Canucks had advanced. However, all that matters now is that he's good to go for the beginning of next season, which he will be.

However, this doesn't mean there still aren't some concerns about the 28-year-old's health in a more general sense. As we wrote recently, does he have the durability to continue being the Canucks' number one goalie for the better part of another decade?

The reality is that injuries have been an ongoing issue for Demko ever since he established himself between the pipes. The question is, what can he do differently or better to guard against future problems with his health?

A number of things were discussed during Demko's end-of-season presser, including tweaking things system-wise and lessening his workload, which is where a quality backup (or two) is of vital importance. In any event, he will remain the Canuck's main hope in net moving forward, as long as he can remain healthy.

Brock Boeser

The 2023-24 season was the one where it all finally really came together for Brock Boeser. After teetering on the edge of superstardom since entering the NHL, he finally exploded with a team-leading and career-high 40 goals.

This form continued into the playoffs, as Boeser led the Canucks with seven goals in 12 games, while tying for the team lead with 12 points. Then disaster struck, with the announcement of some shocking news prior to game seven versus the Oilers in the second round.

It transpired that the two-time All-Star had developed a blood clot, which meant his season was over. On the plus side though, it wasn't career or -- much more importantly -- life threatening.

It was understandably an emotional situation for Boeser. As per Sportsnet, he said: "I took a shot in Game 1 on the power play, (I) had a bruise there. My leg was feeling fine, and then about a week later my calf started really hurting. So we got it checked out and had I think a clot in one of my small veins, which wasn't an issue so I was allowed to continue to play. I had a scan the next morning after game six and it showed that there was more clotting that moved into my deep vein."

Boeser continued: "I'm crushed. I wish I could have been out there with the guys. Obviously, one-goal game, I felt that, of course I'm sitting there saying, 'Yeah, I could have scored in this game.' I don't know what would have happened if I played, but I would have done anything to be out there. I asked if I could play, try to push them, but obviously the risks are too big and I had to protect my future."

On the very subject of the 27-year-old's future, everything seems to be going smoothly according to general manager Patrik Allvin. As per Canucks' play-by-play voice Brendan Batchelor, Allvin said Boeser will be good to go for camp.

To further provide some peace of mind for fans, Allvin added that he had spoken to recent Canucks' free agent signing Derek Forbort prior to Batchelor. Forbort advised he'd been working out with Boeser that same morning, who he is good friends with.

Elias Pettersson

Coming into the 2023-24 season, the Canucks and their fans were extremely excited about what to expect from Elias Pettersson. He was coming off a 2022-23 campaign where he truly showed the hockey world what he was capable of, highlighted by a career-high 102 points which put him in the top 10 for NHL scoring.

Pettersson would continue in a similar vein to begin this past season, and with 64 points in the first 49 games, was on course to produce a new personal high in scoring. However, then it all started to go wrong, coincidentally around the same time he signed his eight-year, $92.8 million contract extension with the Canucks.

The 2017 fifth overall draft pick was decidedly average the rest of the way, including only managing six points in 13 games when the team needed him most. It was only at his end-of-season presser, when he said he'd been dealing with a knee injury since January and the longer it went on, the more pain he felt.

This seemed fair enough in explaining the downturn in Pettersson's production, but it turned out that not everyone within the organisation was on the same wavelength. According to Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff, the Canucks were actually shocked to hear him blame the knee injury as a main reason for the decline in his performances, believing he had only been dealing with some tendinitis.

In fact, during an appearance on The Sekeres & Price Show, Seravalli claimed the organisation thought the severity of the injury was overblown. This was soon countered by Pettersson's agent J.T. Barry, who said the player was just being honest about his injury, rather than making excuses.

The problem with all of this is that somebody isn't being entirely truthful here; while we have no inside information, we would side with the employer, who is paying a considerable amount of money to their employee. And as much as this position reflects unfavourably on Petterrsson there is actually a positive in this, in that it alludes to him likely being healthy and ready to go come training camp.

Not that anyone can say for sure, with Canucks Army's Jeff Paterson noting the four-time All-Star has been keeping a low profile since his end-of-season presser, including not updating any of his social media accounts. However, we'll keep some faith and assume if Pettersson was needing any surgery, treatment, etc, it would have been reported somewhere ... unless he once again hasn't advised the Canucks!

Tucker Poolman

Finally we come to Tucker Poolman, who is in a different situation entirely when it comes to his ailments and situation. He missed this entire past season, due to dealing with ongoing neurological complications from migraines.

It was this same situation, which limited Poolman to just three games the season before, his second with the Canucks. In total, he has only played 43 games for the team since he was signed to a four-year, $10 million deal in July 2021.

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As a result of being shut down for the entire 2023-24 season, the blue-liner and his $2.5 million annual salary were placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve. Unless the Canucks can find a trade partner, a similar fate awaits Poolman for the final season of his deal in Vancouver.

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