4 Canucks players who shouldn’t return next season

The Vancouver Canucks are well within the playoff mix and Presidents’ Trophy contenders, but they could be even better next season.

Washington Capitals v Vancouver Canucks
Washington Capitals v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages
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The Canucks need a 1B as opposed to a backup goaltender

To be fair, Casey DeSmith has been adequate in the net for the Canucks since Demko’s injury. So far, he’s 3-2-1 with 14 goals allowed on 135 shot attempts, good for an 0.896 save percentage. But he’s also facing just 22.5 shots on goal per game in that stretch, and it’s more of a testament to the Canucks play in the defensive zone instead of DeSmith’s heroics. 

He’s also slightly below average when you look at xGA at even strength, which is 43.1. DeSmith has allowed 46 goals in that situation overall this season, and his overall 0.912 save percentage at even strength is lower than it’s been during most of his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins besides the 2022-23 campaign. 

DeSmith may be a good fit for teams whose goaltenders can make it through an entire season as the starter, but that hasn’t happened with Thatcher Demko. Instead, Vancouver must find a legitimate 1B to join Demko in a timeshare role. 

If the Canucks star goaltender can be held to roughly 50 starts in a season, he should stay fresh enough to remain healthy and continue to play the way he has this year. DeSmith has shown us he’s not the guy for the job, but there are a few goaltenders in free agency this summer who could fill the role.