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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Sam Lafferty is serviceable but as a rental only 

This one came down to a pair of pending unrestricted free agents - Dakota Joshua or Sam Lafferty - and the conclusion was obvious. Despite the hand injury Joshua suffered last month, the Canucks are a better team with the winger in the lineup. 

Joshua, who is close to returning at the time of this writing, should give this team a boost once he’s cleared to play in a game. This season, he’s been great, with 13 goals and 26 points in 53 games, converting shots into goals 18.8 percent of the time, and remaining physical against opponents with 195 hits. 

He’s taking away pucks, logging way more ice time than he has during his young career, contributing very well when the Canucks are short-handed, and he has more than done his part in the defensive zone at 5-on-5. 

Lafferty hasn’t done a bad job, as he’s a physical player who can score more than many give him credit for - especially this season - but you can find talents like Lafferty in pretty much any free agent class to fill those lower lines. As for a player that Joshua has turned into this season, it’s not the case, and he’s someone you extend while letting Lafferty fill the lower lines elsewhere. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)