3 Canucks players who must step up with Thatcher Demko sidelined

The Vancouver Canucks are in trouble if a few high-caliber players are unable to step up in star goaltender Thatcher Demko’s absence.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights
Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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Dear Elias Lindholm - it’s time to show fans why Vancouver traded for you

While it’s an uncommon tactic, Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin should have done more to try and trade away the recently-acquired Elias Lindholm. Unfortunately, Vancouver is stuck with him for the rest of the season, but with so-so talent at best in front of the net, Lindholm has a chance to prove he’s a better fit for this team than he’s been so far. 

Seven points in 19 games show Lindholm won’t help the Canucks offensively, so let’s turn to the neutral and defensive zones for the former Calgary Flame to show his value. He’s proven himself to be one of the league’s best defensive forwards in the past, as he finished second for the Selke in 2021-22 before following that up with a 10th-place finish last year. 

So if he’s going to underperform when his team has the puck, he needs to get ultra-aggressive during Demko’s absence. Lindholm can disrupt potential shots on goal, and in Vancouver’s loss to the Avalanche, he finished five checks. 

He needs to keep that aggression going for another week or so, but it’s also important for him to start winning more defensive zone faceoffs while the Canucks are shorthanded. So far, he’s riding a 50 percent faceoff win percentage in that situation, a far cry from the 60.9 he’s carrying at 5-on-5. 

He’s been their best player in the faceoff dot, and it’s up to him to ensure the Canucks gain possession of the puck when opponents are looking to score a quick goal.