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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Ian Cole has been blocking plenty of would-be shots on goal this year

There is always that one blueliner who becomes a luxury, and while Ian Cole has more than been that player in the defensive zone throughout a career that has seen him play for a quarter of the league’s franchises, nobody on the Canucks has gotten in front of more shots on goal than the 35-year-old. Cole has 143 blocks this season, averaging roughly 2.15 per game, and that number has been sailing north lately. 

In his previous five games, Cole has gotten in front of the puck 15 times, and with the so-so Casey DeSmith and the inexperienced Arturs Silovs in the net for the foreseeable future, Cole must keep finding ways to disrupt incoming shots. It will make life easier for both goaltenders, and set up opportunities for more puck retrievals so the high-octane Canucks can force opponents to keep pace with them. 

Every blueliner needs to do the same as Cole, but since he’s once again making a living to ensure opposing players are having a tough time getting the puck through to the net, he needs to keep an eye out for these incoming shots on goal more than anyone. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)