3 reasons the Canucks will struggle without Thatcher Demko

What could go wrong did go wrong in the Canucks first game without star goaltender Thatcher Demko, and it could foreshadow a massive struggle.
Mar 7, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save
Mar 7, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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Thatcher Demko’s injury could not have come at a worse time for the Vancouver Canucks, who were getting hot once again following a bad February. In Vancouver’s first game since Demko’s injury, they picked up a point, but the Canucks ended up blowing a big lead. And it makes you wonder if that would have happened if they had their star goaltender in the net. 

All season, Demko has been one reason the Canucks have been such a dangerous hockey team, given his 34 wins, a 0.653 quality starts percentage, a 2.47 GAA, and a 0.917 save percentage. These all indicate that Demko would be a strong contender for the Vezina, and his current injury shouldn’t be a setback if he returns before the regular season ends and picks up where he left off. 

It also hurts because we are just one week past the NHL trade deadline, and the Canucks could have made a move to at least bring in a more capable backup than Casey DeSmith. Goaltenders like Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen (both traded to the New Jersey Devils) were available, as was Vitek Vanecek, who was part of the Kahkonen trade. 

Canucks could struggle with Thatcher Demko sidelined

Since Vancouver missed out at the trade deadline, they’re forced to turn to backup goaltender Casey DeSmith. DeSmith is in his first season with Vancouver, and it’s been a rough road, to put it generously, following five serviceable but unspectacular seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

DeSmith’s numbers this year have also been a far cry from Demko’s, and he hasn’t played often. So it’s a mystery to see how the 32-year-old will fare when asked to start most, if not every, game in the star goaltender’s absence. 

Since Demko has been so valuable to the Canucks throughout the season, there is a good chance they will struggle with DeSmith, and at times, Arturs Silovs in the net.