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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Casey DeSmith is not a starting-caliber goaltender

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Casey DeSmith has never been capable of more than just a timeshare, which was the case during his stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins before he came to British Columbia. While he put up some sensational numbers in Pittsburgh, he also never recorded over 30 starts in a single season during the best days of his career. 

Last season was the only outlier when he saw action in 38 games with 33 starts. The result was a 15-16-4 record, a 0.905 save percentage, and a 3.17 GAA. A 0.485 quality starts percentage to go with seven ‘really bad starts’ indicates that, when asked to play or start in a large cluster of games, DeSmith isn’t the guy you want in the net. 

That trend continued into the current season when, despite a decent 0.556 quality starts percentage, he’s also on pace to set a new career-high of ‘really bad starts,’ with five so far in 18 starts. His 2.91 GAA is also the second-worst mark of his career, and his 0.897 save percentage is his lowest number through six seasons in the league.