What does success look like for the Canucks in 2024?

Vancouver Canucks v Dallas Stars
Vancouver Canucks v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Saying that the year 2023 was a rollercoaster for the Vancouver Canucks would be an understatement. However, the Canucks ended the year on a high note as one of the Western Conference's best teams. What a turnaround, huh?

Now undoubtedly one of the NHL's top dogs, where do the Canucks go from here? Vancouver has played 37 games so far, so they're a little less than halfway through the season. By extension, they're also less than halfway to the postseason. Some might argue that the Canucks should double down on their crazy run and trade for more pieces ahead of the March trade deadline. Others would say to ride it out and continue to build towards the future.

Top prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki has had a great showing at the 2024 World Junior Championships, and the Canucks have defensemen like Tom Willander and Hunter Brzustewicz on the come-up as well. Vasily Podkolzin and Aatu Raty have had highly productive seasons in Abbotsford, too. Already without a second-round pick, if the Canucks look to spend their first-rounder in a trade, they won't be adding to that pool of players.

The Canucks haven't been able to find the right combination of forwards throughout the entire lineup yet. Despite seeming to have turned a corner recently, Andrei Kuzmenko will come out of the lineup again. Whether it be the end of this season, the summer, or the start of next season, GM Patrik Allvin and Co. will need to resolve this issue. Aside from that, the Canucks don't really need any more forwards.

You could justify the Canucks spending more assets to upgrade defensively, but is it worth it with the aforementioned Willander and Brzustewicz only a few years out? Probably not. It is worth noting, however, that Quinn Hughes is the only defenseman on the roster under the age of 25. It's unlikely a good defenseman that age would be made available, but if so, that would be a wise investment from Vancouver.

So what does success look like for the Canucks? Making the right decisions, I would say. That alone will show that the organization has turned over a new leaf. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson's buyout costing Vancouver north of $2 million in each of the next five seasons, building through the draft will become paramount.