Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vancouver Canucks Season Preview 2014-15

2014-2015 Vancouver Canucks Season Preview

The 2013-2014 season was one of disappointment for the Canucks, Tortorella only lasted a season, the Sedins performed at an incredibly underwhelming rate, Luongo was FINALLY TRADED! and its was the last season for Ryan Kesler in a Vancouver sweater.  GM Mike Gillis was fired and Trevor Linden was hired to an executive position, and Willie Dejardins will replace Tortorella as bench boss.  Coming over in the Kesler trade was Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa from the Ducks, Bonino will provide center depth and power play time and Sbisa will provide for depth on defense.  Vancouver also signed goaltender Ryan Miller giving them an experienced number 1 goalie.  I do not seeing Vancouver making the playoffs.

Sedin Twins-  Daniel and Henrik were perennial all star hockey players until this year when production took a dip and both missed at least 7 games to injuries, neither of them scored more than 50 points in 70 games.  These brothers have a high skill set and can give each other the puck like not many else in the league due to that twin telepathy theory.  As leaders of the Canucks, the Sedins need to perform like their former MVP/runners up selves, these two are 34 years old this season so it remains to be seen if they can still string together 80 point seasons, Vancouver faithful sure hope so.

Goaltending-  Ryan Miller has not had many bad seasons, and the ones he did have were due to being on awful Buffalo teams, Ryan is a former Vezina trophy winner as well as an olympic silver medalist with Team USA.  Miller was rejuvenated in a deadline move to St.Louis and played well until the Blues' collapse in the first round, being up 2 games to 0 and then losing 4 straight and being eliminated.  Expect Miller to play solid but have some bumps in the road playing behind a sub par roster with average depth and skill passed the first line.

Bonino- This is a little bit in memoriam because I watched Nick play for Avon Old Farms his senior season when I was a freshman at Salisbury School and this dude lit up the NEPSIHA, scoring 66 points in around 25 games, just killing it against legitimate prep school hockey clubs, I watched him closely when he played at Boston University and was ecstatic when the Ducks acquired him from the Sharks while he was still a prospect at BU.  Bonino was average his first few years in Anaheim but he was a local CT boy so I was psyched to have him on the squad, and last year he broke out with 49 points and an absolute clutch performer in the regular season and post season both at even strength and on the power play.  The Canucks got an up and coming player who I believe could put up 60 points if he plays with the right guys, I wish him success and already miss him, he is a hard worker that will slot in at the 2nd or 3rd line Center position for Vancouver, doesn't have great speed but has a nose for the net.

Fallout with the boyz-  Situations with Tortorella, Kesler, Mike Gillis, and Luongo made for an ugly season last year.  Tortorella is a fiery coach who just does not seem to give a fuck, he had altercations with fellow coach, Bob Hartley of the Flames and basically does not know when to keep his mouth shut, the players did not buy into his system and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in over half a decade.  Ryan Kesler became increasingly displeased with the organization and requested a trade close to the deadline, a deal did not get done but he was eventually traded before the draft to the Anaheim Ducks which was best for both organizations because you do not want to deal with tensions like that and a player who does not want to be on your team.  The biggest yet most relieving fallout was Luongo, one that was years in the making due to the choke jobs Luongo displayed year in and year out in the post season and emergence of Schneider, who ironically got traded before Roberto did, it must have been awkward to not be wanted within an organization for literally 3 plus years and kept on when they could have gotten rid of him, Florida is a fresh start for him and opened up a spot for All Star goalie Ryan Miller to eventually sign and fill.  Now Mike Gillis had a rough few years like Roberto did, but unlike Luongo, Gillis was the idiot that was keeping an unhappy goaltender on the roster along with fans that did not think he should be there any longer.  Gillis traded Lunogo's successor which made zero sense and hired a coach whose system did not connect with the players' style, it got to a point where there were "Fire Gillis" chants in Vancouver on a nightly basis.  All in all a hideous season for Vancouver, on a business and hockey perspective. 

Prediction-  Vancouver might work their way up to a bubble team but that is the best I think they will do, they need to adjust to another system and new players, Vancouver might be good in 2-3 years but right now they are not a playoff team, they play in the same division as the California teams and they might as well have their names etched on the playoff seedings list.

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