The Vancouver Canucks obviously didn’t play as well as they had hoped last season. They were in the playoffs, but were swept in the first round by the San Jose Sharks. They were closest to the Cup in the 2011 Finals, where Boston dominated them and crushed their hopes of winning the Stanley Cup. Many people like to make fun of this team, with the Swedish twins and Roberto Luongo, who is a little “iffy” in net, but I think they will do exceptionally well this season, even though they gave up Cory Schneider.
First on my list is forward Alexandre Burrows. His 24 points last season wasn’t great, but it was something. He only missed one game, and he had the third highest +/- rating on the team with a + 15 (behind captain Henrik Sedin and Jason Garrison). The only thing that he did in the playoffs was take a penalty. There are zeros all across the board, except his 2 penalty minutes. He will be a forward on a roll this season. I can see him hitting high point totals, and hopefully, for Vancouver’s sake, they will be a lot of goals.
Ryan Kesler is a hometown hero where I live. He attended a high school that my school was rivals with, and he has shown that school great pride. His speed and skill has been great to watch, and he will continue next season, but with more pep in his step. #17 only played 17 games, but he did his best and notched 13 points (4G, 9A). Can you imagine if he had played the full 48 games? He could have had one heck of a season. With a full 82-game season approaching, hopefully staying healthy, Kesler will put up some huge numbers.
Big news at the last NHL entry draft in New Jersey. Vancouver traded goaltender Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the 9th overall pick. They selected Bo Horvat from the London Knights (OHL). When I followed the Plymouth Whalers, I watched a few London games. Horvat had quite a bit of speed and he could move the puck around quick. His OHL career was only a short two years, but he recorded 91 points in 131 games. That doesn’t include the 27 points he put up in 39 playoff games. He had 16 goals in his last playoff run, earning the OHL’s Wayne Gretzky 99 Award (OHL Playoff MVP). He can produce big points and will be able to do it in a Canucks jersey.
These players have the potential to be impact players this season. I know Horvat doesn’t look like he will play this season, but I think it foolish of the Canucks if they don’t play him. He is exactly what the team needs, and if these other players I mentioned step up, they will definitely be in the playoffs again, and last a little longer than last season.