Will Nick Bonino score 20 goals next season?

After a nearly-historic level of offensive ineptness last season, one of the biggest questions Canucks fans had for the new management regime was where the goals were going to come from next season. That became even more of a concern when the Canucks traded their leading goalscorer, Ryan Kesler.

The Canucks certainly had little choice in the matter and Kesler will likely never again reach the 40+ goal heights of 2010-11, but he’s consistently scored more than 20 goals since 2007, apart from the lockout and injury-shortened 2012-13 season. As much as the Canucks appear to be glad to see him on his way out, they’ll still miss the 20-25 goals he’d have likely contributed next season.

Jim Benning took some steps toward adding scoring, signing Radim Vrbata, who has 140 goals since 2007, 24 fewer than Kesler in that time. There’s hope that with Vrbata joining the top line, he could revitalize the Sedins and help them to a bounce back season. In addition, Alex Burrows can’t possibly have a worse season than last year, Zack Kassian looks poised to breakout, and Nicklas Jensen has shown signs of being ready to put the puck past NHL goaltenders.

Benning, however, is also expecting goalscoring from another source: Nick Bonino, the centrepiece of the package the Canucks received from the Anaheim Ducks in return for Kesler.

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Trevor Linden’s Twitter account wants to hook you up

Trevor Linden has a big job ahead of him. I’m not talking about his new role as President of the Vancouver Canucks, mind you, although that certainly is a challenge. After all, the rookie president is now tasked with delicately balancing the three heads of power around him — new GM Jim Benning, new coach Willie Desjardins, and shadow owner Francesco Aquilini, who would prefer to have his message filtered through the mouth and supple lips of Mr Linden.

Linden is also tasked with remodelling a stale Canucks team in the hopes of returning them to the Stanley Cup Final, perhaps this fourth time as the victors. But even that’s not the big job I’m talking about.

Instead, I refer to Linden’s Friday afternoon task of seizing his Twitter account back from the bug that has him tweeting gently pornographic chat recommendations to his followers like some sort of E-pimp.

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Watch every goal Tom Sestito scored last season

When Mike Gillis re-signed Tom Sestito on a one-way contract for two years last summer, it was met with a collective, “Really?” from the Canucks fanbase. Even the most ardent fan of enforcers could tell you that those numbers should have been reversed: a two-way contract for one year.

The previous season, Sestito barely saw the ice after getting claimed off waivers and was in and out of the press box. It wasn’t an expensive contract at $750,000 per season, but it was a baffling one. Enforcers like Sestito are easy to find in free agency or on the waiver wire, so committing to two years to a 25-year-old enforcer that had yet to even play a full season in the NHL made zero sense. It seemed like a continuation of the Bruins-obsession that marred Gillis’s work post-2011, focussing on finding a Shawn Thornton rather than a David Krejci.

Of course, no one expected Sestito to score as many goals as Alex Burrows during the 2013-14 season, even spending some time in the Canucks’ top six and on the first-unit powerplay. He even matched the goal total of last summer’s biggest name in free agency, David Clarkson, who got a 7-year deal worth $5.25 million per year. That’s an incredible value for $750,000! Good thing they locked him down for two years!

Except that it was a near-historically unlucky season for Burrows, while Sestito had the highest shooting percentage on the Canucks, to the point that he was actually incredibly fortunate to even score 5 goals. Sestito had a grand total of 31 shots on goal in the 77 games he played. Shawn Matthias played just 18 games for the Canucks and had more shots — 39 — than Sestito.

Now, with Jim Benning acquiring the far more useful fourth-liner Derek Dorsett via trade and younger players pushing their way up the depth chart, it’s unclear if Sestito will even have a spot on the roster for the second year of his contract. That may be for the best, as every single player on the Canucks has better possession statistics without Sestito than they do with him.

I have no explanation for why Sestito played in all but 5 games last season, aside from just shrugging my shoulders and saying “Tortorella,” but he did score five goals, which is five more than I’ll ever score in the NHL.

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Stick in Link: No mind room for Trevor Linden, Gino Odjick makes appearance at arena-naming ceremony

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Wednesday during the summer. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Watch every goal Shawn Matthias scored last season

This isn’t actually every goal Shawn Matthias scored last season. The title is a lie, as Matthias arrived in Vancouver a few days before the trade deadline having already scored nine goals.

But we don’t concern ourselves with the goals he scored elsewhere — just the ones he scored in Vancouver, and Matthias had three of those, bouncing around the bottom three lines as the Canucks played out the string on a season that was already pretty well gone by the time he arrived.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of his first full year in Vancouver. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got some skill — but where he slots in, and whether or not he even plays at centre — remains to be seen. What doesn’t remain to be seen, however, are the goals he scored last season. Well. At least I’ve seen them. You haven’t yet. Get on that, you.

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Watch every goal Nicklas Jensen scored last season

Nicklas Jensen had one really good week in Vancouver. After finally earning his call-up, he made his presence felt, scoring three lovely goals in four games and leading fans to wonder if perhaps he was the real deal. Sadly, after that, he fell off, although it wasn’t entirely his fault. He was beginning to look good with Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin, but then both of them got hurt. Heck, Burrows breaks his thumb on Jensen’s third goal.

But even now, knowing that he only scores three before the well dries up, it’s tough to look at these three goals and not get a little excited about the Danish winger’s goal-scoring ability. He’s got a great shot. Here are the first three goals of Nicklas Jensen’s career.

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Watch every goal Jordan Schroeder scored last season

One of Jim Benning’s first moves as General Manager wasn’t a move at all, but rather his decision not to move on Jordan Schroeder’s qualifying option. With a shrug, he sent the centre to unrestricted free agency instead, thus ending Schroeder’s relationship with the Canucks. Like Keith Ballard, he seized the opportunity to go home to Minnesota.

Cutting Schroeder loose is a defensible choice. While Benning said goodbye to an asset, and the practical cats over at Canucks Army would argue that this is foolish, the Canucks aren’t hoarders — they’re a hockey team, and one that determined the former first round pick had no value to them. For a small guy, he didn’t appear to have the speed or sizzle necessary to play on the top two lines, and his checking wasn’t particularly conducive to, y’know, a checking role. Worse, he’d probably built up some negative P.R. value as a Gillis draft pick, and the Canucks have spent much of the summer trying to get that “Gillis era” smell out of the franchise, for better or for worse. So they said goodbye to Jordan Schroeder.

And now, so do we. But before we do, we look back on his last three goals as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

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Watch every goal Dale Weise scored last season

Dale Weise never really fit with the Canucks. As we’ve discussed previously, he arrived about a season too late for his vision of himself to line up with what the Canucks wanted from him.

Weise fancied himself a goal-scoring grinder; the Canucks wanted him to be a facepuncher who could play. That disconnect was never really resolved, and when John Tortorella arrived and discovered that Weise was unwilling to punch dudes with the frequency of Tom Sestito, he no longer had any use for him. Mike Gillis shopped him unabashedly, sending out a mass e-mail, and soon, Weise was in Montreal, where he’d eventually make quite the mark in the postseason and earn a contract extension.

But before he left, he did manage to pot three goals for the Canucks, which means he gets a post in our annual every goal series, where we look at the Canucks’ goal output, player by player, and observe their tendencies. In Weise’s case, his tendency is simple: he goes to the net, hopes the puck will follow, and then whacks at it until it goes where he wants it to. Simple and effective.

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Stick in Link: Canucks fan optimism; Alex Edler on trade rumours

It’s time for “Stick in Link”, the feature where we just plug in a bunch of stuff written by others! Featuring a smattering of links from around the Smylosphere and beyond every Wednesday during the summer. Warning: our links are so hyper, they change colour when exposed to heat. (Have something for us to share in the next edition? E-mail us at passittobulis@gmail.com, tweet us @passittobulis, or just come over and write your link on a pad of paper, I guess.)

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Watch every goal Jason Garrison scored last season

Jason Garrison is gone now, moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning not long after Jim Benning arrived, look at the number of no-trade clauses he had to deal with and said, “Ugh.” Garrison was reportedly disappointed to have to go — he didn’t want to — but then he got the call from Stevie Yzerman, and everything changed.

There’s nothing quite like that call. When you answer the phone and Stephen Gregory Yzerman says, “I want you”, it’s life-changing. And when you’re expecting the call and you don’t get it, well, Marty St. Louis showed us how people react to that. It’s a very special call.

Anyway. Garrison’s gone. But not forgotten, and since he scored seven goals for the Canucks last year, that means he has to be accounted for in the annual every goal series. I hope you like one-timers!

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