There have been some big changes for the Canucks this offseason, but the one that could have the most impact is realignment, which brought an unfortunate end to the crack den that was the Northwest Division and threw the Canucks into the far more functional and together Pacific Division. Bummer.
But let’s not dwell on what’s lost. Let’s look to the future and meet some of our new divisional buddies! We’ve invited a stable of Pacific Division bloggers to preview the Canucks season, the new division, or their own teams for us here at Pass it to Bulis, and over the next week, we’ll be sharing the results with you. (Warning: most of them chose to roast us, which is probably what we would have done.) Next up: the hilarious LA Kings blog The Royal Half.
The Vancouver Canucks have returned to the Division they once called home and as a Los Angeles Kings fan, I for one, am glad to have them back. Now, a lot has changed since 1998 when the Canucks were last part of the Pacific Division with all of these teams:
For instance… this has happened since the Canucks last played in the Pacific:
And this as well:
Oh, and who could forget this:
And of course, this:
And this isn’t really Pacific Division related… but I wanted to give Canucks fans everywhere a reminder that this also has occurred over the past 15 years:
But let’s be honest… who really wants to dwell on the past, right? Well, besides Canucks fans and the organization itself. No, The Royal Half is here to talk about this present-day Vancouver Canucks team that will compete in a Division with the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.
Led by 32 year-old Kevin Bieksa and 30 year-old Dan Hamhuis, the Canucks defense was strong last season, giving up only the 11th most goals in the NHL. But in the playoffs, their defense broke down and gave up 15 goals in just 4 games.
This season, the Canucks defense has a decent top 4 returning in Bieksa, Hamhuis, Alex Edler, and Jason Garrison… but lacks the depth defenseman that a team like the Los Angeles Kings have. In addition to depth, there is one important thing that this current Vancouver Canucks defense is missing…
… a veteran defenseman with a Stanley Cup.
Last season, only the Colorado Avalanche scored fewer goals than the Canucks in the Northwest Division. This means that both the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames scored more goals than the Canucks.
The Sedin Twins are two of the most exciting players in all of hockey, even though their production has been declining over the past few years. Ryan Kesler is 29 years old and coming off a season filled with injuries. Zack Kassian has struggled to find balance at the NHL level, in both his play and with his stick. David Booth had 1 goal last year and Chris Higgins… well Chris Higgins does have amazing abs… so he gets a pass.
Much like their defense, a big concern for the Canucks offense heading into this season is their lack of depth. Thankfully, the Canucks made one bold move over the summer that can only help their struggling offense.
A Stanley Cup Winning forward with 16 points in his last 99 games!
Over the summer, the Vancouver Canucks GM, Mike Gillis, tried to replicate his fellow GM Dean Lombardi by trading away his team’s backup goaltender. And even though Gillis was unable to match the 2 roster players, 3rd Round Draft Pick and $500,000 in cap relief that Lombardi was able to get for his backup goaltender… I think we all know that anytime a Bo is listed the Top 10, he’ll most certainly have a impactful and long-lasting career, right? RIGHT?!?
So with the last Vancouver Canucks goaltender to win a NHL Playoff game shipped off to New Jersey, the attention turns to Roberto Luongo to lead the Canucks in this new Pacific Division. Luongo didn’t really play enough last season to be able to predict what he’ll do in this full NHL season. But with 40 wins in his last 75 games and the total support of his home crowd… Luongo has all the natural ability to keep the Canucks competing in this difficult division. Oh… well, except one…
…the ability to win a Stanley Cup.
After 4 straight seasons of 45+ wins (and 26 in the shortened season) the Vancouver Canucks management decided it was time to go a different direction and instead bring in a Head Coach that is a proven winner. So they fired a coach that led the Canucks to at least the 2nd Round in 4 out of 7 seasons and hired a coach that hasn’t made it out of the 1st Round in 6 out of of the past 8 seasons.
But who cares about actual stats when it comes to winning… because #NARRATIVE!
Anyone who won the Stanley Cup pre-2004 Lockout has totally been able to do it again, right?
Now, plenty has been said about the Vancouver Canucks move from the Northwest into the Pacific Division this season. I just hope that Canucks fans truly realize how tough this division is. The LA Kings have made it to the Western Conference finals the last two seasons. The Anaheim Ducks have a high-powered offense that led them to the top of the Pacific last season. The San Jose Sharks are a perennial contender. The Phoenix Coyotes are a well-coached, tough defensive team. The Edmonton Oilers are a young team on the rise.
And the Calgary Flames… well… there’s always gotta be one kid in the classroom that the other students make fun of, right?
Well, except for the the fact that the Flames have won the Cup and the Canucks haven’t.
Even without the Northwest Division around for the Canucks to beat up on… this Vancouver team is probably strong enough to grab the 3rd playoff spot in the brand new Pacific Division. But you never can tell, I mean… I’ve been wrong about the Canucks before!Tags: Guest Post, L.A. Kings, Rivalry Preview, The Royal Half