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.Continue Reading —›
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.Continue Reading —›