Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks

More heartbreak than Taylor Swift

Townsman reporter Trevor Crawley tells Vancouver Canucks fans why there's reason for optimism heading into 2015-16

Depending on who you talk to, the Vancouver Canucks are either going to exceed expectations and make the playoffs or crash and burn in the tank-race for Auston Matthews.

There’s no middle ground with partisans.

However, it’s easy to peer into a crystal ball and make a case for either scenario.

Hailing from the Lower Mainland, I was born into Canucks fandom, and as such, have experienced more heartbreak than Taylor Swift because of it.

I was eight years old in 1994, 25 years old in 2011 and I cried both times when the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup finals.

The organization is still reeling from the failed Cup run of 2011 in the sense that they gave up a lot of draft picks and sacrificed their immediate future to win.

That’s one reason why they’ve had no young, early 20-something talent ready to crack the roster.

Until recently.

The club added former Calgary Flames first-rounder Sven Baertschi, along with Jared McCann, who was Anaheim’s first-round pick that Vancouver got in the Ryan Kesler trade last off-season.

Additionally, players like Jake Virtanen, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce and Cole Cassels have breathed some life into the prospect pipeline.

They’ve shed some age in moving Kevin Bieksa and added some depth in Brandon Sutter, Brandon Prust and Matt Bartkowski.

So with that as a preamble, here’s why the Canucks will make the playoffs this season:

• Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows will continue to produce goals and assists at an elite level despite being in their mid-30s;

• Baertschi slots into a top-six role and thrives in his first full-time season in the NHL;

• Bo Horvat avoids the sophomore slump and builds on the second half of a stellar rookie season he had with the club last year;

• Frank Corrado graduates to the defensive corps and adjusts to the NHL game;

• Jake Virtanen makes the team and adds some much-needed sandpaper and offence;

• Ryan Miller stands on his head;

• Luca Sbisa sits in the press box.

If it was one thing that exposed the Canucks in their first-round playoff loss to the Calgary Flames last year, it was their lack of speed and toughness.

Micheal Ferland (or is that Ferklund?) single-handily terrorized Vancouver’s defence on the forecheck, while players like Sam ‘Did you know he’s only 18?’ Bennett, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan skated circles around a sluggish Vancouver squad.

Game Six was a throwback to the Alain Vigneault era, where Vancouver started strong with a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes and ran out of steam by the end of the third period to lose 7-4.

Classic Canucks.

As for why the Canucks will miss the playoffs, it’s pretty much the opposite of the aforementioned:

• The Sedins can’t carry the team on their backs anymore;

• Baertschi, Virtanen and Corrado struggle to adjust to the NHL level;

• Sbisa plays;

• Miller and Jacob Markstrom struggle in net;

• Injuries.

There are a lot of naysayers on the blogosphere surrounding the Canucks on the current roster makeup—specifically questioning GM Jim Benning on the acquisitions of Sutter, Prust and the contracts of Derek Dorsett and Sbisa—that feed the negative narrative for the upcoming season.

However, in the post salary-cap world, young (and cheap) talent is becoming more and more important to competitive NHL teams.

And the Canucks finally have some decent prospects to be just the pieces Vancouver may need to remain competitive in a brutal Pacific Division that is only getting better and better.

Training camp will be in Prince George this weekend and it’ll be interesting to see which prospects battle their way onto the roster.

Because there’s ample opportunity.

Trevor Crawley is a reporter with the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. He can be reached via email at Follow Trevor on Twitter via @tcrawls.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Incumbent MLA Tom Shypitka is contesting Kootenay East for the BC Liberals. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Shypitka named opposition critic for Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

The Kootenay East MLA has held the energy and mines portfolio since 2017

Item no 22, De-Kieviet Kindergarten class - Highlands, Starting Bid: $20
Christmas Village 2020 school auction items

The annual Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are the auction items from local schools

File Photo
Missing hunter found dead in South Country

A hunter was reported as overdue on Nov. 29, and was found deceased on Nov. 30 following an RCMP and SAR operation

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP seeking driver of burnt out car found on HaHa Creek Road

Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of a vehicle that was found on fire Monday

The bids for the 2020 Christmas Village are open as of noon on Thursday, November 26. Please scroll through this album to see auction items available for bidding.
Christmas Village 2020 auction items

The Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are all the details

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Most Read