The Vancouver Canucks seemed to be settling in quite nicely under head Coach Willie Desjardins.
Desjardin has experimented with different line combinations regularly throughout this preseason campaign. Most of the combinations and strategies he is testing are exactly what this team needs to succeed.
There are two major trends that I’ve seen occurring in this new Canucks team throughout the preseason. One is that this organization has given this team a lot more strength and physical presence with the additions of Bonino, Dorsett and Matthias. These guys have size, grit and will do a much better job protecting the Sedins and their goalies. This was evident in the Canucks 2-1 win against the Oilers Thursday.
Both Matthias and Dorsett came to the aid of goalie Eddie Lack and fought for their teammate. Tom Sestito also fought last night and will be a big help as well. This type of protection was non-existent last season for the Sedins or goalie Roberto Luongo. Now opponents will think twice before barging into the high traffic areas and getting to close to the Canucks goalies or their star forwards.
The second major trend that I’ve seen is that the Canuck’s defensemen are finally jumping into the play more. The Canucks have been in desperate need of more contribution from the back end for a couple of seasons now. However, now guys like Alexander Edler, Yannick Weber and Dan Hamhuis are getting into the shooting lanes, shooting and getting rewarded. Edler finished last night’s game with a goal and an assist.
These are the two major trends that I’ve seen occur throughout this preseason. The question now will be if the players can continue developing this new strategy and contribute on a consistent basis. All these players will be eager to get back into the playoffs.
Desjardin has proven that he has the skills and the knowledge to bring success to this team. His next challenge will be finding a replacement for forward Bo Horvat who left with an injury in Thursday’s game.
Regardless, the preseason campaign has been quite successful for Desjardin. He’s been able to fully assess his roster and has a talented group of players to work with. There is no doubt in my mind that this team will be challenging for a playoff spot in the Western Conference this year.
I can’t wait to see how this team performs at home in the Canucks final preseason game on Saturday against the Oilers.