The Vancouver Canucks organization is still in shock after another early playoff exit.
After being carried into the playoffs by the Sedin brothers and Radim Vrbata, the Canucks seemed to run out of gas. The speed and raw talent of their opponents, the Calgary Flames ,got the better of them.
Flames forwards Michael Ferlund, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gudreau simply outworked the experienced veterans.
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Bright future ahead
This has given rise to the belief that the Vancouver Canucks need younger players on their roster. The Canucks have had some younger players emerge this season with some success.
Forwards Bo Horvat, Linden Vey and defenseman Ryan Stanton combined for 60 points this season. Injuries haunted Canucks enforcer Zack Kassian all season and as a result, his season tally only came to 16 points.
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But these guys are still prime examples of younger players that the Canucks have available for next season. The future for the organization is full of potential as these players continue to improve and battle for roster spots.
However, the fact remains that this team blew a three goal lead in an elimination game. This is the second time in recent years that this Canucks team has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Therefore, this roster could, and should, be going through some changes in the off season.
With that in mind, here are my top three suggested moves for the Vancouver Canucks...
1. Trade for 2nd line center
The Canucks have never really recovered from trading away forward Ryan Kesler. Nick Bonino did well throughout the season but is more suited for the third line.
GM Jim Benning and Trevor Linden really should consider trading forward Burrows or Hansen for a second line center.
2. Trade or sign another defensive anchor
The Canucks defense needs to be evaluated. The management staff has successfully re-signed Christopher Tanev, which is an excellent move. I’m frightened to say it, but Benning may look to move someone like Bieksa.
Bieksa only had four goals and 10 assists through 60 games this year. Regardless an addition must be made to Vancouver’s back end to provide more depth.
3. Experiment with new 1st line combinations
Henrik and Daniel Sedin led the way in points for the Canucks again this season, combining for 149 points. However, the Sedins aren’t getting any younger.
So, early on next season, it’s critical that head Coach Willie Desjardins experiments with new number one line combinations early on in the season to take some of the pressure off the Sedins.
I hope at least one of these three things gets completed next season. Regardless, the Sedins are pleased with the progression of the group and are excited to see younger players work hard and gain a spot on the roster.
Even though the Canucks got knocked out early, Canucks fans can be certain, that good things are ahead.
Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see how Benning starts working on improving the team further.