Making the playoffs is going was going to be a longshot for the Canucks. Their schedule for the rest of the season is pretty tough and they need to win at least three in a row. The team’s top three players, Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser need support–they can’t do everything. The struggle for the Canucks right now is the bad transition from defence to offence: they are giving up the puck in their own zone way too much and it’s costing them goals. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who many have said has been playing like an All-Star, has been saving the team.. One of the busiest goalies in the league, Markstrom has faced over sixteen hundred shots. His stats are strong: his goals-against average is 2.78, his save percentage is 0.912 and his record is 24 wins and 20 losses.
At the trade deadline, the Canucks picked up some good players for the offence who are fitting into the Canucks lineup really well. Trading Erik Gudbranson for Tanner Pearson was a smart move. Gudbranson wasn’t a good fit for the team because he was not working hard enough and standing around on the ice. Unfortunately, the Canucks are still lacking on defence where they need the most work.
The Canucks struggle with the defence to offence transition and the power play where they are the third-worst team in the league. The powerplay lines just can’t get shots on net. They need to get more open in the offensive zone and create more shots. Meanwhile, the defence has been struggling to get the puck out of the defensive zone. They make mistakes that lead to the other team scoring or getting a good chance. The game where they played the Vegas Knights is an example of a time where the defence was lacking and they weren’t getting shots on net which ended in them losing seven to two. Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning, is trying to target Erik Karlsson, Tyler Myers and Jake Gardiner in the off-season. Erik Karlsson would be a very good leader for the Canucks defence. He is a two-time Norris Trophy winner and he would be a leader in the dressing room. Tyler Myers is a big defenseman that can be great for the Canucks defence. He adds size and a shot at the point when they need it. Jake Gardiner is also another big defenseman. He also adds more size to the defence and his puck-moving skills are really well. This is what the fans want to see: key players that can help on the defensive side of things.
The Canucks are seventh place in the wildcard standings with sixty-three points. If they try going for a playoff spot, they can’t afford to lose any games. In their current position, they don’t have a good chance, especially while waiting for their injured players to return. They will have to decide between pushing for a wild-card spot for the playoffs or letting themselves drop out of the running and go for a high round pick for the draft instead.
This summer the Canucks has some big decision to make during the offseason between resigning players or recruiting new ones. Jacob Markstrom’s contract is expiring this season and a lot of fans are wondering whether he will extend it. Given that he loves playing in Vancouver and this year has been his best season of his career, the Canucks should think of resigning him because he been with the Canucks for 4 season and he’s a leader. Thatcher Demko, the Canucks’ backup, is an elite goalie that needs time to develop his goalie skills. He is 23 years old and Markstrom is 29 years old. This is the option the Canucks can do for their goaltending issue they either resign Markstrom for another 1 or 2 years also sign a good backup goalie for Markstrom or they rush Demko in net next season and forget about signing Markstrom and save money for other key players they need.
Although they are a young team and still have a bright future ahead of them, Canucks fans aren’t happy that they are not making the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Image credit: Canucks Media Relations @Canucks / Vancouver Canucks
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