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Canucks Offseason Notes VI

July 7, 2024, 10:36 AM ET [233 Comments]
York Newbury
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Well, we are officially into the dog days of summer. Playoffs are over, draft is done, free agency has come and gone, and most players are taking their vacations. News is… slow.

For now, let’s look at the Canucks’ depth after free agency.

Left Wing

Jake DeBrusk
Dakota Joshua
Danton Heinen
Phil Di Giuseppe
Arshdeep Bains
Aatu Räty

The Canucks added needed depth to their left wing this offseason, signing DeBrusk and Heinen away from Boston to bolster their top 9. If Tocchet keeps his forward pair philosophy together, we’ll probably see Joshua lined up with Garland again, as they showed great chemistry last year. That leaves DeBrusk and Heinen to fill out the top slots next to Petey and JTM – and while DeBrusk was penciled in next to Petey by Allen, his play style might mesh better with Miller. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out in camp. The leaves the fourth line left wing duty up for grabs: Tocc has really loved PDG, but it will be a battle with Raty and Bains pushing for a job.

Center

JT Miller
Elias Pettersson
Pius Suter
Teddy Blueger
Nils Åman
Max Sasson

The Canucks’ center depth is the strength of the forward core. They’re the only team aside from Edmonton to have two centers in the top 20 scorers in the NHL last season. Miller had a beast of a year, and while Petey stumbled down the stretch I expect to see a more focused and driven version of himself next season. With the Canucks signing better wingers, it helps push Suter back to center and Blueger back into the 4C role. There’s a lot of versatility in the group, as most of these guys can play on the wing as well, or slide up the roster if and when injuries occur. Aman played decently last season and is a known known for the staff, but don’t sleep on Sasson making some noise in camp after putting up 42 points in 58 games in the AHL rookie season.

Right Wing

Brock Boeser
Conor Garland
Nils Höglander
Kiefer Sherwood
Vasili Podkolzin
Linus Karlsson
Jonathan Lekkerimäki

Boeser had a massive bounce back season last year, and the Canucks are going to need him to continue his scoring ways if they want to challenge again this season. Garland started cold, but became one of the most consistent players for the Canucks on their solid third line. Things start to get questionable after that. Hoglander was good in the season, putting up 24 goals all at even strength. But, he wasn’t a factor in the playoffs, and became a healthy scratch for games. The Canucks signed Kiefer Sherwood from the Preds to bolster their depth: he was a pain to play against, and from what Allvin mentioned they see his as having upside to play up the lineup. Him and Hoglander might be pushing each other to play on Petey’s wing. Podkolzin has sort of plateaued, and he’ll need a big breakout year if he wants to be in the team’s future plans. Karlsson had some solid games last year and will be a call up player, while Lekker is a dark horse to make an impact at camp – though most likely will need to adjust and hone his game in the AHL.

Left Defense

Quinn Hughes
Carson Soucy
Derek Forbort
Christian Wolanin
Guillaume Brisebois

When you start with the reigning Norris winner, things ain’t too bad. Soucy was great last year, but only played 40 games. Forbort was a savvy signing as an Ian Cole replacement, but isn’t really one to trust in the top four. The Canucks have some depth options, but they aren’t really stacked there. This is where Zadorov would have really helped solidify their options – especially as they traded for him when Soucy was out to shore up their left side. It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff can do to bring these players up, as injuries will definitely occur.

Right Defense

Filip Hronek
Tyler Myers
Vincent Desharnais
Noah Juulsen
Mark Friedman

While there isn’t a Norris winner on this side of the ice, there is more balance and depth. Hronek was a key in the cog to unlocking Hughes’ rise, but one wonders if they’ll be as inseparable this season as the Canucks don’t have as many puck movers on the back end as they did last year. Having Hronek anchor a pair might help balance the pairings. Myers is back after a resurgent season that saw him go from chaos giraffe to competent defender – joking, he played well and earned his paycut! Myers and Soucy together were a fantastic pair, and the Canucks need them to continue to be. Desharnais was a solid signing away from the Oilers, another big tall defenseman that the coaching staff see potential in. If they can massage his came like they did Myers, he should provide a lot to the third pairing. Juulsen was great in his limited fill-in role last season and will the the first guy up when injuries arise, and Friedman’s versatility helps round out the group.

Goalies

Thatcher Demko
Artūrs Šilovs
Jiří Patera
Nikita Tolopilo

It’s Demko time. The Canucks probably need to manage his workload a little more, as he’s been injured a bit too often, and if they want to go on an extended playoff run they’ll need him at the top of his game. Thankfully, Silovs proved himself in a big way during the Canucks’ playoff run and instantly became a fan favourite. He earned himself the backup role this year, and should expect a good amount of games with the big club as he continues to develop. Patera was a good signing to shore up their depth in the crease, and will likely be battling with Tolopilo for time in the AHL. However, if Patera comes to camp and shines, it provides a wrinkle for the backup role as Silovs doesn’t require waivers to be sent down.

So, for now, that’s how the depth shakes down. The Canucks still have some cap space to sign more depth, and they made some great late-summer signings on the cheap last year. But looking at that is for another blog.

Until then, comments:
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