Last season, the Vancouver Canucks were a team in turmoil. It was a goofy season in many ways. The team might not yet be considered a top Stanley Cup contender; however, there are several reasons why their fans should take heart. This is a better team this season than it was last season.
Reasons the Canucks Are Better Heading into This Season
In this post, I’ll give reasons why I believe the Canucks have a shot at making the playoffs in the Pacific Division during the 2023-24 NHL season.
Reason One: The Canucks Have Improved Depth and Roster Stability
The Canucks made a number of strategic off-season moves to address their roster’s depth and stability. Key signings like Teddy Blueger and Pius Sutter have bolstered the team’s forward lines. Both give the team new reliability and depth at the center position. They join JT Miller in the forward group.
These two new players provide the depth to allow the Canucks to roll four lines more effectively. This new depth can help reduce the burden on their top players and contributing to a more consistent season.
Reason Two: The Canucks Have Enhanced Their Defensive Core
The additions of Carson Soucy and Ian Cole bring a more physicality and experience to the blue line. These Canucks’ defensive upgrades have helped the team be better equipped to prevent high-quality scoring chances.
The defense should also be better able to protect goalie Thatcher Demko. In general, their stronger defensive core should significantly improve the team’s goals-against average. And, that’s a critical factor in helping them make a playoff push.
Reason Three: Elias Pettersson Is a Rising Star
Elias Pettersson simply has exceptional offensive talent. He’s improving every season, which cannot be understated. Last season he had one of the quietest 100-point seasons in NHL history. In fact, Pettersson had almost a 35-point jump in his scoring last season over 2021-22.
He’s a game-changer, who can carry the team offensively. If he continues to excel and remains healthy, he has the potential to lift the rest of the team’s performance with him. He can be the driver who steers the team toward playoff contention.
Reason Four: Rick Tocchet’s Coaching Influence Will Be Felt
Although there remains some question about Rick Tocchet’s coaching abilities, he’s a new voice. One was needed. In fact, a coaching change can inject fresh energy and strategies into a team. He was that last season.
This season, fans will get a chance to see what Tocchet can do to further shape the Canucks’ playing style. Can he bring out the best in their young talent? If so, and the team can bring a strong work ethic and discipline to the ice, results shoud be hugly improved.
Reason Five: There’s Healthy Competition in the Pacific Division
The Pacific Division has changed in recent seasons, and the Canucks could capitalize on those changes. While the Edmonton Oilers will enter the season as the favorites, the division’s playoff race is wide open.
If Vancouver can string together solid performances and win crucial divisional games, they have a good chance to sneak into a playoff berth.
The Bottom Line
This does not seem to be a year when the Canucks will take a long run toward the Stanley Cup. That said, there are reasons for their fans to be optimistic about their playoff prospects for the 2023-24 NHL season.
The bottom line is that the team has improved roster depth, has a stronger defensive core, and has a star player in Elias Pettersson who is capable of carrying them. Can they put all the pieces together and contend for a playoff spot?
There’s no guarantee; but, here’s predicting that the team will make a solid run toward the postseason. I predict they will make it.
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