2018 Vancouver Canucks Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
As I have written in almost every Western Conference preview, the West is a tight and tough as it has been in a long time, with 12 teams poised to be very legitimate playoff contenders and at least nine of those very hard to distinguish from each other in real ways. It is going to be a brutal dog fight, and some very good teams are going to be hitting the golf course much sooner than they would like. Luckily, I guess, the Canucks don't need to worry about any of that. Their first tee time is locked in - the day after the regular season ends. This is a team that is in the midst of a rebuild and is struggling to realize and fully accept that fact. They have the lowest season win total in the conference, and the best-case scenario is that they can fail to meet even their low expectations and wind up with a marquee player in the draft.
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Vancouver Canucks Offseason Moves
The headline here is the retirement of the creepiest twins ever to play professional sports - Daniel and Henrik Sedin. They had been offensive rocks in this lineup seemingly forever, so moving beyond them is going to be jarring. It will also have an impact on the team on the ice as even as they faded they still contributed offensively to a team that is short of breakout offensive threats.
This team is going to be young. The best thing you can do with hopeless
young teams is just let them learn. They will make mistakes, and it will be
awful, but they will grow from it if they are well coached. You are sucking
now to invest in your future, basically. That reality, though, makes the
offseason for the Canucks laughable. They signed free agents Jay Beagle,
Antoine Roussel, and Tim Schaller, and they overpaid in money and term for
all of them - it felt like they were bidding against themselves in each
case. None of those guys helps this team become any better now in a
significant way, and all they do is block the path for young guys who could
fill the roster spots and learn on the go. Awful moves for a team that
doesn't look like it had much of a clue.
This year's top pick, Michigan defense Quinn Hughes, is going to be a special player. But he chose to go back to school so quickly it was almost as if the Canucks forced his hand. That's a loss. But last year's fifth overall pick, forward Elias Pettersson from Sweden, should make the team and have an impact. And 2015 fifth pick, defenseman Olli Juolevi, should finally be ready for the NHL as well after a rough road to this point. The team has blocked him in terms of left-handed defensemen on one-way deals, though, so he may have to wait awhile - more good management. 2014 second-rounder Thatcher Demko, viewed widely as the team's goalie of the future, will likely have a good look at the backup spot as well, though they may choose to put him in the AHL again where he can have a much bigger workload - not that he likely needs it after tearing that league up last year.
Vancouver Canucks NHL Outlook
It's bleak. There are some good young players here and more on the way. Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are good young talents, and there is a good chance that Pettersson will slot in with them to become a very good top line one day. But the gap between potential and achievement is very wide in this league, and Vancouver has very little that is proven and truly reliable here. Depth is an issue everywhere, and the team doesn't match up positively against any Western foe. It is going to be a long year - and longer still if management and ownership continues to pretend that they are still a contender. It should be all about maximizing the number of balls in the draft lottery this year. The draft is in Vancouver next year, and Quinn Hughes' brother, Jack, is the presumed No. 1 pick, so there is a fairy tale in the making if only Vancouver lets it happen. They could have a new and far less creepy set of brothers to lead the team back into relevance.
Vancouver Canucks Schedule
The Canucks open at home against the Flames, but then head right out on a
six-game road trip. Going away early can be positive because it helps
bonding and limits distractions out of the gate. But all six games are
against playoff contenders, including truly elite teams in Tampa Bay,
Winnipeg and Pittsburgh. The Canucks could find themselves in a dark place
very early. Having one six-game trip is more than some teams face all year,
but the team also has another in November and third over the new year
holidays. That is a tough break for what is very likely going to be a
Vancouver Canucks NHL Futures Odds
At +12500 to win the Stanley Cup at Bovada , the team is given a better chance of success than only Ottawa and Detroit. Being deemed better than those teams is a whole long way from flattering. Their win total of 77.5 is the lowest in the conference, yet coming off a 73 point season it doesn't feel nearly low enough.
2017-18 Vancouver Canucks Predictions
I don't think this comes as a surprise - I don't like the team. At all. As the West has turned into an arms race, they haven't kept up. In a few years the story could be different - though Buffalo, Arizona and others have shown that loading up on top youngsters alone can't build a winner - but for now this team will be an underdog almost every time they take the ice. I'd happily take the "under" on that total.
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