To say the Vancouver Canucks season has been a dumpster fire would be an understatement. From coaching to decision-making in the front office, the Canucks cannot find an answer to their problems. They currently sit 26th in the league with a record of 17-20-3, and their best players struggle every night. This team is skating in circles with no destination or end goal in mind.
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To Pay Or Not To Pay
To understand the Canucks incapability to form structure, the failure of contract negotiations must be discussed. After locking up superstar Elias Pettersson to a 3-year deal worth $7.35 million annually, the team had a choice to make. Their cap space would not allow them to keep both superstar J.T. Miller and captain Bo Horvat. In a shocking twist to Canucks players, the front office decided to keep Miller, signing him to a contract worth $8 million annually over seven years, locking him up until 2030. Horvat, the captain since 2019, will be a UFA at the end of the season, and it is looking more prevalent that he will be dawning a different logo at the start of the 2023-2024 season.
Bruce, There It Isn’t
In order for teams to win, they need a coach with a message and system the team will buy into. For example, the Boston Bruins let go of head coach Bruce Cassidy and brought in Jim Montgomery. Although it seemed baffling at the time, the decision paid off tremendously in Boston’s favor. The Canucks looked to strike gold as well, as veteran coach Bruce Boudreau led the team to a record of 32-15-10, obtaining a .649 point percentage. Finally, it felt like they were going in the right direction.
Of course, this season has proven it was lightning in a bottle as the Canucks continue to struggle. They have lost eight times this season after taking a multi-goal lead while sitting 24th in the league for faceoff win percentage with 48.11 percent. While their offense has started strong, the inability to control the play has them sitting tied for 2nd in the league for most goals allowed per game at 3.93. In addition, their penalty kill is atrocious, sitting dead last in the league with a 66.7 percent success rate.
Disoriented Decision Making
When the Canucks kicked off the season, they were confident that their core could find ways to win. However, four months into the season, the team looks anything but successful. To say management was wrong about this season would be like saying the Titanic hitting the iceberg was a minor inconvenience. Any move this team has made backfired, and their development of players has proven that. It starts with Brock Boeser, who signed a contract worth 6.65 million dollars annually over three years on July first. This contract has backfired immensely, as Boeser scored 26 points in 35 games and has been healthy scratched numerous times.
But the head-scratching decisions do not end there. Tanner Pearson was forced to play through an injury that might force him out past next season. In addition, the decision to trade for Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson has looked egregious. Garland has scored 21 points in 42 games with the squad and is a -8 on the year. Ekman-Larsson has 19 points in 42 games with a -15 on the year as a defenseman. Both are locked up for multiple seasons with the team.
From Bad To Worse
There is no good thing about this season. Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong, from injuries to failed risks taken by the organizations. This season has been a worst-case scenario no fan could comprehend, and it looks like it could only get worse. Horvat is most likely gone in the offseason, leaving a team in need of a voice without their captain. The depth has disappeared, and the team seems to be frustrated with the future and the locker room. There is no bright side or light at the end of the tunnel. This team is fighting for an identity and form, and it will only get worse.
Follow Tom Dunford on Twitter @TomDunford19
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