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With playoffs now a longshot, Canucks must focus on their shortcomings

The Canucks have 17 common year online games still left. They want to get extra factors than last calendar year, but they must also take inventory of the roster and its likely.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The mood in the Gila River Arena dressing room was unmistakable. If Disneyland is the Happiest Position On Earth, the opposite was the space occupied by the depressing Vancouver Canucks.

Thursday’s 5-2 NHL loss to the Arizona Coyotes was calamitous for the Canucks’ playoff hopes. Regardless of possessing loads of offensive odds, in particular in the early going, the guests did not take care of business in their possess finish.

Previous Canuck Brad Richardson scored four ambitions. And the Canucks blamed their defensive lapses for just about every just one. Their mentor did, far too.

“Continue to perform really hard,” will be Vancouver’s concept about the common season’s ultimate 17 online games, mentor Travis Inexperienced insisted right after the deflating defeat in the desert.

Reasonable plenty of. Which is the least you can count on from industry experts.

But in actuality, the playoffs are now a in close proximity to-extremely hard aspiration. The Canucks know that. For the playoffs to be a actuality upcoming year, Inexperienced demands to have far better gamers at his disposal than are presently in the fold.

With this in thoughts, below are a few factors standard manager Jim Benning must target on to shut the year:


Regardless of the return of their No. 1 defenceman, Alex Edler, the Canucks permitted Brad Richardson, proper, to rating four occasions on Thursday night time in Glendale, all but snuffing out their playoff hopes.

Ross D. Franklin /

AP

Type out the defence

GM Benning, questioned on trade-deadline day about the state of his team’s defence, acknowledged it demands work.

“We’re going to search this summer time to test and improve factors up in the back again finish. There’s work to be carried out on defence,” he instructed reporters.

We can see he’s going to chase right after the likes of Erik Karlsson and Tyler Myers in free company. Possibly a trade (or two) to shake up the mix. Which is what he’d surely like to do. The state of perform indicates that not substantially improve is likely to transpire.

What if Karlsson or Myers can’t be enticed to perform in Vancouver? Benning could test to trade for a player like Jacob Trouba, but it is tricky to envision the Jets shedding equally Myers and Trouba, so scratch that.

The Leafs’ Jake Gardiner is without a contract, so it’s possible he’s available in a trade. But to make these kinds of a trade transpire, what could the Canucks essentially ship out?

Provided the team’s slim prospect pool — guaranteed, there’s some high quality at the major, but not a whole good deal of depth to it — and provided Benning’s mentioned motivation to not trade away picks for this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, they do not have a whole good deal of trade chips available to them.

In the weeks to come, the Canucks must take inventory of who they by now have in the mix.

It looks a certainty they are going to drive to re-sign Alex Edler, although that also looks considerably from a lock to transpire (the sides are “far apart,” stories counsel). Bet on that staying about a no-trade clause as substantially as nearly anything.

Quinn Hughes is likely to come into the fold, which is a excellent factor. Ben Hutton demands a new contract and provided how he’s played this year, he’s going to get compensated.

Rookie Ashton Sautner is going to get a very long search, as will veteran Luke Schenn, but equally are very best suited to depth minutes and are barely video game-changers.

For upcoming slide, Olli Juolevi continues to be a problem mark, but even with him nonetheless recovering from a knee harm, you know the Canucks will pencil him in for a location.

In the finish, this tale could be as substantially about the addition by subtraction which is by now happened: shipping and delivery out Erik Gudbranson and his struggles has by now resulted in a defence which is far better at moving the puck. And Thursday’s determination to scratch Derrick Pouliot also pointed to the upcoming.


Quinn Hughes (front) is expected to sign and be a part of the Vancouver Canucks shortly, when his Michigan workforce is carried out with their playoff chase.

Michael Caterina /

AP

How considerably does Quinn Hughes have to go?

The younger University of Michigan blue-liner is expected to sign with the Canucks in the coming weeks. It all depends on how his middling collegiate squad does in the Large 10 Conference playoffs.

When he will get below, the Canucks are expected to perform him as substantially as they can. They have to have to know just how promptly he can adapt to the NHL video game.

Both equally Adam Gaudette and Brock Boeser, no slouches when it arrived to NCAA hockey, have equally claimed the stage up to the NHL is about adjusting to the professional game’s tempo extra than nearly anything.

If he transitions promptly, then the summer time job looks considerably less onerous. Elias Pettersson stunned all people in how promptly he was ready to become a major-line centre in the NHL.

It looks unfair to feel that a younger defenceman, even with Hughes’s talents, could do the identical.

But even if he’s not a major-pairing blue-liner proper off the hop, possessing him in the mix signifies that defensive pressures can be meted out a little extra evenly, that Hutton or Edler do not have to do as substantially significant lifting all the time, that the Canucks will be extra versatile in their matchups.

Scoring on the wings

When Benning was listing the factors he appreciated about his workforce, he was ready to nail the upcoming up the center, with Pettersson, Gaudette and Bo Horvat. But on the wing he was only ready to title Brock Boeser, although you know he was pondering of other people.

But the truth is, when it arrives to legitimate major-finish talent on the flanks, the record starts and finishes with Boeser. There are some nice depth talents, like Josh Leivo, Nikolay Goldobin and, if he’s ready to perform yet again, Sven Baertschi.

Much more and extra, Loui Eriksson’s contract looks like a disaster. A $6 million per calendar year fourth-liner? Will he rating a different intention this year? His velocity, these kinds of as it was, looks to have deserted him, and playing with Jay Beagle is not a recipe for scoring odds.

He’s absolutely not the solution going ahead.

There aren’t any prospective customers in the pipeline all set to help, both. Zack MacEwen is an exciting player, but most venture him to be a third-line winger. The Canucks by now have loads of people.

Tanner Pearson could change out to be a major-finish talent. He does a good deal of factors effectively. He’s acquired a good shot. But he’s also on his third workforce this year major-finish talents usually aren’t so freely available in just one trade, enable by yourself two.

And so, discovering major-line wingers is a priority. But where by will they come from? How do we really feel about the Matthew Tkachuk vs. Juolevi problem now?

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction


Next Sport: SUNDAY

Vancouver Canucks at Vegas Golden Knights

1 p.m., T-Cell Arena, Tv set: Sportsnet Pacific Radio: Sportsnet 650 AM


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