|Ryan Miller – G||Ryan Kesler – C|
|Radim Vrbata – RW||Mike Santorelli – C|
|Nick Bonino – C||David Booth – LW|
|Luca Sbisa – D||Andrew Alberts – D|
|Derek Dorsett – RW||Benn Ferriero – RW|
|Linden Vey – RW|
Prior to last season the Vancouver Canucks had finished first in the Pacific Division for five straight years.
Last year… they were not even close. The entire season was a disaster. The Canucks finished fifth in the Division with a 36-35-11 record. The 36 wins was Vancouver’s worst display since 2000-01. The bad year led to the firing of John Tortorella after just one season. Willie Desjardins was hired and will serve as the Canucks’ third coach in three years.
The only thing that might be a positive from a season ago, is that the Roberto Luongo saga is finally over. They sent that absurd contract to Florida and enter the season with Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack as their goaltending duo. After his contract ended with the Blues, Miller signed a three-year deal worth $18 million this offseason. He had a tough time in St. Louis, but like because he underestimated the difficulty of the transition. With a full training camp in Vancouver under his belt, expect him to return back to form (career 2.59 GAA / .915 SV%). Lack comes into the year as Miller’s number-2, which is the perfect place for him. He was great in a back-up role last season, but as soon as Bobby Lu got traded and he was the starter his numbers dropped to a 2.84 GAA and .893 SV%.
So, the Canucks should be better between the pipes this season and it should be the same case with their forwards. Henrik Sedin should be a reliable point producer again after missing 12 games last season; thus having his 679 game ironman streak snapped. With a better Henrik should come a better Daniel, who also missed time last season (nine games). They should also have a new linemate this season as veteran Radim Vrbata comes over from Arizona. The 33-year-old had 20 goals and 51 points last season and should excel on a line with the Sedin’s. All-in-all, most of their offence will come from this trio, which makes Henrik a candidate for 50-plus assists, Daniel for 30 goals and Vrbata for a 25-25 season. In a secondary scoring role the Canucks have Nick Bonino as their second line centre this season after acquiring him in the Ryan Kesler trade in June. He will likely lineup with former 35-goal scorer Alex Burrows, who has severely under-performed in the last two years. They could all be joined by Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk, both were selected by the Canucks in the first round in the 2013 NHL Draft. Both are still in camp at this point and have a ton of offensive upside, something the Canucks appear to be lacking.
On the blueline, Alexander Edler will be looking for a bounce-back year as well. He finished with a league-worst minus-39 rating and had just 22 points (7G / 15A), which is his lowest point total since 2007-08. With Jason Garrison now in Tampa Bay, Edler is the only real standard league fantasy commodity. Kevin Bieksa has had a few seasons over 40 points, but is more likely to post 25. He is someone who is worth keeping an eye on, but is not worth a draft pick due to a lack of upside.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Canucks’ Fantasy Players)
- Daniel Sedin – LW
- Henrik Sedin – C
- Ryan Miller – G
- Radim Vrbata – RW
- Alex Edler – D
- Alex Burrows – RW
- Nick Bonino – C
- Chris Higgins – LW
- Zack Kassian – RW
- Kevin Bieksa – D
Click HERE for the Canucks’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: Vancouver will finish fourth in the Pacific Division, narrowly ahead of the Coyotes, but will still miss out on the playoffs.
Other Season Previews: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars,Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators,Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs,