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Poll: Will the Canucks make the playoffs?

Aug 11, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

Willie Desjardins, Trevor Linden AP

Look up ‘fall from grace’ in the dictionary and the Vancouver Canucks logo has to be taking up some space under the definition.

It’s hard to believe just three seasons ago the Canucks were back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy winners heading into the playoffs as a favorite to get back to the big dance for a second consecutive year.

Fast-forward to the 2014-15 season and the obvious question has to be asked, will the Canucks even make the playoffs?

They’ve done an all-important clean out of the front office. Mike Gillis and John Tortorella are gone. In is arguably the most popular figure in franchise history, Trevor Linden, and his hand picked soldiers Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins.

But now comes the tall task for a trio in-experienced as the lead man in their respective roles.

Linden and Co. have to find a way to get Vancouver, which missed the postseason for the first time since 2008, from the 28th-ranked offense back to the second season.

Other teams that missed the playoffs last season –  like the Nashville Predators, who added James Neal, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Olli Jokinen, have certainly bolstered their chances.

The upstart Colorado Avalanche, who surprised many by qualifying for the playoffs in Year 1 under Patrick Roy, added savvy veterans Jarome Iginla and Daniel Briere to help their young stars along.

Benning’s new cast members to help jump-start the Canucks offense includes Radim Vrbata, Nick Bonino and Linden Vey, they’ll have to help the likes of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows bounce back from off years.

Vrbata and Bonino are both capable of contributing 20-plus goals at the NHL level and have done so previously. Vey meanwhile has five assists in 18 career NHL games.

Then there’s room for young kids, but who can make the leap? Is Nicklas Jensen ready, and able, to contribute regularly at the NHL level? He had three goals and six helpers in 17 games with the Canucks last season.

Can one of their prospects jump from the Canadian Hockey League right to the NHL?  Bo Horvat, 19, had  74 points in 54 games in his third OHL season with the London Knights last season.

With more questions than answers heading into the 2014-15 season, we ask you Canucks fans, will Vancouver qualify for the playoffs this season?

Related: For Desjardins, responsibilities include both winning and entertaining

  1. patthehockeyfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Now, THIS is funny. I voted no. The result quickly popped up that there were 100% NO votes, and zero % YES. I looked more closely. Mine was the only vote tabulated. HAH!

    Sorry, Canucks’ fans. I’d love to see the Canucks back in the playoffs; but, the team will need a couple of years to undo the damage done by Gillis and Torts.

  2. leepetertk - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    The western conference may be too competitive for the Canucks to make the playoffs. So many western conference teams did something during the off-season to get better. The Canucks, well, they are different. They could be better (minus Torts, plus Desjardins) or worse (minus Kesler).

    I think the Canucks will be in the 9-11 spot this year. The top teams in the west are clearly a step ahead of the non-playoff teams from last year.

    • edwardchew2 - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      The shortened season was an anomaly. Only 2 players for the canucks played over seas. So they were 30 games behind game shape. The teams that did well that year had a lot of players playing overseas. They freeked and got rid of one of the best coaches in the NHL probably at the owners request. We were doing fantastic last year until we lost Santorelli and Stanton. If we don’t get back both of these players we are in trouble. Stanton moves the puck to create offence and Santorelli averaged over the games he played was better than Kessler. Let’s face it after Kesslers good year everyone knew he was going to drag and shoot the puck.

      • leepetertk - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        The Canucks excellent record through the month of December was a total anomaly. They were playing a lot of games at home, against inferior teams, and were riding Sedin twins and Kesler at highest mins/game in league.

        Then January hit. The top guns looked tired (Sedins and Kesler). Injuries became a problem. They played a lot of games on the road against playoff bound teams. Analytics predicted the Canucks were going to do worse (but not crater at they did January-February). The top players were no longer producing at a high rate.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        Losing Stanton to the Nucks was a real big mistake. Ryan was the top D-man in the Hawks AHL club. Sent him back down, with eligibility to be acquired, in order to keep Kostka, who they ended up waiving. Stand and Q don’t make a lot of bad moves, but the Nucks sure benefited from this “what were you thinking” special.

  3. khar9 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:16 PM


  4. quinner17 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:22 PM


  5. djshnooks - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    No doubt in my mind.

    Miller didn’t sign there to compete with Buffalo for a solid draft position in 2015.

  6. vancouversportsbro - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Yes, they will. People are under rating them. Two years ago playing lackluster hockey they got in.

    If they don’t this year, I will bet they do the next. I follow this team and know they can out rank most of the teams in their division besides Anaheim.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      To even suggest that making the playoffs two years despite lackluster play has some impact today is, frankly, insane. Just think about it for a second. They made the playoffs in a 48-game season, with two elite goalies, a better (younger) roster, and an experienced coach, in a WEAK division. Was it really that difficult to hold off a less talented Minnesota team, Edmonton, Calgary, and an abysmal Avalanche club?

      Now fast forward to today where all their stars are on the decline or gone (Kesler, Schneider, Lou), they have a rookie coach, a poor prospect base, and are relying are more aging free additions. And that’s before even mentioning they now must compete with LA, Anaheim, and San Jose. There’s next to no chance they finish top-3 in their division (I don’t even think top-5), so they must beat out teams like Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago, and Colorado for a wild card. I think you need to attempt an unbiased look at the Canucks chances.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        Good reasoning, guess some folks don’t like the conclusion, and did not bother to postg why. Good post.

    • gbatap - Aug 11, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      The Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings say ‘hi’.

    • thesheabutterfactory - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      phillyphanatic77, you aren’t entirely wrong, the Canucks have problems and will be in tough to make the playoffs. I think they need Colorado to stumble to make it. Plus, the Avalanche might actually improve, given all their best players are so young.

      That being said, you are so over the top in saying the Canucks making the playoffs is “insane”. That 48 game season, the Canucks went 9-2-4 against that stacked central division and 11-6-1 against the weak NW division. Besides, the difference between playing your own division and others was 3 games. So, your point about the weak division is just plain wrong.

      Yeah, they lost a hell of a coach, but you have to give Desjardins a chance before you judge him.

      Sure, they no longer have the best goaltending tandem in the league, but Miller and Lack is pretty damn good. Goaltending is far from a weakness.

      That roster may have been better, but younger? Not really. The Canucks veterans may be a little older, but next years team will certainly be younger.

      I, personally, think the Canucks will be much better then last year and still miss the playoffs. The marginal playoff teams in the west all improved. I think you need to attempt an unbiased look at the Canucks chances.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        No you misunderstood my point. I wasn’t saying it’s insane that Vancouver makes the playoffs (though I highly doubt it), I was saying it’s insane to justify that they will make the playoffs based off of a result from two years ago. Am I gonna say the Flyers are a Cup contender simply bc they were there a few years ago? No. It’s ridiculous logic.

        And yes, what I meant by younger was that their prime, established players were actually in their primes. Not that overall they were a younger club than today. I agree they’ll be better (Torts was a predictable disaster), but like I said above, circumstances have changed dramatically from when they could fall backwards into the playoffs based on poor divisional competition. They’re now duking it out for 3 spots against what some call a dynasty (LA), a powerhouse (Anaheim), and a playoff regular with a far more established talent base (San Jose). Then I’d bet that the other division sends 5 teams to the playoffs, while its a purely Californian affair in the Canucks division. But it’s nothing more than projection.

        I have absolutely no bias towards the Canucks. If they make it, great; if they don’t, great. I have no dog in this fight. In fact, I actually wanted Vancouver to beat Boston a few years back, I’m just telling it how I see it now. And I’d imagine almost everyone outside of Vancouver would agree.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        And by the way, when I say “fall backwards into a playoff spot” I’m taking nothing away from their accomplishments. They would’ve been a playoff team for a long stretch no matter the division. However, it’s easy to argue that they were a part of the worst division in hockey, where they could go through stretches of mediocrity and still have a legitimate shot at running away with the division. But now, they need their “A” game consistently and I don’t see a roster built for that.

        I like the new management; I like Desjardins; I even like Miller (I saw a ton of him in Buffalo, I know how talented he is)… but I don’t see it. Not this year. And especially not if the Twins aren’t playing up to their pay grade. If I’m wrong I’ll eat crow to the Canucks faithful, but I’m pretty confident it won’t come to that.

      • thesheabutterfactory - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Agreed. I did misunderstand your point. My bad.

  7. jhnyr45 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    i find it hysterical that the Thumbnail is a picture of them laughing…. just like their chances at making the playoffs

    • vancouversportsbro - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      Yeah, you know, this team won’t ever make it. After all each of the eight teams will get in again like last year. After all this is a repetitive league with zero parity. Said no one ever.

      You guys are selling them short. They were division champions each year until Torts came in. With the right coach and retool they could become decent again.

      • jhnyr45 - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        they also lost Kesler, Luongo, and Schneider…. I never thought Miller could Take a team to the SC

      • wutangwild - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        They were division champs, but the NW was a joke in those days (for the most part). I think it’ll be a while until they are back in the playoff picture with how the West is.

  8. jacketsfan7 - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Consuela says no
    I agree.
    Okay brb time to get more lemon pledge

    • imleftcoast - Aug 11, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      We need more lemon pledge.

  9. ronniethec - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    No doubt 5 teams from the Central will make it. So if the Nucks make it either the Kings, Quacks or Snarks won’t. Let’s see……..fat chance!

  10. flyboystransport - Aug 11, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Not yet

  11. quinner17 - Aug 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Canuck fans don’t live on planet earth. Worse then Leaf fans, and if you don’t pick them to win the cup YOU’RE the idiot

  12. Wineshard - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    They were in a playoff position Jan 1. The team saw what a loser they had as a coach and that was it.

    They have a legit shot at 7-8 slot. Avs lost some talent and you never know about injuries for some team that could slide. Canucks had horrible injury problems last year.

  13. Wineshard - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Analytics would not have extrapolated the level of tanking that occurred. It was clear that after Torts lost it that the team was not playing for him.

    Please show your work on the Analytics or you are blowing smoke. Controlling for level of opponent and home vs road would account for a few points, not what actually happened.

  14. stinkpretty1 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Of course, look at Willies success. Always makes the playoffs, at all levels.
    Long live the the great hockey he coached in Medicine Hat!

  15. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    It’s gonna be real hard to make it since the new playoff format allows the 5th best team for the central to make the pacific.

    Stars, Wild, Blues and Hawks actually improved. While the Aves to regress some, I don’t see them finishing with less points than the Nucks.

    Sorry, they’d make it if playing in the weak EC;)

  16. vancouversportsbro - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    You hugs are going to be surprised next year. I will bet a lot it’s not the exact same eight teams in the west making it, that has rarely if ever happened post 2005 lockout,

  17. vancouversportsbro - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    And it’s funny hearing people talk about these good central teams, what about Nashville ? Good new coach, new offence and system. The central will be tougher than the pacific was last year

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