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Canucks Summer of 2021

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Canucks have been pretty busy this off season.

That can be viewed as a good thing, or a bad thing.
Good thing because they revamped or attempted to revamp, many areas of the team, INCLUDING some of the coaching staff....namely the assistant coach and the PP coach.
Bad because it means they have been busy undoing many things they THOUGHT were good last season.

Could they be doing more harm than good this off season with the moves made? That remains to be seen still, but chances are, they couldn't be any worse than things already were.

Where to start?
Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby were supposed to be a red hot combo.... Thatcher coming into his own, with Braden lending his veteran leadership and SC winning pedigree to the proceedings.

Well, Thatcher did start to come into his own, and I expect him to be even better this season, but Holtby....well, he wasn't as advertised, and in fact, was bought out this off season after just a single season.
Jaroslav Halak, most recently of the Boston Bruins takes his spot as Thatcher's back up.
Improvement? I hope so............although Jaroslav may be in for a bit of culture shock when he sees the Canucks defense isn't as tight, generally speaking, as Boston's is!

Still though, Halak's job is to spell Demko when needed and I think he will do that.
Which leads to....defense.....

Nate Schmidt was traded out, again, after just one season, but in his case, he wasn't "bad" per se. He just wasn't enough to replace some of the defensive bodies the Canucks lost the previous season.
Schmidt was asked to be that anchor on defense he had no way of being able to cover. He is a nice defenseman, but one better suited to be part of a greater whole than one to build your playoff hopes around.

Brought in are guys like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Brad Hunt, Luke Schenn, and Tucker Poolman.
OEL basically takes Schmidt's place as the do-everything, finesse defenseman, while Schenn and Poolman are supposed to bring in some much needed toughness on that blue line....yes, I believe Vancouver's defense core was one of the 'softest' in the league last season.
They were decent enough while attacking, but defensively, they didn't offer much resistance in the way of coverage or grit.
Schenn and Poolman may not solve the coverage part particularly well (though OEL might), but they certainly should raise the physicality factor.

Brad Hunt will once again attempt to be a forward disguised as a defenseman and could be useful as a PP specialist or as an attacking bottom pair guy against the other team's 3rd or 4th lines. This was attempted with limited success in Minnesota, but hey, can't hurt here....all the while Quinn Hughes continues to hone his game.

Up front, Jake Virtanen was finally bought out. The enigmatic forward seems to have all the talent in the world, but could not harness it and translate it to on ice NHL success.....and the FO and fans have had enough.
Vancouver's forward corps should have been one of the more lethal ones in the league considering who was on it...it wasn't....and Virtanen was supposed to be a big part of that....he wasn't.

So in come Conor Garland and Jason Dickinson, both via trade, to try and settle the forward ranks in a way that Virtanen could not.
Garland, of course, brings his offense to the top six, while Dickinson brings more of an all around game, but mostly defensive game, to the bottom six.

Are these changes in personnel and in the coaching staff going to be enough?
The Pacific isn't exactly brimming with high powered teams, so I would say Horvat, Petterson, Garland, Boeser (if he doesn't get moved due to cap restraints), Miller, Hoglander, Dickinson, and Sutter up front looks like they should be able to match offense with anyone in that division, and should ice a good PP squad.

In goal, a bit more seasoned Demko along with Halak should represent an improvement over a greener Demko and Holtby combo.
On defense, Quinn Hughes, Brad Hunt, OEL, Travis Hamonic (again, if he isn't moved), Tucker Poolman, Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, and Jack Rathbone look to be harder to play against while being dangerous on transition offense.

Lots of "shoulds" in there, I know.
But at least the Canuck front office realized mistakes were made and things could not remain the same and attempted to do something about it.
Will have to wait on the regular season to see if they succeeded in their efforts.

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