New faces and going textless will yield a similar result in Vancouver this season.
It’s the opening week for the 2019/20 season, and there are new faces in new places. The landscape of the league has changed drastically in the months that have passed since we watched the St. Louis Blues break the hearts of the evil Boston Bruins and their fans. The sweeping changes the league has seen have hit hard in the Canadian markets. Auston Matthews dropped his pants and tried to cover it up in the Big Smoke. Big Buff may have quit the Jets or has simply gotten too fat to play. The Oilers look fantastic at the center ice position and like garbage everywhere else. Despite all of the experts’ advice, Ottawa will dress a team for 82 games rather than just packing it in now. Montreal is still small and French, and Calgary is poised for a deep playoff run when the heat will be turned up on the red mile once again.
The Canucks went through a significant overhaul this summer in preparation for their golden anniversary season. High profile free agents Tyler Myers and Michael Ferland signed contracts with the club, J.T. Miller was brought in via trade to bolster secondary scoring, and to the delight of all Canucks fans, the gruesome twosome that was Hutton and Pouliot will no longer be patrolling the blueline. A full year of Quinn Hughes will be a fun ride that everyone is looking forward to taking after getting a taste of him last spring. The team has officially, okay– presumably, crowned a new captain. Common sense dictates that Bo Horvat has taken the torch, and will no doubt hold it high like the class act that he has proven himself to be since he arrived in the city. A cosmetic change such as going “textless” on the home and away jerseys is an enjoyable change. The new third uniform and the return of the “skate” will also appease many fans as well.
With all of the changes mentioned above, the team is sure to move up the standings and work their way into the thick of the playoff picture. Of course, this is according to most fans and pundits.
Unfortunately, they’re wrong.
While the development of the young and flashy talent on this team will keep butts in the seats and eyeballs on the screens, it won’t translate to more wins or points. Petey, Bo, Brock, and Quinn can only do so much, and can’t play 60 minutes a night. The team has glaring holes at every position with the exception of the net, which features a capable tandem. On the wings, the additions of J.T. Miller and Michael Ferland make the team better, but the improvement will be marginal at best. These two aren’t game breakers by a long shot. Miller and Ferland are effective at playing against and exploiting 2nd and 3rd pairing defenders; in Vancouver, they will be playing the feature shutdown pairing of every team in the league for 82 games. Their deficiencies will be exposed.
In short, there was a reason that better teams deemed these guys expendable. On defense, the Canucks added Tyler Myers, a towering westerner who COULD physically dominate almost anyone in the league but doesn’t. He has a slapshot that COULD strike fear in the hearts of any goalie in the league if he actually decided to shoot the puck. He also has a great set of wheels at his disposal if he ever actually decided to rush the puck. Tyler Myers’s story and legacy will always be more about what he could have been than what he is. Sadly, the Canucks have paid for the myth of Myers rather than the reality.
This team, with all of its new faces and new tarps, will look and feel different from last year’s squad, but the results will be the same. It’s a new path that will lead to the same destination — a .500 record and a long wait for the next season.
Dave gave his honest take on the Canucks’ roster moves and didn’t sugar coat his predictions on our 2019/20 season preview podcast.
Listen to that episode: