Over the last few years, I haven’t felt the Vancouver Canucks were true Stanley Cup contenders. In fact, the last time I felt the Canucks could seriously challenge for Lord Stanley, the city of Vancouver still liked Pavel Bure and Kirk Mclean’s blocker didn’t look that retro.
In years more recent, I always felt the Canucks offense lacked a dynamic second punch. Of course Henrik and Daniel Sedin providing the only punch. And even with Roberto Luongo standing on his head (regardless of missing 5 minutes of overtime for an unexpected bathroom break), I still thought the Canucks were beatable.
Until now, sort of. I’m not saying the Vancouver Canucks are Stanley Cup shoe-ins — not at all — but, the ‘Nucks future hasn’t looked this bright in some time. With training camp set to start on Saturday and young prospects like Cody Hodgson and Jordan Schroeder waiting in the wings, I like where the Canucks are heading. Feel free to add Michael Grabner to further support my statement.
Couple these two blue-chip prospects with a solid core group that includes Luongo, the Sedins, Mikeal Samuelsson, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler (I have no doubt Mike Gillis will lock him up long term) and you have yourself a pretty decent future.
Vancouver’s defence isn’t terrible but could be improved. No Canuck defenceman has a contract that goes beyond the 2010-2011 season, except Alex Edler. Kevin Bieksa — who has been the subject of trade rumors for some time — Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo are due for raises when their contracts end after the 2010-2011 season. That could become a problem when the core group mentioned above take a significant cut out of the Canucks salary cap. Perhaps that’s why Mike Gillis drafted two 6 foot offensive defenceman earlier this summer (Kevin Connaughton and Jeremy Price). Nice work, Gillis.
The Vancouver Canucks future looks promising with nice up-and-comers and a good core group. And Roberto Luongo is signed long term. Let’s be honest, as good as these kids may be, he’s the cornerstone piece.
Stay classy, Vancouver Canucks.