The Vancouver Canucks had a disappointing season under John Tortorella, finishing 8 points out of a playoff spot with a 36-35-11 record and 83 points. They’re defense wasn’t too bad, but their offense definitely could’ve used some help with only 196 goals for, tied for 29th with the Florida Panthers.
The first move they made was firing Tortorella after one season. It looks like he’ll be taking some time off for awhile, as all of the coaching jobs have been filled. Willie Desjardins, former Texas Stars coached, jumped on the opportunity after turning down the job in Pittsburgh. It will be interesting, just like every new coach, to see what he does with this team.
They also needed a new general manager. The acceptor of that position was Jim Benning from Boston, who served as Peter Chiarelli’s understudy for the Bruins.
The first player transaction was a trade that sent Ryan Kesler to Anaheim for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a first round pick. When I look at this trade, I believe it was a very smart move. Nick Bonino replaces the production offensively that Kesler has given them the past couple seasons. Kesler scored 25 goals this year, Bonino with only 3 less. Luca Sbisa is a solid top six defenseman, so he will bring some solid depth. Not long after, the Canucks let go of Jason Garrison, who had an average season, and gained some salary. He was shipped to Tampa Bay for a second round pick. The added draft picks turned into forward Jake Virtanen, forward Jared McCann, and goaltender Thatcher Demko in the first two rounds.
When free agency came around, they made a splash. First move they jumped on was signing elite goaltender Ryan Miller to a 3 year, $18 million deal. This will provided a lot of help, because let’s face it, an Eddie Lack-Jacob Markstrom tandem won’t get them anywhere. It’s not a knock on those goaltenders, they of course are good, but neither is a good enough starter to lead them to the postseason. Another move the Canucks was acquiring Radim Vrbata, giving him a 2 year, $10 million deal. He will provided 20 extra goals for them. With those two signed, that may take them from a -27 goal differential to a positive. While losing Mike Santorelli, they gained the same amount of production depth wise by signing Derek Dorsett, as well.
I believe they will be in the mix with improved goaltending, better offense, and a new coach, but it’s hard to say if they’ll claim a spot in the postseason.