The Canucks came into this season as a rebuild, Jim Benning and his lies just watched their team lose to the Flames; dwelling on the past, it was burning on his brain, he went and signed Bartkowski, Sutter and they still kept Linden Vey. A season of growth, surprises and yet another minor goalie controversy, the dead weight was starting to fall off and it was the young guns that were getting the chances.
We still bit in like a chump, hey! Like a chump? HEY!
But the Canucks did it all for the rookies.
With 14 games left, its safe to say the Canucks won’t be at the big dance come April. The “P-word” as many are calling it, is something they’ll be building towards next season. Injuries have been a big reason they aren’t close as well as a lackluster roster that hasn’t been updated to compete in the current NHL.
Willie Desjardins is finally giving the rookies, Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi the proper time they deserve, even if that means Derek Dorsett and Emerson Etem have to hang around and ride shotgun. It hasn’t been easy to watch and with the first overall pick still a realistic possibility, there is a good chance we’ll see more of this to end the year.
When it all began, Jake Virtanen earned his spot, Jared McCann did too and Ben Hutton? Well we all know he was a guarantee to make it, how do you even debate that? Not entirely true I guess; Chris Higgins needed to go on LTIR so that kind of opened up a spot. Frankie Corrado seemed to be the guy that would make it but then he was waived!??!?!
I mentioned that it wasn’t Hutton who stole that job but actually Alex Biega. Benning saw what he wanted to after he made that move and inked Biega to a 2 year deal. Frankie, like Hunter Shinkaruk, just didn’t fit the plan.
Looking up and down the roster it’s amazing to see how much youth has actually played this year. Bo Horvat is tied with Daniel Sedin with 68 games played, for most games played this season, Hutton (61), McCann (58) and Virtanen (43) have all contributed as well as a hand full of first NHL games to boot.
This season has seen a blend of options and on the Sedin line alone, they’ve had approximately 8 different partners. The injuries have been a significant reason they have had new blood on a semi-regular basis.
Every position has taken a hit but it’s been up the middle and on the back end that’s been hit the hardest. Dan Hamhuis, through one fluke injury or another, has missed 24 games; Brandon Sutter has missed 47 games with and will probably not play again this season, Luca Sbisa missed 26 games with an injured hand and foot and those are just the big ones.
As a team, the Canucks have been decimated for 213 man games lost (as of March 12/16). Thankfully, that has meant a whole lot more ice time for Hutton, Virtanen, Horvat and now new Canuck fave Sven Baertschi. But in the last week, those guys aren’t stealing the spotlight anymore. Cue….Nikita Tryamkin.
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) March 15, 2016
It sure has been awhile since a Russian has made headlines in Vancouver, for the right reasons anyways. We could talk about Fedor Fedorov or Kirill Koltsov but that isn’t very exciting. Don’t get me wrong, Ben Hutton isn’t losing his hold as future top dman but with the build of the Russian Bear, Tryamkin gets an opportunity that few former Canucks prospects get.
Guaranteed ice time.
Let’s ask ourselves though, does Benning have a hidden agenda, will he put the tender season in a blender or will he surrender…like a chump. HEY!
All accounts say its still “P-word” or bust (playoffs) so they’ll tow the company line and continue to insist this season is still salvageable. What actually is salvageable is the hope we should have for next year when the purse strings open and management goes all in on whatever star is available.
Eventually, the likes of Andrey Pedan, Alex Grenier and Brendan Gaunce will be regulars, Horvat/Virtanen/McCann/Hutton will all be seasoned vets and if the dominoes continue to fall….maybe even Auston Matthews; but one thing is for sure: if it wasn’t for the long list of injuries this year, we might not know how long this rebuild was going to take.
Now at least, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel and if we look about 3 years away I have a feeling the phrase “Demko, Demko very much” may catch on. Something about wins, shutouts and being the goalie of the future, I dunno.
The rebuild carries on but the Canucks did it all for the rookies (so far).