Canucks Lack “THAT” Playoff Guy

Watching the Pittsburgh Penguins force a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, I couldn’t help but notice yet another player that seems to always hang around the late stages of the Stanley Cup Playoffs: Brian Boyle. Now he hasn’t been to a ton of Final appearances but he’s a guy you want when things go the distance. The LA Kings know exactly what they had with Justin Williams which is why when he was free, the Capitals were more than happy to add that Game 7 magic.

The Canucks aren’t in a position to be going the distance anytime soon, as far as we can tell, but they do lack the can’t miss talent that knows what it takes to make it through a long season and a long playoff push. If they actually let Dan Hamhuis walk this offseason, you really wonder what exactly it is that they are trying to accomplish.

In 2011, yes I’m going there again, they had built up a team that was battle tested, knew what REAL losing felt like and when it came time to adding a few extra playoff performers, they knew recent warriors Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre would be key pieces to their accession up the mountain. Raffi Torres ended up being one of those guys as well and every Canucks fan could feel that they were about to watch it all finally happen.

Well obviously it didn’t, big spoiler I know, and they have struggled to put together the right mix until recently and now that things are coming together, again, quite slowly, they need to add the pieces that will once again make them a chore to beat.

I look at Joel Ward and it drives me crazy that the Canucks never signed him after 2011. He’s gritty, he has a certain Ryan Kesler to him (which let’s not kid ourselves, we need), and he’s proven that he’s a playoff warrior. If the Sharks end up going to the Final, or even further, winning; he is a big reason why.

He’s not Joe Thornton or little Joe Pavelski but he’ll be a guy that will score a big goal in a game when they aren’t shining. Joel Ward is still valuable at 35 and is worth a look if a trade every came up. The Canucks aren’t in a position to go after the Cup right now so unfortunately for them, he won’t be in their plans.

Milan Lucic isn’t THAT guy but he might be able to mold into that guy. Sometimes its the guy you expect and at the same time, least expect to shine that actually does. He’ll come with a big price tag most likely but you can sell him at least as ONE of the answers.

There’s no doubt Steven Stamkos would be THE #1 guy to be THAT guy but I doubt the Canucks are close to landing him. We can dream and I mean, hey we got Luongo, but let’s all be real – that isn’t where this team is headed. Now David Perron, is still out there and ripe for the picking. Vancouver can right their wrong by getting him for dollars instead of trying to trade for his services. I think he’s a THAT guy, but I’m wrong a lot.

Kris Russell is rounding the rumour wheel and I believe many think HE is a THAT guy…he’s not. Let’s not Kris Russell ok?

Going full Chicago Blackhawks may be the answer, it’s kinda like the Marian Hossa model but as a team; Troy Brouwer and Andrew Ladd will both be UFAs and by the time this team is ready to pounce again they might get a small run to the second round and with Cup winners littered on the team, the impressionable guys will take notice.

Every team has a THAT guy when they win the Cup and the Canucks will need to start digging to find theirs. There is a potential Cup run inside this team but a few pieces need to surface for that to become a possibility. The recent success of Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton winning the World Championships with Canada give the Canucks more ammo that even missing the playoffs can produce winners.

Tanev is a THAT guy, Hutton is a THAT guy and so is Bo Horvat. But they are also more than that, they’re stars. Who is the guy Vancouver needs? July 1 will give us a glimpse into the answer.

Again, I’m wrong a lot.

 

photo – canucks.com

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One comment

  1. It’s about having a few “that guys” one doesn’t do it anymore (as Justin Williams in Washington shows). The Hawks have Kieth, Toews. Kane. Players with skill tend to need to have some grit to them theses days (as Gaborik’s lack there of in LA shows). The idea of “that guy” is disappearing and it’s a team of grit mixed with a team that is just too damned determined to win. Truth be told “that guy” don’t do it anymore but “that team” does. The Bruins didn’t have “that guy” when they took the Cup in 2011 and come to think of it, neither did the Canucks. But both teams went through teams with “that guy” on them. LA won the Cup twice in the last five years because they have a few of “those guys”. Justin Brown, Williams, Doughty, Carter. So it’s about building the team. It’s about having grit throughout the line-up. The idea of “that guy” comes from seeing a player have a great playoff and next time “that team” wins we see “that guy” because we are programmed to see “that guy” by our own minds and we tend to miss all the great things the rest of “that team” did to get them the wins. It’s also because teams are defending against a certain group of players it lets a normally unnoticed player stand out. That player get’s left alone a lot. It’s not that he found open space it’s that open space found him due to lack of attention. Now please get me wrong those players did something with the open space they had and the level of grit they have tends to stand out but honestly grit is a must have standard in the NHL. So realistically Horvat, Virtanen, Tryamkin and even newly acquired Gudmanson stand a chance of being those guys. All it takes is one good playoffs!! But hey I am definitely wrong a lot and I take nothing away from “that guy” I just think teams need more than one…

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