The Vancouver Canucks missed the playoffs for the third straight season last year, the seventh time they missed the postseason in the last eight seasons. Despite finishing sixth in the Pacific Division, they didn’t make many major changes this past offseason, likely because the Canucks are up against the cap ceiling. It isn’t ideal for a team that finished 12 points back of a Wild Card spot.
But that’s not to say that the Canucks have bad players or that everyone is overpaid. Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, and Andrei Kuzmenko all hit the 30-goal mark, with Pettersson registering the tenth most points in the NHL. Also, only Erik Karlsson had more points or assists as a defenseman than Quinn Hughes, who finished ninth in the Norris voting for best defenseman.
With strong top-end talent, Vancouver’s few moves were to boost their anemic penalty kill. The Canucks additions may not be splashy, but they picked up some proven penalty killers.
Ian Cole signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Canucks after a solid season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he led the team in short-handed time on ice. Tampa Bay had the 15th-best penalty kill last season, and Cole was a big reason for that.
Also joining the Canucks is Teddy Blueger, fresh off winning a cup after being traded to the Vegas Golden Knights from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Blueger finished seventh in short-handed time on ice with the Penguins despite playing only 45 games with the organization last season.
Pius Suter, Matt Irwin, and Carson Soucy also should provide an upgrade, and if the Canucks can get a full season with Thatcher Demko and a more defensive Rick Tocchet coaching system, it could be enough to turn around Vancouver’s penalty kill.