The Vancouver Canucks were a team squarely in the middle of the textbook definition of a full-scale rebuild. They played their first season without twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin since 2000, after selecting them second and third overall, respectively, in the 1999 NHL Draft. After finishing the 2016-2017 season with a lowly 69 points and then improving to only 73 points in 2017-2018, the Canucks made a nice step forward last season, finishing with 81 points. In fact, they outperformed other Western Conference foes Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, two teams who were predicted to fare much better than the Canucks heading into last season. A large part of the progress came on the heels of the development of youngsters on the team.
Elias Pettersson, 20 years old, led the team with 66 points. Bo Horvat, 24, had 61 points, and Brock Boeser, 22, had 56 points. In net, veteran Jacob Markstrom continued to do well in what amounted to only the second time in his 10-year career that he logged more than 60 games.
Sensing that the team was on the cusp of leaping forward into serious playoff contention, Jim Benning, the team’s general manager, made a flurry of moves in the offseason to get the Canucks back to glory. Will they pay off? Let’s take a look at the Canucks’ outlook for this season, with real games scheduled to start in less than a month.