Vancouver Canucks Team Preview

2019-20 Regular Season: 36-27-6 (.565%, 78 pts) —  3rd in Pacific Division

2019-20 Playoffs:  7th seed in Western Conference Stanley Cup Qualifiers

 

The Vancouver Canucks will take on the Minnesota Wild (35-27-7, .558%, 77pts) in a best-of-five series, with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Canucks have one of the best and strongest cores in the League with centres Elias Pettersson, 21, and Bo Horvat, 25; rookie defenceman Quinn Hughes, 20; and right winger Brock Boeser, 23.  Vancouver also has J.T. Miller, who had 72 points (27G, 45A) in 69 games, as one of the top breakout players this season.

Vancouver, which had three All-Stars this season in Pettersson, Hughes and goaltender Jacob Markstrom, was eighth in the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.25 goals a game.  The Oilers would be fourth on the power play (24.2%) and second in face-off win percentage at 54.0%,

If Vancouver is successful in defeating the Minnesota Wild, they will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons.


Player to Watch:

Tyler Toffoli has been a great asset on the top line with Pettersson and Miller since being acquired in a trade on February 17 from the Los Angeles Kings.  Toffoli had 10 points (6G, 4A) in 10 contests.  Toffoli can be an Unrestricted Free Agent after the end of the season and brings championship experience (2014 LA Kings) to the young Canucks squad.


Question Mark:

Is Jacob Markstrom ready for the postseason?  Markstrom has been a reliable goaltender over the last two seasons, starting 103 games (ninth) with a save percentage of .915.  Over this season, he was not only selected to his first NHL All-Star Game, but also had a NHL career-high save percentage of .918 (one full season) in 40 contests (fourth among goaltenders).

However, it remains to be seen if Markstrom can replicate the regular season success in the qualifier round after the five month layoff on top of his recovery from the knee surgery he had on February 26th.  During Markstrom’s absence, Vancouver went 3-5-0 before the NHL paused their season due to the concerns of COVID-19.  Markstrom is also due to be an unrestricted free agent upon the conclusion of the season.


Injury Updates:

F Micheal Ferland is hopeful to return to the ice after being limited to just 14 games due to recurring concussion symptoms.

F Josh Leivo is also hopeful to return to ice from a fractured kneecap that limited him to 36 games.

G Jacob Markstrom is expected to be healthy to return to the ice after missing the final eight games following knee surgery.

D Christopher Tanev is also expected to be healthy after sustaining a lower-body injury on March 10, the team’s final game before the season was paused due to the Coronavirus.


Fresh Face:

Defenceman Oscar Fantenberg didn’t make his debut with the team until December 1 due to an illness.  Fantenberg would later be a fixture on the third pair with Tyler Myers down the stretch.  Fantenberg, who has played with the Kings and Calgary Flames, as well as in each of the previous two postseasons, signed with the Canucks July 1, 2019, had two assists in his last three games of the season.

 

Projected Vancouver Lineup:

J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser

Loui Eriksson — Adam Gaudette — Jake Virtanen

Micheal Ferland — Jay Beagle — Brandon Sutter

Quinn Hughes — Christopher Tanev

Alexander Edler — Troy Stecher

Oscar Fantenberg — Tyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

 

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