The 2015-16 season has been a colossal disappointment for the Vancouver Canucks. After scoring more than 100 points in five out of the last seven years, this squad will likely not even reach 80 and will miss the playoffs. The frustrating season is due to a combination of poor performances, age and injuries.
The Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, are still the only real offensive weapons on the team. As of March 29th, the pair of 35 year olds each has over 50 points, but only two other players have reached the 30 point plateau. Vancouver has struggled to score all year, netting just 2.23 goals per game. That is almost tied with the New Jersey Devils for the lowest in the NHL. With 35 year old Ryan Miller as the starting goalie, and only one year left on his deal, the team needs to decide if to stay competitive or send out their veterans and start rebuilding.
Pending Free Agents: The Canucks have several noteworthy unrestricted free agents this summer. 34 year old Radim Vrbata was a 30 goal scorer last season, but hasn’t produced this year. He has just 27 points in 63 games, and is an embarrassingly low -30. Another veteran free agent is Dan Hamhuis. Many thought the defenseman would be traded before the deadline, but the team was not able to work out a deal. It is likely the team wants to re-sign him, but that will depend on if they will move into full rebuilding mode.
After being signed as a free agent last offseason, the Canucks thought they had a potential top four defenseman in Matt Barkowski. That has not been the case, as he is currently a -23, worst among all Vancouver defenseman. It will be interesting to see what the team will do with him.
Draft Picks: Odds are the team will try to select some offensive help with their top pick. While Auston Matthews is the top choice if they win the lottery, they may look for Jesse Puljujärvi if Matthews isn’t available. He is born in Sweden and plays right wing, so he could get a year or two with his countrymen, the Sedin twins.
Free Agent Additions: The team has holes all over the place, and will likely not invest heavily in top tier free agents unless they make one last push to win in the next year or two. If they go that route, All-Star Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning would be the top target. He would likely choose a team able to offer a better supporting cast though.
Vancouver can also bring back Anton Rodin, a former second round pick that didn’t play well in his first go around with the team, but was just named the MVP of the Swedish Hockey League. Kyle Okposo and Eric Staal are two potential additions to increase the scoring punch, but they won’t come cheap.