From July 16-Aug 14, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
51-22-9, 111 points. First in the Northwest Division, first in the Western Conference, Presidents’ Trophy winners. Lost in the conference quarterfinals to Los Angeles (4-1).
Jason Garrison, Derek Joslin, Guillaume Desbiens
Sami Salo, Aaron Rome, Marc-Andre Gragnani
First round, 26th overall — Brendan Gaunce, C (OHL Belleville)
Vancouver’s summer narrative was — and continues to be — the plight of Roberto Luongo.
After Cory Schneider ascended to the No. 1 gig during the postseason and signed a three-year, $12 million deal, it seemed a Luongo trade was inevitable.
So, why no deal?
Canucks GM Mike Gillis repeatedly preached patience during summer — then practiced it throughout. He said the club would be comfortable heading into next season with both Luongo and Schneider in the mix, and doesn’t appear to be bluffing…though it should be noted that, with labor uncertainty, Gillis might have additional extra decision-making time at his disposal.
Vancouver will be similar up front but feature an altered look on the blueline. Gone is one of the longest-tenured Canucks (Salo) and a pair of depth guys in Gragnani and Rome, the latter registering a career-high in points last season.
It seems likely that Garrison — a hard-shooting power play ace — will step in and replace Salo, while Keith Ballard could end his stay in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse and play a more significant role. The 29-year-old veteran appeared in a career-low 47 games last year and, given his $4.2 million cap hit, is probably expected to do more in his third year with the club.
In short, the Canucks seem to have adopted the offseason strategy of the Bruins, the team that beat them in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals:
Forget last year’s quick playoff exit, embrace a new starting goalie, trust the core veteran group and try to make another run.
Have your say
Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Canucks’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.