In the wake of an opening-round sweep — and their second opening-round loss in a row — the Canucks are facing many questions about what the future has in store.
One player, though, summed up the present quite succinctly.
“It’s frustrating,” Cory Schneider told the Globe and Mail. “It just seems like a lost year for some of these guys and myself included.”
“Lost year” might be the perfect way to sum up this season, especially in goal.
Schneider spent the first year of his three-year, $12 million deal embroiled in an awkward situation while Roberto Luongo spent his 13th NHL campaign as an overpaid backup, appearing in a career-low 20 contests.
The situation in net overshadowed the entire season and hamstrung the Canucks on a number of fronts.
Not a day passed without questions about the Schneider-Luongo saga, and the financial pinch — the two ate up $9.3 million of cap space — stuck out like a sore thumb.
When looking at the collective age of the club, the “lost year” comment rings especially true, and has to burn.
Core players like Dan Hamhuis, Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin are all now on the wrong side of 30 and, by the start of next season, so too will Chris Higgins.
As such, GM Mike Gillis is receiving a tremendous amount of heat for his decision to stand largely pat (or stubborn, depending on your perspective).
Meanwhile, Canuck management is carrying a plethora of albatrosses into the off-season — roughly $13.8 million worth of wasted contracts with Roberto Luongo twiddling his thumbs, Keith Ballard evidently consigned to the discard heap and the ever-injured, grossly overrated David Booth taking up space — and unless Gillis can go, cap in hand, to owner Francesco Aquilini and ask him to buy out a couple of them, and eat some of Luongo’s salary in order to move him, they will be hamstrung when they try to re-stock the shelves…
…And still we search in vain for the compelling reason to fire Vigneault that’s such a popular theme as this team’s era of excellence winds down, and Gillis’s loyal cornermen try to misdirect the responsibility.
Anyone who thinks that arranging the forward lines differently, or changing the defence pairs, or putting this player or that out on the ice at the end of a game would have made the difference is dreaming in Technicolor.
Should be an interesting offseason in Vancouver.