What is the future of our Vancouver hockey team?
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
With the Vancouver Canucks falling short in this year’s playoffs due to a heartbreaking game seven loss against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, many are speculating about where the team might be headed. Here are three important points to keep in mind with the Canucks moving forward:
Prior to Demko’s first start in game five of the series against Las Vegas, many believed that the Canucks would continue to roll with all-star veteran goalie Jacob Markstrom the following season as many thought Demko still needed time to develop into a starting goaltender.
However, after stopping 128 of 130 shots and averaging a 0.64 goals against average in the three pivotal games against the Golden Knights, it’s safe to say Demko has shown he is capable of stepping up to the plate much sooner than expected.
The Canucks front office must now decide on whether or not to go all in on the rising 24-year old netminder next year, or opt to resign Markstrom who just played the last season of his contract and head into next year with the same goaltending strategy.
Prior to this year, the Canucks often found themselves in vulnerable positions where they were unable to get far in the playoffs.
In 2012, the Canucks fell short to the Los Angeles Kings in game five of the first round. The following year they were swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round as well. In 2015, the Canucks also could not get past the first round of the playoffs as they lost to the series to the Calgary Flames four to two series victory.
This year was much different however, as the team not only managed to knock off the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the first round, but they managed to bring their second round series against Las Vegas to game seven after being down three to one.
That kind of experience can help shift the team’s playoff morale moving forward and can give them the confidence to potentially set the bar even higher next year.
The rebuild is officially over…
The most important overall takeaway from this season is that the Canucks are officially over the rebuilding process. Young players like Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and Thatcher Demko are no longer prospects that the team is waiting for to develop after having put on the kind of performance they put on this year. This season showed that the Canucks’ young players are capable of leading this team and of posing a credible threat to arguably any other team in the league if they continue to grow and play at their best.
If the Canucks front office can somehow manage to keep their core group of young stars together for the foreseeable future and adjust key areas on the team that would compliment their game, who knows what the ceiling is for the Canucks in the coming years?