Canucks in a mess of their own making
Despite a dramatic comeback win against the Dallas Stars in their latest game, the Vancouver Canucks are a mess. There’s really no other way to say it, no way to sugar coat a team that is so bad it resembles an awful movie you put on to laugh at with your friends. And Jim Benning, Trevor Linden, and the rest of Canucks’ management have no one to blame but themselves.
Anyone who’s subjected themselves to the Canucks’ particular brand of grim, narcoleptic hockey this year understands what a disaster the team is this year. But even if you’re familiar with the team, the numbers are staggeringly bad. Even after scoring 5 goals on Sunday, they’re 28th in the league in goals per game. They’re basement-dwellers in nearly every possession metric worth caring about. And they only have 13 points in 16 games. If they continue on that pace they’ll finish with 66 points, which, uhhh, might not seem as outlandish as it did before the season.
The remarkable thing is the Canucks are lucky to even have that many points. The Canucks have only held a lead for a paltry 31 minutes at even strength this year. The next worst team is the Avalanche, at over 117 minutes.
Unlike most truly terrible teams, the Canucks don’t have a bright future to look forward to, either. As innovative teams like the Sabres and Maple Leafs have looked to hoard draft picks, the Canucks brass have made a habit of trading away mid-round picks, and have little to show for it. Former 6th overall pick Jake Virtanen has, predictably, struggled relative to players selected after him. What was obviously a terrible pick at the time looks even worse now.
The Canucks management also seems to have made a mission to collecting many of the most overrated players in the league. Jim Benning and co. acquired each of Luca Sbisa, Brandon Sutter, and Erik Gudbranson in high profile, costly trades. Each of these players have an impressive draft pedigree and enviable physical measurements. But all three of them also, sadly, suffer the notable impediment of being bad at hockey. Typically, teams look to acquire players who are good at hockey. Not the Canucks, though.
So with a terrible roster, few draft assets, and limited cap flexibility, is there any light at the end of the tunnel for the Canucks? It’s hard to see anyway this team can be competitive with such inept management at the helm. Until the Canucks clean house at the top of the organization, the team will remain like that “so-good-it’s-bad” movie: fun to point and laugh at, but still terrible.