Current and former Vancouver Canucks can be found making a difference all over the league. Whether they were drafted by, signed or traded for, players who have worn the Orca continue to thrive even after leaving the organization. That being said, what would the team look like had they been able to retain all their best active players past and present? This article looks at what a dream team Canucks lineup could look like made up of current and past active players.
The rules for this challenge are simple. Using players that currently have contracts for the 2022-23 season as of Aug.8, 2022, and have been or are currently part of the Canucks organization, create the best lineup possible. Since this is a dream team, it will not be salary cap compliant as some former players have gone on to sign lucrative deals elsewhere in the NHL. Without further ado, here is what the roster would look like.
The Canucks have built a strong forward group for next season, but it could have been aided by some former players. We start with the Lotto Line, where J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser will try to rekindle their magic from the 2019-20 season. On the second line, Bo Horvat is flanked by Conor Garland and new Canucks signing Ilya Mikehyev. This rounds out a top-six that could compete with anyone in the league.
On the third line, former Canucks draft pick and current Seattle Kraken Jared McCann returns to the team after a six-year absence. The former 2014 first-rounder has 187 points since leaving Vancouver and is coming off a career-best 27 goals and 50 points last season. Next returning is Tyler Toffoli, who makes his way back to the Canucks via the Calgary Flames. In his last two seasons away from the franchise, he has 48 goals and 93 points in 126 games. They are flanked by Mr. Reliable Tanner Pearson who has experience playing with Toffoli from their days in Los Angeles.
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Lastly, the fourth line and extra forward are those gritty players every team needs. First, we have Nick Bonino, who had a good year for the San Jose Sharks in 2021-22 with 26 points in 80 games. He would also be a valuable asset on special teams as he plays on the power play and penalty kill. On right-wing, Travis Boyd makes his return to the Canucks after spending the past season in Arizona. He is coming off a career year with the Coyotes, where he put up 17 goals and 35 points in 74 games and should help out on the penalty kill. They are flanked by Vasily Podkolzin, who, after a strong rookie season, will be looking to continue his development in 2022-23. Lastly, we have Nic Dowd, who can come in and play solid minutes as a 13th forward if the injury bug hits. Last season with the Washington Capitals, he finished with 24 points in 64 games.
J.T. MIller- Elias Pettersson- Brock Boeser
Ilya Mikehyev- Bo Horvat- Conor Garland
Tanner Pearson- Jared McCann- Tyler Toffoli
Vasily Podkolzin- Nick Bonino- Travis Boyd
The Canucks struggled last season on defence, but the additions of some former players, especially on the right side, could help fix some of the problems they experienced. After a franchise record-setting season, Quinn Hughes is reunited with Chris Tanev. The current Calgary Flame is one of the most underrated defencemen in the league and even received some Norris Trophy votes after another strong season in 2021-22.
The Canucks second pair consists of players that played for a short time, or not at all for the organization. Gustav Forsling has developed into a fantastic defenceman for the Florida Panthers, and one Vancouver wished they still had. Unfortunately, the team traded him for Adam Clendening just a few months after drafting him in 2014. On his right is Nate Schmidt, who never really found his footing in Vancouver but recaptured some of his form in Winnipeg last season. This pair may be painful to Canucks fans as, by all accounts, could have been something special.
The third pairing and extra defenceman spots are taken up by some long-time NHL veterans in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers and Alex Edler. The pairing of Ekman-Larsson and Myers did well in their first season together but may benefit from less responsibility. As for Edler, he is one of the best defencemen in franchise history and would be a great mentor to some of the younger players in the Canucks lineup.
Quinn Hughes- Chris Tanev
Gustav Forsling- Nate Schmidt
Oliver Ekman-Larsson- Tyler Myers
The goaltending battle is tight as both Thatcher Demko and Jacob Markström are elite netminders. Both also received Vezina Trophy votes last season. Despite Markström being a finalist, Demko takes the starters net the majority of the time in this scenario.
The battle for the third-string goaltender is where things get tricky. The answer would most likely be Braden Holtby, but due to injury, he is not signed for next season and may be considering retirement. For that reason, Jaroslav Halák takes the final spot. Yes, he struggled as a Canuck, but there is no denying that he can still be a productive NHLer. However, if this is done again next season, it is very possible Spencer Martin could take his place on the list.
Dream Team Is Definitely a Playoff Team
While there will be a debate if the 2022-23 team, as it stands, will make the playoffs, there should be no question about this dream team. They are strong from top to bottom and possess elite scoring, a strong defensive group and the best goalie tandem in the NHL.
We hope you enjoyed the article, and let us know in the comments what you think of this team and whether or not you believe certain former players were snubbed.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
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