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Vancouver Canucks: 4 reasons to remain optimistic, and 4 reasons to panic

Updated: Sep 6, 2023







The Canucks have hit a brick wall to start their 2022-23 campaign, and at 3-6-3, many fans have thrown in the towel on this team after only one month.


However, despite the many flaws that possess this team currently, there are also several reasons to be optimistic about this Canucks team.




Optimistic: Horvat has 10 goals in 12 games

The Captain has been lighting up the NHL at a rate the Canucks haven't seen since the Pavel Bure days. Since October 28, the Canucks captain has scored 6 goals in 4 games, with three straight multi-goal games.


Horvat currently sits T-2nd (10 goals) in NHL scoring, behind only Connor McDavid (12 goals).




Panic: Horvat needs a new contract

If Horvat manages to keep up at this astonishing scoring pace, he would end up with right around 70 goals which should be first in the NHL. As unlikely as it is that he will reach those heights, there is a strong possibility that he scores 45-55 goals this season, with fans expecting a strong second half push that we've seen from Horvat in recent years.


The problem with this is that the Canucks will need to give Horvat a new contract by the end of the 2022-23 season as he will be an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA). His current cap hit is $5,500,000 and if his production continues the way it has, he could be looking at a pay raise of nearly double of his previous contract.




Optimistic: Spencer Martin

The Canucks back-up goaltender Spencer Martin has looked real sharp between the pipes this season. Despite having a .899 SV% and 3.27 GAA, the goaltender has been the stronger suit in the Canucks goaltending tandem of Demko-Martin.


The team has underperformed in front of both goaltenders, but Martin has come up bigger in the game's he's started, and his record is 2-0-1 so far this campaign.


With a 5-0-4 record as a goaltender for the Canucks, Martin has yet to lose in regulation since joining the team on their miracle run for the playoffs last season, in which they fell short of a playoff spot. He was 3-0-3 with a .950 SV% and 1.74 GAA during his 6-games in a Canucks sweater last year.




Panic: Thatcher Demko

The top-5 Vezina candidate going into the 2022-23 season has started off rather bumpy, and the Canucks have struggled as a result of this.


In games that Demko has started this season, the Canucks are an abysmal 1-6-2, and his numbers have been quite terrible.


.879 SV% with a 3.90 GAA are definitely not elite numbers for a starting goaltender, and we're hoping that he can turn his game around soon.


During the 2021-22 season, Demko was one of our key components during our 35-15-5 Cinderella run that nearly led the team into a top-3 spot in the Pacific division. And if the Canucks were to go on a similar run this year, they're going to need to get Demko going once again.



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Optimistic: Brock Boeser returns healthy

Brock Boeser underwent successful hand surgery early in the season, which has held the 25-year-old out of the lineup since the game against Buffalo on October 22nd.


According to reports, Boesers surgery wound opened up which has impacted his play, and delayed him making a full return to the Canucks lineup.


However, Boeser was on the ice, practicing with the team on Monday afternoon, which makes him likely to return to the lineup in the coming days.


We know how dangerous a fully healthy Brock Boeser can be, and with 260 points in 330 career games so far in his career, the young stud has been one of the Canucks more consistent points producers.




Panic: Lackluster Penalty Kill

The biggest issue I've noticed that is plaguing this Canucks team has been an abysmal Penalty Kill.


This goes all the way back to last season, when the Canucks had a league-worst (32nd) Penalty Kill at 72.9%. They started off much worse, but their PK got better as the season went on.


This season, their Penalty Kill looks about as worse as it ever has, and it's currently a league-worst (32nd) at 60.5%. At this rate, they're looking to set the all-time record for worst Penalty Kill.




Optimistic: Scoring goals

The Canucks have no issues with scoring goals, as their 41 goals in 12 games (3.42 GF/GP) sits at a respectable 11th in the NHL.


They have some highly talented goal scorers on this team, they just need to figure out how to surrender less goals then they score, and they'll have a formula for success.





Panic: Blowing leads

Who would've seen this one coming? The Canucks are currently blowing more leads than any other team has in NHL history.


Just the other night against the Nashville Predators, the Canucks, who were up 3-0 at one point in the game, gave up (yet again) three consecutive goals to allow Nashville to win in a shootout.


To start the year, the Canucks were 0-3-1 and had blown 4-straight Multi-goal leads, which set the NHL record for most blown leads to start a season in league history.


The issue with the Canucks is that when they have a lead, they aren't playing it safe to minimize risk.






Just remember Canucks fans, it is still early and there is plenty of time for this team turn this ship around.




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