With about a third of the season over, the Vancouver Canucks (26-28-8) are a few points out of the last wild card spot in the west.
The Canucks have been a success story all season long, exceeding expectations that were set out prior to the season. The young core led by Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and rookie sensation Elias Pettersson have boosted the team and brought exciting hockey back to the city of Vancouver.
Unfortunately, the Canucks have been plagued with injuries all season long from their top defenceman to their starting goalie.
Micheal Dipietro, a 19 year old prospect who was given his first NHL start in a game versus the San Jose Sharks, suffered a 7-2 loss on his first NHL shot. The loss was a tough one for the Canucks to swallow but Dipietro made the most of his experience with the big club.
With the trade deadline coming up, many analysts wonder if the Canucks will be “buyers” or “sellers.” The playoffs are in reach and many claim that the Canucks are a couple pieces away from being a playoff team but others claim that the Canucks should trade some of their veteran players in order to create future success and build a Stanley Cup contending team.
If the rest of the season doesn’t pan out for the team, there are still many positives to take away from the season. Elias Pettersson has basically locked the title for rookie of the year. Pettersson has battled injuries himself in his first year in the league but the 20 year old has recorded a league best amongst rookies with 51 points in 47 games. He was also named to his very first NHL All Star Game representing the Canucks amongst the league’s best.
If Canucks fans aren’t impressed with the progression of this team from what they’ve seen this season, then they should be excited for the future. The young players along with the veterans, when healthy, have stepped up and begun to make a difference in the games. The Canucks may not be a cup contending team today, but it’s looking like they will be.