Vancouver Canucks: 39-15-9, 87 pts, 1st in West, 1st in Northwest
Status: Passive Buyer
A team that has enjoyed as much success as the Canucks have this season would have to be considered a Stanley Cup favorite at this point. The league’s most potent offense certainly doesn’t need any help up front, as the Sedin twins continue to be the most dangerous set of brothers in the league. The addition of Raffi Torres in the offseason has panned out nicely, as the hefty winger has chipped in 13 goals and 25 points in a 3rd line role, while adding some much-needed size up front.
The Canucks certainly have not question marks in net, as Roberto Luongo continues to stake claim to his place among the NHL’s elite goalies. The only concern for the Canucks at this point is their battered blueline, which has seen injuries to Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard, to say nothing of poor Sami Salo, who’s missed all but 8 games, and may be done for good. >
Despite the rash of injuries, the Canucks have not made any significant moves, as GM Mike Gillis is likely reluctant to upset anything in a locker room that has powered the Canucks to the top of super-tough Western Conference with relative ease. Current indications are that all the Canucks’ defensemen should be back in time for the playoffs, with Edler’s return the latest of the list. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a depth move or two, maybe the acquisition of a gritty third or fourth line type player with some playoff experience or a proven bottom-four defenseman, but don’t expect the Canucks to make any huge splashes.
One Canuck that could be moved is defenseman Kevin Bieksa, since his contract is up this season, and with a ton of salary already tied up on the blueline, Vancouver likely won’t have what it takes to re-sign him. With 19 points, 69 penalty minutes and a team-leading +26 rating, Bieksa has had a breakout season, and would likely garner a pretty decent return. Still, I doubt that the Canucks would look to move a piece that has been such an integral part of their success this year.