Beyond The Benches

Top 5 Most Important Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks, who have been considered a force in the league for many years, hit a rut this past season when they finished in 5th place and failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals. The season had plenty of injury problems, goaltender swapping, and upper management drama. After a busy offseason and what looks to be an effective remodeling, the Vancouver Canucks look ready to prove themselves once again in the NHL.

Here’s a look at the Top 5 most important Vancouver Canucks going in to next season:

5. – Kevin Bieksa. Despite ending the season with a +/- score of -9, Bieksa is the leader of the Canucks defense. For this reason, Bieksa is the first alternate captain of the Canucks. In this case, he will be responsible for mentoring young defensemen such as new acquisition Luca Sbisa.

4. – Daniel Sedin. There’s no arguement that the Sedin brothers are the face of the Canucks franchise. This includes the good, and the bad, if you are a Vancouver hockey fan. The good includes a tremendous scoring upside (despite last year being the first full season that Daniel hasn’t scored 50+ points in almost a decade), while the bad is limited mostly to the brothers tendency to get injured.

3. – Dan Hamuis. It wouldn’t be shocking to hear that many of the fans in Vancouver trust Dan Hamuis more than they trust Kevin Bieksa defensively. Hamuis improved greatly upon Bieksa’s negative +/- score by finishing with a positive 13. He also scored one more goal then Bieksa, though ultimately finished with two less points. While Bieksa’s head may be all over the ice while fulfilling his alternate captain duties, Hamuis can focus solely on shutting down the Canucks oppenent.

2. – Henrik Sedin. Team captain Henrik Sedin had his slowest year for point production in quite some time as well. Non-surprisingly, he also battled injury causing him to miss about 12 games of the last season. If Henrik can stay healthy and effective through the upcoming season he will be the key to the Vancouver offense. The addition of Radim Vrbata on the topline with the Sedin’s should be a welcome addition.

1. – Ryan Miller. Last season, Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo both saw 2000+ minutes between the pipes for Vancouver. While both are solid backstops, neither one is capable of making highlight reel saves repeatedly like Ryan Miller is. If Ryan Miller can stay consistent while Bieksa and the Sedin’s lead the team, this could be a dangerous Vancouver team.

Writer: Timmy Sclafani is a Junior Journalism student at Roger Williams University. He is not only passionate about hockey, but also film, biking, and music. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @tsclafani20