Saturday, May 11, 2013

What's Next for Vancouver Canucks?

If you listened to Mike Gillis' press conference, you should get a pretty good idea at what's ahead for the Canucks. Gillis pointed out the trend towards big, physical, tough to play against teams as opposed to teams more focused on pure skill (though judging by his words he's not a fan of that trend at all).

The Canucks figure to get younger and probably bigger, the gameplan seems to be to surround their core with those type of players  that will hopefully be able to go against the bigger teams like LA, STL, SJ etc. This seems like a realistic path forward, however the thing that interests me is whether the Canucks will also change their player deployment. Mike Gillis did not talk about this at all nor was he ever questioned about it, however if you take a look at the teams Gillis was reffering to they all feature their top players drawing the toughest assignments all over the ice, often getting power-vs-power matchups equally in the defensive as well as offensive zone. The Canucks are actually a polar opposite of this with their role specialization (more on this here). Although that really can be argued is a coaching issue, and Gillis did say coaching will be evaluated like everything else.

So what should be the next step for the Canucks? As Gillis said, a bigger, tougher to play against look is in store, but it should be important not to forget about the fact that most of the teams that had success in the last few years also favor a more complete role for their top forwards than the Canucks do, the big question is how would the Sedins perform in such matchups not only in the offensive zone but the defensive zone (and possibly PK) as well, and it is something that Canucks should explore as they in Gillis' words hit the reset button. If it turns out the Sedins just can't handle that type of complete role bigger changes might be in store than just surrounding them with bigger, tougher support players.

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