The team that made it to the Cup Finals last year is undergoing an amazing amount of changes considering last year’s success. Last year’s success was built on the play of Anderson in goal (1.82 GAA and .942 save %) and the Sedins, who each more than doubled the 3rd leading scorer for the Canucks and were one and two in plus minus for the whole league.
Well, Anderson was under so much pressure to protect leads for the low scoring Canucks he is taking a year off to mentally recuperate at an undisclosed sanitarium for the year. And the Sedins (along with Edler) have contracted a rare disease called Tortarella Fever. The effects last for a year and the twins will this year only be asked to play the 4th line and 1st power play unit, plus rest a few games. Edler will be 4th on the depth chart at left defense. There is a good chance all four will recover.
Meanwhile on defense, a political movement swept through the defensemen. Many became socialists and now refuse to play anything but left defense! Vlasic, Greene, Seidenberg, and Clitsome have all in the past been willing to play RD, but no more. Only Martin and Bieksa were willing to be on the right side, as Salo retired. This has created a crisis on RD, solved by trading Fisher for Gilbert, drafting Murphy and free agent Tanev. Still weak here, but we have the bodies now.
Some players came to camp not ready to compete and will be in the minors this year despite playing roles in the team’s run last year. This includes Ryder, Kulemin, Dorsett, Eakin, and Clitsome. Also, Heatley and Josi continue to refuse to play defense and will be kept in the minors again this year.
On a positive note, four rookies drafted this year will debut this year (Jenner, Nieto, Jarnkrok, Murphy) as will three rookies drafted in earlier years (Johnson, Kassian, Palmieri), along with free agent Tanev and traded for Gilbert. Also, Luongo returns to #2 goalie behind Bishop and Laich is back for a few games after missing last year.
All in all, we are not as strong as last year, but we’re much younger and if a few youngsters develop, we will win more than we lose for a few years, if not this year. So bring it on!