The Vancouver Canucks have an outstanding group of talented youth and their future is bright.
When “he” burst onto the scene, fans in Vancouver had little faith in the drafting and talent acquisition of Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and the rest of the Management’s ability to create a winning team. After all they had seen the very best era of Canucks hockey, only to see the very same team disintegrate before their very eyes. And Canucks fans aren’t stupid. Sure they can be a little childish and entitled (this is the Left, sorry West Coast after all) but they do know hockey. Don’t fool yourself and think otherwise.
The Brock Star (Sorry Boston Red Sox Fans)
Then “he” came along. Don’t get me wrong, Elias Pettersson is a generational talent, but it all started with Brock Boeser. Drafted at 23rd overall in 2015, during his NCAA career, he could score. It translated to the NHL in 2017-18. Most know the stories of his character, how upstanding he is, and if you haven’t look at who he went to prom after she asked. This is as solid a person you will ever meet.
Brock Boeser represented the beginning of the new era in Vancouver. His performance at the all-star game last season was legendary and it is unfortunate his freak injury prevented him from finishing the season. While the Calder was Mathew Barzal’s to lose, it would’ve been interesting race had Boeser hit his projected 42 goals.
Benning Working The Phones
But, Benning and team made a trade at the 2017 deadline, that transformed the belief and expectation from the fans in the team. Boeser was in the system, and the fans eagerly awaited his arrival. Olli Juolevi, while criticized greatly by some, could still be a genuine NHL defenseman.
But that all changed when they acquired Jonathan Dahlen and a pick from Ottawa for Alexandre Burrows. Vancouver’s farm system has something cooking. Legit NHL prospect talent. Potential scoring that you need. A promising core to build around.
Here Comes Gretzky 2.0?
Then they drafted Pettersson, who admittedly, I was not mad at the pick, I just knew more about Cody Glass. Every fan in Vancouver is glad they were wrong, as it seemed like most Canucks fans wanted the team to select Glass.
I watched Pettersson in person at the prospects summer game in 2017. I was convinced at that game, right there and then, he was generational. (I have the documentation to prove it, workmates holding me accountable to my words). His performance in the Swedish Elite League made us all salivate. Juolevi was improving, Lind was drafted, etc…
The rest is, as we say, history. But it is worth going over again, because the Canucks system, while littered with potential, still needs something the fans know. They saw this in 1999 with the drafting of the Sedins (Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin) and the maturity of the West Coast Express. The fans know the Canucks have to have these prospects and talent pay out. The fans know this. Canucks fans cab now watch with bated breath.
And this article is more about the fans who watch this team. Other teams fans like to think the Canucks fans know nothing about hockey. The apathy is there because the fans aren’t dumb. This is why this article is so appropriate.
Canucks fans have a lot to look forward to. Their front office has done an impeccable job in landing top talent including Boeser, Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and the list goes on and on.
Vancouver fans are being repaid for their loyalty. They’re being repaid for their faith in players. And when Trevor Linden wanted to take the old school, play Pettersson in the minors for 2 years approach, the NHL had changed. The fans knew this. Kids from the age of 18 to 22 were having significant impacts on their teams. They were taking mediocre teams and making them contenders. Now, the fans in Vancouver can see this happening on the west coast.
The fans aren’t dumb.
stats from Hockey-Reference
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals