Steve L – Writer / Hoops / BC Lions
Canucks 2011/12 MVP: H. Sedin
Canucks Goalie with the best GAA? Luongo
Best +/- on the team? Bieksa
Canucks leading goal scorer will be? Daniel Sedin
Leading team in points? Daniel Sedin
Lead team in assists? Henrik Sedin
Best defenceman award goes to? K. Bieksa (Pts – A. Edler)
Canucks will win the Presidents Cup? No, Washington will take top spot with 113pts, Chicago will take top spot in the West with 112, Vancouver will come 3rd
How many points will the Canucks finish with in 2011/12 season? 110
How many wins will the Canucks finish with? 50 fatigue from Stanely Cup run will drop them off from last year
Will the Canucks win the Northwest division? Yes
Will they have a winning record vs. Chicago? No, it will be a 2-2 split with one home one road victory each.
Will they have a winning record vs. Calgary? Yes, 5-3
Will they have a winning record vs. Edmonton? Yes, 6-2
Will Mason Raymond play before Xmas? Yes/No? Yes
Will Ryan Kesler will play before Xmas? Yes/ no? Yes
Will Luongo be on the team come playoff time? Yes, they should have tried to move that contract in the offseason if they were going to move it at all.
Cody Hodgson be on team come playoff time? No, he will be traded by the deadline
Twin with more points? Daniel/Hank? Daniel
How many games will Schneider play this year? 30
Will Coach V be the Canucks Coach at the end of the regular season? Yes
With injuries to Kesler and Raymond, combined with the Stanley Cup fatigue, the Canucks, who behind Luongo traditionally have a slow start, will once again stagger through the first few weeks of the season. Thankfully, the pink slip that was handed to David Pratt (TEAM 1040 and unrealistic Canucks enthusist) will allow fans in Vancouver to come to grips with reality on the drive home, a reality that is, while the Canucks are one of the elite teams in the NHL, they will have their early season struggles. However right around mid Movember when the team grows their “staches” and Kesler and Raymond return, the finely tuned machine that is, will once again start firing on all cylinders.
Memories, good and bad, of the season that was, still linger in the minds of fans and players alike and with that being said, the club knows exactly what it takes to get the job done, falling steps short of the mountain top last year. Working in favor for the Canucks this season are three factors: 1) If Luongo struggles, Schneider proved last season that he is ready, willing and able to carry the starters load, 2) The defensive depth took a slight hit with the loss of Erhoff, but looks to be a solid core with the growth of Tanev and Rome. Look for Edler to step forth as the leader on the blueline, 3) AV – Big Al has proved that he can lead his team to regular season success, but has failed to step up to the plate in the playoffs (aside from last year of course). Pressure will once again fall on the bench boss to make sure that his club is ready this time around, or he may be joining Pratt on the golf course!
When all is said and done, the Canucks will once again find themselves amongst the top four teams come June, along with Chicago, Washington and Philly (sorry Beantown, no repeat for you!). As the old sports theory goes, in order to reach the top, you must first learn to battle the elements and experience failure. Word of warning VPD, there is a good chance that there will be another need for reinforcements, however this time around it will be to help line the parade route as the Canucks celebrate a long awaited Stanley Cup championship with a six game victory over the Capitals.
Kevin V – Writer / Victoria & Vancouver Sports
Canucks 2011/12 MVP: Ryan Kesler
Canucks Goalie with the best GAA: Roberto Luongo
Best +/- on the team: Daniel
Canucks leading goal scorer will be: Daniel Sedin
Leading team in points: Daniel Sedin
Lead team in assists: Henrik Sedin
Best defenceman award goes to: Alex Edler
Despite likely starting the season after the rest of his teammates, one man army Ryan Kesler will return to fine form to become the Canucks MVP in 2011. Along with Kesler, the Sedin twins will return to regular season form once again providing the bulk of point production in Vancouver. Following a Norris-nomination worthy body of work in 2011, Alex Edler will also pick up where he left off last season as the Canucks’ top blueliner.
Canucks will win the President’s TROPHY: No, close 2nd.
How many points will the Canucks finish with in 2011/12 season? 105
How many wins will the Canucks finish with: 50
Will the Canucks win the Northwest division: Is the Pope Catholic?
Will they have a winning record vs. Chicago: No, Chicago has the mental edge.
Will they have a winning record vs. Calgary: Yes
Will they have a winning record vs. Edmonton: Yes
Not many surprised at the team level, either. The NHL elite will be coming for the Canucks this season and following a slow off-season in Vancouver the competition has a very good change to take back the President’s Trophy. Within the division however, the Canucks remain head-and-shoulders above the competition, relatively weak opponents in Edmonton and Calgary will once again help the Canucks reach 50 wins, just barely.
Will Mason Raymond play before Xmas? Yes.
Will Ryan Kesler will play before Xmas? Yes, barring setback.
Will Luongo be on the team come playoff time? It kills me to even answer this, yes of course he will be.
Will Cody Hodgson be on team come playoff time? With top 4 centers already, I can’t see it- Canucks will sell high.
Twin with more points? Daniel
How many games will Schneider play this year? 35 GP, not all necessarily with the Canucks.
Will Coach V be the Canucks Coach at the end of the regular season? Absolutely.
Injuries to Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler will take time to heal but the Canucks should be back up to a fully functional top-six by Christmas. The two may not be in mid-season form at first; however the speed and presence of both Raymond and Kesler are important to second line success this season. With names like Sedin, Kesler, Malhotra and Lapierre above him on the depth chart, center Cody Hodgson must adapt in order to find himself a role on the Canucks in 2012.
Despite a solid showing so far in Canucks training camp, Hodgson is a likely trade candidate along with fellow prospect Cory Schneider who is becoming more and more valuable to prospective teams and less-so with the Canucks. Behind Roberto Luongo and with another young goaltending prospect not far behind in Eddie Lack, the Canucks have a keeper to spare. Roberto Luongo and Alain Vigneault are both under-rated and highly criticized within their own fan base, however the two aren’t headed anywhere anytime this season.