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NWSportsBeat.com’s 2011/2012 Vancouver Canucks Season Staff Predictions

Nucks Projections – NWSB Blogger Picks

Looking for a website with different opinions on how the Vancouver Canucks are going to do in 2011/12? We’ve got your back.

I polled my Vancouver sports beat writers this week, and asked them to fill out a questionaire for me. Below, I’ll provide you with their Canucks projections and our blogger staff picks.

With this being the first season of Canucks coverage for us at NWSportsBeat.com, I thought this was only the proper thing to do.

Any comments from our audience please respond below, or shoot me a TWEET.

NWSPORTSBEAT.COM VANCOUVER STAFF SEASON PREDICTIONS

Q – Senior Editor / NorthWest Sports

Canucks 2011/12 MVP: Ryan Kesler
Canucks Goalie with the best GAA? Corey Schneider
Best +/- on the team? Kevin 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?  Kevin Bieksa

TEAM PROPS

Canucks will win the Presidents Cup? No
How many points will the Canucks finish with in 2011/12 season? 100
How many wins will the Canucks finish with? 47
Will the Canucks win the Northwest division?  Yes
Will they have a winning record vs. Chicago?  NO
Will they have a winning record vs. Calgary?  Yes
Will they have a winning record vs. Edmonton?  Yes

PLAYER PROPS

Will Mason Raymond play before Xmas? Yes/No? No
Will Ryan Kesler will play before Xmas? Yes/ no? Yes
Will Luongo be on the team come playoff time? Yes
Will Cody Hodgson be on team come playoff time? Yes
Twin with more points? Daniel/Hank? Daniel
How many games will Schneider play this year? 35
Will Coach V be the Canucks Coach at the end of the regular season? Yes

By nature I’m a glass is half empty kind of Canucks honk. Always have been.

How can you not be if you’ve been a fan since the 70′s like I have. I’m 38, I’ve suffered a ton! It’s just human nature with this team.

I for one think that last year taught this team a valuable lesson however. They came within one game of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup. I don’t know if they lost to the better team? But they lost to the team that wanted it more.

Now in 2011, this years version of the Canucks will want it more. Losing taught them a valuable lesson. I think this team makes a return to the Cup final, but the season won’t be easy.

Injuries to Kesler, Raymond, Luongo at some point (prediction), a Sedin (another prediction), and the inevitable injuries to a slew of our defense corp will lower the expectations of this team in March and April, but they’ll bond come playoff time, and take the North west Canuck fans on another LONG playoff ride.

I can only hope, NOT predict, that they get it done in fashion this time, and that we don’t end up with another riot in the streets of Vancouver, but a Stanley Cup winning parade.

Charles M  – Writer / Canucks / Whitecaps

Canucks 2011/12 MVP: Roberto Luongo. Daniel Sedin
Canucks Goalie with the best GAA? Corey Schneider
Best +/- on the team? Dan Hamhuis
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? Dan Hamhuis

TEAM PROPS

Canucks will win the Presidents Cup? No
How many points will the Canucks finish with in 2011/12 season? 106
How many wins will the Canucks finish with? 48
Will the Canucks win the Northwest division? Yes
Will they have a winning record vs. Chicago? No
Will they have a winning record vs. Calgary? Yes
Will they have a winning record vs. Edmonton? Yes

PLAYER PROPS

Will Mason Raymond play before Xmas? Yes/No? No
Will Ryan Kesler will play before Xmas? Yes/ no? Yes (dear Lord please!)
Will Luongo be on the team come playoff time? Yes
Will Cody Hodgson be on team come playoff time? Yes
Twin with more points? Daniel/Hank? Daniel
How many games will Schneider play this year? 32.5
Will Coach V be the Canucks Coach at the end of the regular season? Yes

As much as teams talk about being aware of letdowns, following such emotionally charged experiences as last year’s Stanley Cup run, and preparing themselves to avoid them, it is inevitable that the Canucks will drop points this season.

NWSB 2011 Staff Predictions - Vancouver Canucks

In fact, with the intriguing pre-season game lineups that Vigneault has picked this year, it is obvious that he is taking a cautious approach to better manage rest times for his key players. It is a wise move and though it will surely lead to dropped points, particularly early on, it will reap dividends as the team gears up for the stretch run.

In recent years, only the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings (in the same two years of 2008 & 2009) have managed back to back Stanley Cup appearances. Not since the Dallas Stars of 1999 & 2000, had this happened. Previously, the league had a long history of repeat visits to the championship round. Vigneault’s tactics of caution, coupled with the absences through injury of Kesler & Raymond will portend some indifferent results early, but will prove to be a blessing in disguise, and I believe that the Canucks will return to the finals, but further adjustments will need to be made.

First of all, the Sedins will need to stand up for themselves more. This is not to say that the twins should be out there throwing haymakers, as if such a thing were ever possible no matter how hilarious, but Daniel can not allow himself to be ragdolled as he did by Marchand. A push back here or there and the occasional hard check would be enough let teams know that they are not to be trifled with. However, Gillis willalso need to summon up all his creativity and acumen to find that skilled, tough veteran player that could command the respect and attention of other teams to allow the Sedins to concentrate on creating offence. Vigneault should also spend some time developing ways to get to the net. It was simply painful watching Games 6 & 7 against the Bruins as the Canucks kept trying to skate their way in to the front, cycling the puck without establishing control of the zone. With Kesler out for now, it will additionally be key to find some extra candidates to supply secondary scoring among the forwards.

Finally, look for Alex Edler to extablish himself as a monster player. This will be the year he puts all of his prodigious talents together and leads the team to the title.

Matt Larkin – Senior Writer / NorthWest Sports

Canucks 2011/12 MVP: Roberto Luongo. Darkhorse pick but I think a lightened workload will help him play better.
Canucks Goalie with the best GAA? Corey Schneider
Best +/- on the team? Alex Edler
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

TEAM PROPS

Canucks will win the Presidents Cup? No.
How many points will the Canucks finish with in 2011/12 season? 104
How many wins will the Canucks finish with?48
Will the Canucks win the Northwest division? Yes, by a mile.
Will they have a winning record vs. Chicago? Yes.
Will they have a winning record vs. Calgary? Even split.
Will they have a winning record vs. Edmonton? Yes.

PLAYER PROPS

Will Mason Raymond play before Xmas? Yes/No? No — too much time needed for scary back injury recovery
Will Ryan Kesler will play before Xmas? Yes/ no? Yes — he’ll play by November
Will Luongo be on the team come playoff time? Yes.
Will Cody Hodgson be on team come playoff time? Yes and playing a pivotal role.
Twin with more points? Daniel/Hank? Daniel.
How many games will Schneider play this year? 25
Will Coach V be the Canucks Coach at the end of the regular season? Yes.

The Canucks absolutely have a good shot to reach the Stanley Cup Final again this year. Almost all the personnel from the Presidents’ Trophy-winning team returns. The Northwest Division also looks like he could be the weakest division in hockey, so Vancouver may win it with its eyes closed.

The Canucks should see a few breakouts this year, too. Because of injuries, Cody Hodgson will finally get his shot at regular playing time and will flourish. He’ll be a top-six forward this season and a Calder Trophy candidate. Cory Schneider will also play more. Some Canucks fans are going overboard predicting a full-fledged goaltending controversy. That won’t happen until next season. This year, I expect Schneider to spell Luongo more than a typical backup, playing maybe 25 games, but I believe the extra rest will make Luongo better than ever.

Still, a few obstacles could hurt the Canucks. They’ll start the season without Ryan Kesler and won’t have him for at least a month; Mason Raymond is also out long-term. Vancouver may start slowly.

In the end, I do expect the Canucks to contend for the Cup again, but I see the Los Angeles Kings beating them in a hard-fought conference final.

More…

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About Q S

I.Am.Q. Managing Editor at NWSB. Beautiful Victoria B.C. is home! Blogger, Twitterholic, Father, Husband (To A Kansas Girl), Northwest Sports Junkie, Proud member of the Seahawks 12th man since 1977! Card-Carrying Member of the Mack Strong #38 Fan Club! Die hard Canucks, Mariners, & Huskies fan. I don't like OKC, I miss the Sonics! Connect w/ me today!
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