2014-15 could be one to remember
“Just wait till next year.”
Since 1970, that phrase has been the rallying cry of Canucks fans. But that phrase has perhaps never been truer than this season.
Mired with a team that is competitive but not elite, the Canucks are good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to make a whole lot of noise.
I’d say the writing was on the wall when Vancouver refused to keep any of their young talent even for a seven game test drive at the start of the season. One of Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk or even Brendan Gaunce should have been given at least a short look.
Was it really necessary for Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh to be on the Canucks roster from the start of the season? They’ve done nothing and John Tortorella has seemingly no faith in either guy. Young guys producing on entry level contracts are a must for any team in the salary cap era.
Every Cup winner since the 2005 lockout has had significant contributions from entry level guys and if the Canucks want to succeed they need that same sort of production.
But that won’t happen this year.
And really, this year was kind of a write off from the get go. New coach, new system and adjustments have had to be made in almost every area. Add in the fact that the Canucks have been slotted into the ultra-competitive Pacific division and it’s a recipe for an off season.
Another factor was the team’s refusal to buy out David Booth’s gaudy $4.5 million contract to create some space for someone who can actually score.
That all changes next season – Booth is off the books, the Sharks will look completely different and the Pacific division could be a whole lot more wide open.
And with the increase of the salary cap to $71 million, it means more money and more room for the Canucks to add a forward or two to their roster.
Next year is also a year the San Jose Sharks have a lot of big decisions to make. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle all have expiring contracts this summer and it’s unlikely that all three guys will be back.
The Ducks also have half of their forwards with expiring deals so the Pacific will look very different next season.
I don’t see Kassian getting that much of a raise but Tanev could be a different story. Regardless, there is still more than enough money on the table for Vancouver to sign a top forward.
Some of the targets for next year could be guys like Marian Gaborik, Tomas Vanek, Mike Cammalleri, Paul Statsny and the aforementioned Thornton and Marleau.
Adding in a forward with some scoring touch, combined with some youthful energy to fill out the rest of the forward corps could be a recipe for greatness next season.
Canucks fans just need to patient, take their lumps this year and try to stay awake for some of the dull contests we’ve been exposed to so far this season.
Good things come to those who wait and that might be as soon as next year for the Canucks.