Price is Right: Will new-look fourth line give Canucks what they need?
Let’s make no mistake about it, the Canucks will ultimately be judged, rightly so, by what the difference makers do.
Elias Pettersson wants a better start, J.T. Miller will look to justify the extension. Perhaps Bo Horvat as well. And Andrei Kuzmenko will try and show he belongs in the NHL, and on and on it goes.
But it’s also going to be interesting to see what the bottom-six, and even what the fourth line in particular provides.
With none of the fourth line returning from last season, and Alex Chiasson now a Coyote as well, the bottom of the forward set will have some scrutiny. Outside of Mikheyev and Kuzmenko, it’s the only true stamp the incoming regime has put on the team so far.
By quantity, the fourth line is the biggest stamp on the team. Curtis Lazar, Dakota Joshua, and perhaps even guys like Nils Åman and Linus Karlsson could be the extra sugar that helps get the team over the top.
new #Canucks Lazar: ‘I won’t be running my mouth out there. I’ll let my actions speak for themselves. But no one is getting a free pass when I’m on the ice’
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) July 13, 2022
We saw how much better the team did when that fourth line last year found its identity.
A fourth line will only add so much, but it certainly can’t take away from a team. And it can’t even really be wasted time. Whether it’s on special teams, with a PK that could do with some help, winning faceoffs, which could use a bump as well. Whatever.
Let’s see if this new group can be a part of the solution, and not a problem that continues to need solving all season long.