Henrik Sedin thinks he and Daniel will have another chance to win a Stanley Cup in Vancouver so you might want to start planning your playoff parties (if you’re really really slow at planning playoff parties).
“They (the Sedins) know there’s going to be a couple of rough years,” said Lindquist, but the twins believe their chance may come the following year.
Lindquist added that if the Sedins have it their way, they’ll stay in Vancouver until the end of their current contracts and possibly beyond, and they’d accept being in more of a supporting role rather than leading the team, “If they have a chance to win. That’s important to them.”
So while Hank’s outlook isn’t overly optimistic for the next two seasons, it’s somewhat exciting to hear him say (through a Swedish reporter) that the team could be elite again within three years.
With the promising crop of nearly-NHL-ready prospects the Canucks have, you can’t rule out his prediction. But even if all goes to plan, the Canucks have one glaring need that must be filled if they want to contend.
They need a stud defenseman.
Every elite team has one: that big, offensive threat who eats up massive minutes and shuts down the opposition’s top players.
One look at the list of the best defencemen on the Stanley Cup winners over the last eight years should prove this (from most recent): Keith, Doughty, Keith, Doughty, Chara, Keith, Letang, Lidstrom.
As for everything else going to plan? Granted, we have to assume…
- One of Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko turns into an excellent starting goalie
- At least two of Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Jared McCann, Hunter Shinkaruk and Brendan Gaunce will join Bo Horvat and turn into star forwards, with the rest filling in as the supporting cast.
- Frankie Corrado and Adam Clendening develop into solid top-4 defencemen, and Luca Sbisa can become more reliable as a 5 or 6 at least (don’t worry, this last part isn’t completely necessary, and it’s also less likely to happen than Florida having a sold out hockey game).
To be clear – if you pray really hard and all these things fall into place, the Canucks will still have that glaring gap on defence.
While it’s perplexing to some that they weren’t in on the Dougie Hamilton talks at the draft, and they haven’t even thought of chasing Cody Franson in free agency, perhaps fans should give Benning some time. After all, the Canucks are not even close to their “window” right now.
They don’t have the cap space and there’s no pressing need. But if you’re a Canucks fan, you have to hope he switches priorities over the next two years.
If there’s a Hamilton available at the trade deadline or draft, or a Franson available at free agency next year, Benning has to prioritize getting him over chasing his own past relationships – in reference to last year’s Ryan Miller deal, and the potential of acquiring Milan Lucic next summer.
And if he manages that – forget playoff parties, let’s get going on that parade route.