The 2021-2022 NHL season is less than a month away and the Vancouver Canucks are looking to bounce back in a big way. After a less than ideal finish last season. Luckily for the Canucks and their fans things will be back to normal. The Pacific Division is back, along with an 82 game season. What does this long-awaited 82 game season hold for Vancouver? Let’s dive into some bold predictions.
Young Guns Locked Up
Young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will get deals done before the season starts. The question however is, what will the deals look like? Many believe they will be bridge deals or at least one of the two will. However, the bold prediction is neither will. General manager Jim Benning will in fact lock up Hughes and Pettersson for years to come. Both will receive six-season plus contracts before the puck drops on October 13th against the Edmonton Oilers.
Canucks Take Over Beijing
The NHL has officially announced NHL players will be heading to Beijing in February for the Olympics. Luckily for Canucks fans well the NHL is on break for the Olympics they will have plenty of Canucks players to watch. The games will be loaded with Canucks players. Starting with Team USA, J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, and Thatcher Demko are locks, Quinn Hughes has a strong chance to work his way onto their defensive core and newly acquired Conor Garland may also find his way onto the team.
For team Sweden Elias Pettersson is the biggest lock to make an Olympic roster, while Nils Hoglander and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also have legitimate chances of wearing the three crowns. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak will undoubtedly be a part of the Slovakians team and most likely be their starting goaltender. Other players Canucks fans may see take the ice in Beijing are Canadian Bo Horvat, Russian Vasily Podkolzin, Finland’s Olli Juolevi, and Latvia’s Arturs Silovs. In 2014 the Canucks sent six players, in 2022 they could be sending up to 13.
Brock Boeser’s Year
Brock Boeser is yet to play a full 82 game season in his four NHL seasons. 2021-2022 will be his first. In four seasons Boeser has yet to hit the 30 goal mark. As long as Pettersson and Boeser stay healthy Boeser will have no troubles reaching the 30 goal mark. We’ll take it a step forward Boeser will have a career year scoring 40 goals while also notching 30 assists. In the 2021-2022 season, Brock Boeser will feast on goalies.
Sin Bin’s New Bestfriend
Last season Defenceman Alexander Edler led the Canucks in penalty minutes with 58, he also lead the team the previous year with 62. This season Edler will not be the team’s leader as he is a King, so who will take his place? The answer is Zack MacEwen. MacEwen is not guaranteed an everyday spot, but the young spark plug also seems to find his way into the lineup. He doesn’t score much a throws his fists around and will not back down. Finishing last season with 44 penalty minutes in 34 games MacEwen will blow those numbers out of the water giving the chance to energize his teammates.
The Calder Trophy Is Back
The Canucks had a nice three-year stretch of Calder Trophy finalists with Boeser, Pettersson, and Hughes but after a short one-season hiatus Calder talks will be back in Vancouver. 2019 10th overall selection Vasily Podkolzin will finally be making the jump from Russia to North America. This past season Podkolzin played 16 playoff games with SKA Saint Petersburg scoring six goals while adding five assists. Podkolzin will likely start the season alongside Hoglander and Jason Dickinson on the third line, with the potential of moving up and playing alongside captain Bo Horvat.
“He looks great. Obviously, it’s still early, but he’s got lots of skill. He skates really well, and I can’t wait to see him in game situations.” – Bo Horvat on Vasily Podkolzin #Canucks @Sportsnet650
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) September 8, 2021
The Pacific Division is not overpowered by any means, but this season it will still be Vegas’ to lose. Although the top three teams from each division make the playoffs and even with Vegas their are still two spots in the Pacific, plus two Western Conference wild-card spots. Count out the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific leaving the last two spots as a battle between the Canucks, Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Seattle Kraken. Luckily the Kraken is not Vegas. With two spots and three teams left.
Edmonton still doesn’t have strong goaltending or defense on their roster and Calgary is full of the washed-up Canucks players, odds are high Vancouver finds themselves back in the playoffs. The Canucks will be a playoff team and if they can ride high this season they will be the team playing spoiler in June. The season can’t come fast enough. The new and improved Canucks will be out to make a statement this season in the NHL and at the Olympics.
Boeser will be chasing 40, Podkolzin will bring home the Calder, Hughes and Pettersson will get their long-term deals, the Canucks will find themselves playing after the regular season, and the Olympics will be full of Canucks. Watch out NHL the boys are back.
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