My Vision for the Next Five Canuck Seasons

With all the pessimism permeating the fanbase lately, there’s been an enormous amount of discussion about the team’s future. I thought this would be a great time to put into words my own vision of the team’s future, and more specifically, how I see the team performing and developing over the next five seasons. At the end, I’ll take a look at what the ages of some key players will be once the process is complete.

My reasons for believing in this overall “plan” have already been detailed, in some previous posts of mine, so I won’t go into detail on those again. Anyone interested can read more on my blog, and I specifically recommend these two links:

https://hockeytalkie.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/an-investigation-into-the-efficacy-of-full-rebuilds-using-the-blackhawks-kings-penguins-and-lightning-as-case-studies/

https://hockeytalkie.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/jim-benning-and-the-plan-a-full-assessment-of-his-performance-thus-far/

 

Something not mentioned in the above, that I want to mention now, is that a true rebuilding process demands not just one or two years of good drafting, but many. This is because a rebuilding team needs to acquire talent in later rounds, which always takes awhile to develop, and needs young talent to still be entering the lineup as the team becomes competitive to help with cap flexibility.

 

First and foremost, I’ve said before that I consider the Canucks to be a likely lottery team for 2016/17, and that looks to be true, so far. Overall, I predicted three lottery seasons throughout the youth movement/retool/rebuild/insert trendy label here, and that should include last season, this season, and one more.

 

2013/14 and 2014/15 Seasons: Last ditch attempts to compete with a Sedin-led core, which were ultimately unsuccessful.

2015/16 Season: Lottery finish, but an unfortunate bump-back in draft order due to Canuck luck.

2016/17 Season: Shaping up to be another lottery finish, though hopefully with better fortune with the actual lottery. The team should gain multiple promising prospects from the 2017 draft, including one high pick.

2017/18 Season: Another lottery finish, but probably not bottom three. Brock Boeser should join the team, and Olli Juolevi might, too. There is also a chance the team’s 2017 top draft pick makes the immediate leap to the NHL.

2018/19 Season: The first signs of competitiveness. The team should flirt with the playoffs at this point. They will have added and hopefully integrated draft picks from at least two lottery seasons. The Sedins’ contracts will also end before this season, allowing for a huge amount of roster flexibility. Sbisa’s contract ends, too. Again, the team should be continuing to inject youth into the lineup as players like Thatcher Demko, Adam Gaudette, and later 2016 and 2017 draft picks start making more frequent appearances. Several key players will be entering or in the midst of their primes.

Player Ages at This Point:

The Sedins: 38

Bo Horvat: 23

Loui Eriksson: 33

Brandon Sutter: 29

Sven Baertschi: 26

Markus Granlund: 25

Jake Virtanen: 22

Brendan Gaunce: 24

Brock Boeser: 21

Adam Gaudette: 22

 

Chris Tanev: 29

Troy Stecher: 24

Ben Hutton: 25

Alex Edler: 32

Erik Gudbranson: 26

Nikita Tryamkin: 24

Jordan Subban: 23

Olli Juolevi: 20

Guillaume Brisebois: 21

 

Jacob Markstrom: 28

Thatcher Demko: 23

 

2017 Draftees: 19/20

2018 Draftees: 18/19

 

2019/20 Season: Perhaps a setback year of sorts, which are common among developing teams. If the team made the playoffs in the previous year, perhaps they’ll narrowly miss. Derek Dorsett and Alex Edler’s contracts will be up, allowing for plenty of room to re-sign Ben Hutton after his bridge deal expires. If the team continues to draft well, there will be ample replacements for whoever the team lets go.

2020/21 Season: If the youth movement was successful, the team should be competitive for quite a few seasons from this point forward. From here on out, Stanley Cup contention should not be a pipedream, but a legitimate discussion each year. The talent acquired in the lottery seasons should be entering their primes right around here, and current youth like Horvat and Stecher will still be in the midst of theirs. If top flight talent was picked up in each year, and a few gems were found in later rounds, the team should be in very good shape, and still have cap comfort.

Player Ages at This Point:

Bo Horvat: 25

Loui Eriksson: 35

Brandon Sutter: 31

Sven Baertschi: 28

Markus Granlund: 27

Jake Virtanen: 24

Brendan Gaunce: 26

Brock Boeser: 23

Adam Gaudette: 24

 

Chris Tanev: 31

Troy Stecher: 26

Ben Hutton: 27

Erik Gudbranson: 28

Nikita Tryamkin: 26

Jordan Subban: 25

Olli Juolevi: 22

Guillaume Brisebois: 23

 

Jacob Markstrom: 30

Thatcher Demko: 25

 

2017 Draftees: 21/22

2018 Draftees: 20/21

2019 Draftees: 19/20

2020 Draftees: 18/19

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