It’s the holidays, and most people are looking for any good cheer they can get, so let’s take some time to celebrate all the good that has come from this Canuck season. There have been some lows, sure, but forget about that for now. Like an elementary school civics lesson, we’re going to try to say something nice about every single Canuck!
Henrik Sedin- With just eight more points, Henrik Sedin will become the first player to ever hit 1000 points while wearing a Canuck jersey, further solidifying himself as the great Canuck of all time.
Daniel Sedin- Daniel is a little further off than brother Henrik from 1000 points, due to injuries, and he might not make it there this season. Even if he doesn’t, he and his brother are very likely to pass Henri and Maurice Richard as the second highest scoring pair of siblings in NHL history.
Jannik Hansen- Hansen’s injuries have been a bummer, but when he’s been in the lineup his production has maintained a steady clip, which wasn’t exactly expected. Hansen is also a hero for fighting Nazem Kadri with broken ribs.
Loui Eriksson- Eriksson’s improved production of late is reason enough for positivity, but I’d like to highlight his own goal on opening night. What better way to establish that he truly belongs on the hard-luck Canucks?
Bo Horvat- Horvat was once described as a “safe” draft pick. This season, he established himself as the best player on the team and raised serious questions about his potential as a first line center. He’s come quite a long way.
Sven Baertschi- After an extremely cold start, Baertschi has basically been a point-per-game player since. If he can maintain the pace, Horvat won’t be the only one whose top line potential is being discussed.
Alex Burrows- Burrows was nearly bought out this summer, but this season he’s re-established himself as a valuable NHL player. Burrows might even be looking at an extension in the summer if he’s not dealt at the deadline.
Brandon Sutter- Sutter is on pace to have the best production of his career, and may hit 50 points, which makes for a nice bounceback from last year’s injury-plagued season. Has improved in the faceoff circle.
Markus Granlund- After his trade to the Canucks was widely lambasted, Granlund has established himself as a solid NHL player, unlike the player he was dealt for. Granlund is set to surpass all of his career highs, and was even outscoring his more-famous brother for awhile.
Brendan Gaunce- Gaunce has quietly stepped into the NHL lineup without looking too out of place. Plays an efficient game that doesn’t get a lot of notice, but also doesn’t cause any problems for his team.
Derek Dorsett- Dorsett was playing perhaps his best hockey as a Canuck before being injured. It sounds as though he’s getting relief for a chronic injury right now, so that’s a major positive for him.
Jack Skille- Skille might have thought he was out of chances at the NHL level, but injuries have allowed him to have a nearly constant presence in the lineup. Occasionally shows off the skills that made him such a high draft pick.
Michael Chaput- Chaput was expected to spend most of the season in the AHL, but he’s only ten games away from hitting his career best in NHL games played for a season. Only needs two more points to hit another personal best.
Jayson Megna- Megna played his way into being the Canucks’ top winger call-up, and injuries have since given him a solid shot at NHL time. His two goal performance was an obvious highlight.
Jake Virtanen- Fans wanted Virtanen to go down to Utica and dominate, and he eventually went on quite a goal-scoring tear. While he has since cooled off a bit, Virtanen has maintained a good attitude and is gaining confidence at that level.
Joe LaBate- Big Joe LaBate was once thought an NHL long-shot, but he has already played his first NHL game in only his third pro season. Continues to physically dominate on the farm.
Anton Rodin- Rodin tore it up in the preseason, and managed to rehab himself back into the lineup after yet another injury setback. Should be fresh for the post-holiday portion of the season.
Mike Zalewski- Zalewski was a long-shot to even get an NHL contract, so being an occasional call-up is a great achievement for him. Chaput’s time in the NHL has meant more time for Zalewski.
Chris Tanev- Tanev is a steadying presence on the blueline, and the constant trade rumours from other markets shows how valued he is around the league. His injuries have also allowed for greater opportunity for younger players.
Alex Edler- Edler, before his injury, was showing a willingness to hit and to shoot that had been missing in his game during recent seasons. His back issues appear to be behind him (no pun intended).
Troy Stecher- Do I really need to say anything positive about Stecher? Is there anything negative about him? NCAA free agents are hit or miss, but to have one step directly into the lineup and contribute like Stecher has is nearly unprecedented.
Ben Hutton- Hutton experienced a bit of a sophomore slump to start the season, but he never let it get him down. Easily the cheeriest player on the Canucks, and fans appreciate it.
Erik Gudbranson- Gudbranson proved his importance to the team during the Toronto debacle, protecting his team’s honour against the very intimidating Matt Martin. Seems like a Grade-A teammate.
Luca Sbisa- Sbisa got the fans and advanced stats fanatics off his back this season with a bit of a bounceback performance and solid underlying stats. He’s clicked with Troy Stecher of late.
Nikita Tryamkin- Tryamkin was criticized for showing up at camp out of shape, but he practiced his way back into shape and thus impressed his coaches. Once he entered the lineup, he never left.
Alex Biega- Biega was a depressing sight in the pressbox every night, but one has to remember he’s making an NHL paycheque to do so. Still, it has been nice to see Biega finally get some action and put his bulldog-like nature on display once again.
Philip Larsen- Larsen did show a solid ability to get shots on the net during the powerplay, which had been a problem for the Canucks. Is recovering well from a brutal concussion.
Ryan Miller- Miller has played well enough behind a less-than-experienced defense to maintain his role as the de facto starter. Miller has also put in a good enough performance to draw interest from other teams for a deadline deal. Proved himself a hero by defending Stecher against Matt Martin.
Jacob Markstrom- Markstrom also proved himself a hero by shielding the unconscious Philip Larsen’s body from stampeding players, and also by blocking the douchebag trying to take a picture of the scene.
BONUS: Willie Desjardins- Desjardins is an embattled coach on the hotseat, but he deserves credit for a number of things. First and foremost is the fact that under his coaching, Horvat, Baertschi, Hutton, Granlund, and Stecher have all entered the NHL lineup and thrived with little to no previous NHL experience. Something about Willie’s coaching style makes for a smoother transition into the NHL for young players, and the organization is reaping the rewards of that already.