The Vancouver Canucks biggest move of the off-season was simply re-signing two of their own talents in Daniel and Henrik Sedin. It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for GM Mike Gillis to replace the twins scoring prowess had they left as free agents.
Fitting on the top line with winger Alex Burrows, the trio forms the top-half of the Canucks top-six forwards. Veteran winger Pavol Demitra, who scored 53 points in his first season in Vancouver last year, returns this year as well as centre Ryan Kesler and a former member of the Red Wings, Mikael Samuelsson. The Canucks third line, expected to feature Mason Raymond, Kyle Wellwood, and Steve Bernier, is not a typical checking line in that it lacks size, but it does provide the Canucks with scoring depth.
After joining the Canucks in December, Mats Sundin struggled to find his stride. The long time Maple Leaf battled groin injuries throughout the season, but he did score a respectable 28 points in 41 games (plus eight points in the playoffs).
Cody Hodgson will come to training camp and will earn a spot with the club, possibly in a top-six position. Hodgson, 19, was phenomenal at last year’s world juniors, finishing first in scoring, while scoring 92 points last year with Brampton (OHL).
Vancouver did not re-sign Mattias Ohlund, but did add Mathieu Schneider, who will certainly improve the power play. Defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich were also acquired in a trade from San Jose. Willie Mitchell, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa, and Alex Edler round out the Canucks blue-line.
Any postseason success depends on goaltender Roberto Luongo, while Andrew Raycroft was added as a cheap backup.
A slow start to the season could spell the end for head coach Alain Vigneault.
For more season previews, check out www.corywilkins.ca