As 2016 comes to a close, here are a few of the best and worst moments (in no particular order) of the Canucks’ 2016-17 season so far.
Stecher’s NHL debut
Troy Stecher, an undrafted 5’10” defender from Richmond, BC, made his NHL debut on October 25th in a game against Ottawa. The 22 year old, who was an elite defender at the University of North Dakota, was reassigned to the AHL’s Utica Comets after his first three NHL games. However, he was quickly called back up to the Canucks because of an injury to Alex Edler. Stecher has now played 28 games, and has one goal and nine assists (including four powerplay points). His goal was scored on November 13th in a win against Dallas. He tied the game with 1:40 left in the third period to send the game to overtime.
The return of Sutter
Last season Sutter missed 62 games because of injuries. His absence hurt the Canucks, but this season he has returned to the line-up healthy, and has yet not missed a game. He made it onto the scoresheet immediately upon his return, scoring the season opener’s shootout winner against Calgary and an overtime goal against Carolina. So far he has nine goals and nine assists.
Hansen gets his 100th NHL goal
On October 20th, Jannik Hansen scored his 100th NHL goal, the opening goal in an eventual 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Hansen, who has played his entire career in Vancouver, has become one of the team’s key players over the past few years. Last season was easily one of his best, as he finished with a career-high 22 goals. He has found success on the top line with the Sedins, and through 18 games this season has 5 goals and 4 assists. Unfortunately, he is currently out four to six weeks with a knee injury.
Hutton’s two year contract extension
Ben Hutton, who has become a key defender for the Canucks, signed a two year, $5.6 million contract with the Canucks on November 24th. At 23 years old, Hutton had one year left on his entry-level contract. He is already showing improvement from last season (his rookie season), in which he had one goal and 24 assists in 75 games. Hutton has become a mainstay on the Canucks’ blueline, and through 37 games this season has four goals and six assists.
Eriksson’s slow start
Loui Eriksson, a former 30-goal scorer with the Boston Bruins, started off his first season with the Canucks slow. After playing with the Sedins at the World Cup, it was assumed that Eriksson would play with the twins on the first line, but for some reason they have lacked chemistry together. Eriksson was silent for much of October and, while he has lately been making it onto the scoreboard more often, the Canucks are still hoping to get more out of him. Lately Eriksson has mostly been playing with Brandon Sutter and Markus Granlund.
Last season a flood of injuries plagued the Canucks, and it seems like this year could be similar. Chris Tanev had an ankle injury early on. Jannik Hansen is currently out with a knee injury and Alex Edler is out with a fractured index finger. Derek Dorsett is out indefinitely to get cervical fusion surgery, and Erik Gudbranson is out indefinitely because of a wrist injury. Philip Larsen was taken out on a stretcher after taking a hit in early December and has yet to return to the line-up.
The nine game losing streak
In October and November the Canucks went on a nine game losing streak, starting on October 22nd with a 4-3 shootout loss against the LA Kings. Their last loss before ending the streak was on November 7th, a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders. During this losing streak the Canucks were shutout four times, all by other Canadian teams. In fact, the Canucks only scored 12 goals (while surrending 32) throughout the nine games.