The Vancouver Canucks are looking for any opportunity to steer clear of the almost-disaster that was the 2021-22 season and awaken the hockey spirits in the Pacific Northwest to help with a playoff run this upcoming season. The Canucks may just need those hockey spirits to help them through October and November to prevent an iceberg-melting flameout similar to the one that occurred early last season. Head coach Bruce Boudreau is popular with players and so far maintains the support of the Vancouver faithful for now. Boudreau has proven over the years to bring some level of success to every stop he’s made along the NHL coaching tour including Washington, Anaheim and Minnesota. In fact, Boudreau was brought into this position to provide stability and his affable ways translated into a season turnaround of sorts but a 40-30-12 record only garnered him a one year contract extension.
Despite the stamp of approval from team president and director of hockey operations Jim Rutherford, fans should also remember that Brue Boudreau was hired before new GM Patrik Allvin was brought on board by the Canucks ownership. GM’s have a peculiar way of hiring their choices for a coaching staff and in stating the obvious here, Bruce Boudreau was not Patrik Allvin’s choice for a head coach. That being said, Boudreau enters this season on a proverbial hot seat and if the Canucks start this campaign towards the Stanley Cup on a sour note, Allvin may pull the trigger and send the lovable Boudreau on his way long before Christmastime.
The Canucks have a solid goaltending tandem in Demko and Martin
Bruce Boudreau will be looking for a model of consistency and relative stability to start the 2022-23 season off on the right foot and the goalie tandem of Thatcher Demko and Spencer Martin may be the medicine the doctor ordered for Vancouver fans. The Canucks faithful may be patient but not that patient when it comes to expecting results from their lineups and if nothing else, the dynamic duo of Demko and Martin may well be the stability and consistency this team needs to keep them in the playoff hunt early in the season. Through training camp roster cuts this week, Demko and Martin remain the starting and backup netminders remaining on the Canucks’ active roster. Goalie Collin Delia was placed on waivers ostensibly to head to Abbotsford in the AHL and fellow travelers Arturs Silovs and Michael DiPietro appear to be heading in the same direction with Delia looking to be the starter. Delia put up a valiant fight in Monday night’s preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers and looks to be the Canucks’ insurance policy in case of injury to any of the NHL goalie tandem.
San Diego native Thatcher Demko looks to truly make his mark on the NHL this season and returns as the Canucks’ All Star entry at goaltender this past season. Demko posted solid numbers in 64 starts this past year in Vancouver and garnered a 2.72 goals-against average and a .915 save percent average as well-good numbers but not spectacular given the Canucks failure to find a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Demko brings an impressive resume including an impressive collegiate career at Boston College (Hobey Baker Award finalist, Mike Richter Award winner, 2016 Hockey East Player of the Year.) Demko did fight off a lower body injury last year and was backed up by veteran Jaroslav Halak who now finds himself with the New York Rangers. Halak was able to only pick up four wins in 17 games played and the journeyman netminder has migrated to yet another team in the NHL. The biggest questions surrounding Thatcher Demko at the start of the new season are can he stay healthy and can he play more than 60 games this season? Obviously we don’t have a hockey crystal ball and can accurately predict who will go down with injuries but head coach Bruce Boudreau has a reputation to shy away from overusing starting goaltenders.
That brings us to the next question: who will back up Demko in Vancouver this season? As training camp and the preseason games are winding down in anticipation of the regular season start next week, Spencer Martin seems to be the heir apparent in Vancouver as the backup netminder. Martin was a 2013 third round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche and brings a good playing background to the Canucks this year. While Martin only has a total of nine games in the NHL, his numbers in those games speak highly of his capabilities with a career goals-against average of 2.58 and an admirable .924 save percentage. Last year with Abbotsford, Martin held his own with a 19-4-2 game appearance record including three shutouts. Martin brings seven years of AHL experience to the Canucks’ bench and if Bruce Boudreau keeps up his methods for using goalies, Spencer Martin should see a minimum of 20 or more games under his belt in 2022-23. Martin was signed by the Canucks to a two year, $1.525 million dollar contract and appears to be a sound bargain to help alleviate the nightly grind on Thatcher Demko and help bolster the Canucks defense this year.