The preseason is exactly that – the preseason. You hate to be overly dramatic about how well or how poorly a team performs in exhibition games before the official season begins. Teams in other sports may do well in the preseason and tank when it comes time to play for real. For example, the 2008 Detroit Lions went 4-0 in the NFL preseason and then took their undefeated preseason right down the sewer drain with an 0-16 regular season. In professional sports, you have to try really hard to lose all of your games. After all, professional sports are played by talented, top-tier athletes and you would think that any team could win at least some of their regular games.
Is it time to hit the panic button in Vancouver yet? Well, not exactly. An 0-3-2 preseason is certainly nothing to brag about but it’s probably premature to start in full blown panic mode this week I didn’t say that an 0-3-2 preseason is something that should just be shrugged off by GM Patrik Allvin and head coach Bruce Boudreau. These are just exhibition games and primarily tools to get top-line players in shape and test out those who are on the outside of the roster bubble looking in to see if there’s a place on the bench for them.
No NHL team gets penalized for losing a bunch of preseason games and the minus 15 goal differential right now is just an evaluation tool. To put the preseason into a better perspective, all you have to do is look at the Tampa Bay Lightning. They’re sitting at 0-3 with a minus 12 goal differential right now. Yes, the reigning Western Conference champion currently hasn’t won a preseason game and I doubt their front office is looking for the eject button just yet. To be fair to the Canucks, they used their minor league lineup against the Edmonton Oilers in their 7-2 loss and it only became a blowout in in the last few minutes of the third period. Third string goalie Collin Delia protected the pipes all night last night and despite giving up seven goals, he showed some sharpness on the penalty kill and is an aggressive goalie -a good one to have waiting in the wings down in the AHL.
Canucks Player Standouts & Question Marks so far:
Brady Keeper: You love having a feel-good story line to start out the season and Brady Keeper certainly fills that role. After a broken leg canceled his 2021-22 season, Keeper looked to make the Canucks roster and that long year sitting out with the “shoulda coulda woulda” demon gnawing at your hockey soul should propel him to come back with a vengeance this preseason. Keeper played a hard, physical game against the Oilers but gave up multiple penalties and time in the AHL may be calling him for awhile until he’s truly ready for the callup down the road.
Christian Wolanin: Wolanin stood out clearly against Edmonton on Monday night and he made his claim for a defenseman roster spot. However, before we all jump off the Wolanin cliff and sign him to an active spot this moment, he broke his stick and skated like his hair was on fire to the Canucks bench to get another one which cost them a goal. If you’re a defenseman in the NHL and your stick breaks/cracks/disappears, then use your body to get in front of the puck. ( In all fairness, Wolanin did register three blocked shots in this game.) For all of the defensive success he’s had this preseason, that one move probably got Wolanin a ticket to Abbotsford to start 2022-23. He’s still a solid defenseman and will find his way back to the Canucks bench but more than likely his time will be coming albeit soon.
Canucks’ Goaltenders: There isn’t too much to report on the top spot since it’s Thatcher Demkos’ spot to lose and he’s not losing it any time soon to backup Spencer Martin. Collin Delia showed the Canucks organization what he can do for them and he will no doubt be the top AHL goalie in the pipeline waiting on standby which isn’t necessarily a bad place for a goalie to be to start the season. The Demko-Martin tandem should hold their own this upcoming season and Dellia is a sensible insurance policy.