With 2018 right around the corner, it’s time for members of the Vancouver Canucks to reflect on the year that was, and prepare for what comes next. That’s where we come in.
Here are New Year’s resolutions for Canucks forwards that are definitely not tongue-in-cheek and need to be taken with the utmost seriousness.
Sven Baertschi – Get used to wearing a cage
Baertschi broke his jaw earlier this month and though he’s expected back sometime in January, it’s normal for players to wear a full cage after returning from serious facial injuries. It can be hard for players to get used to it, so we’re suggesting that, as soon as physically possible, the forward slaps on a cage and attempts daily routines with it on.
Brock Boeser – Stop blocking shots
Yes, this goes against much of what we’re taught about when we’re taught about hockey and how the game is played, but Boeser’s value in the offensive zone heavily outweighs anything else.
Reid Boucher – Get some scandalous information about Travis Green
How else is Boucher, who’s leading Utica in points with 25 in as many games, going to get ice time at the NHL level?
Nic Dowd – Stop taking penalties
Brought over earlier in the year for Jordan Subban, Dowd hasn’t been able to stay out of trouble. He’s registered 12 minutes in the box in eight games. Opposing teams have victimized the Canucks when he’s been there, too.
Loui Eriksson – Shoot the puck
The Swede has had 23 shots in his last 12 games—a stretch where he’s netted two points. In six of those games he’s been held to one or zero shots.
Sam Gagner – Intentionally cause further damage to Bo Horvat’s ankle
If last game against Chicago was any indication, Gagner is enjoying his time between Brock Boeser and Thomas Vanek. That trio will most likely be split up when Horvat returns, so Gagner may have to take matters into his own hands.
Brendan Gaunce –Score a goal, like a real goal
Gaunce got credit for a goal against San Jose that went off his skate, but he still hasn’t actually put a puck in the net off his stick in almost 100 games.
Nikolay Goldobin – Don’t lose confidence
It’s been a bit of a rough stretch for the youngster, as he’s lost his “Russian Dad” in Alexander Burmistrov while going five games without hitting the scoresheet before Thursday’s game against Chicago. But this is an important time for Goldobin to prove his worth to the team, he needs to have his best stuff in the next couple of games to make it harder for Green and GM Jim Benning to send him down when everyone gets healthy.
Markus Granlund – Lobby management for another centre
Granlund seems to be much more effective on the wing, as he can play an offensive role when called upon. But with Burmistrov gone and Sutter still on the mend, Green has been happy to roll him out in defensive situations as a checking centre.
Bo Horvat – Don’t think about Toronto
Horvat’s family was apparently jazzed up for his return to Southern Ontario (he’s from London, a two-hour drive from Toronto) against the Maple Leafs on January 6. But the forward won’t be healthy enough to play. It’s disappointing for sure, but he can’t dwell on it.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin – Set the bar at $3 million
A major question in the offseason will be whether or not the Canucks opt to resign the Sedins, who have said that they wouldn’t go to another team. The twins best set their bar at least decently high. No, money probably doesn’t matter to them, but players take pride in their contracts, as it’s more or less a symbol of where you rank in the league. They are still better than the average NHLer and deserve to be paid as such. The Canucks won’t be up against the salary cap, so it’s not as though the twins need to take a massive cut to save the team money.
Brandon Sutter – Practice faceoffs
Before he got hurt, Sutter was having his worst year in the circle since he was a Pittsburgh Penguin. The Canucks need him to win those crucial defensive zone draws.
Thomas Vanek – Keep developing chemistry with Boeser
If the game against Chicago was any indication, Vanek and Boeser have the potential to rip through teams. It’s possible that even once Baertschi gets back, Vanek could see some time with Boeser, which would be huge for the veteran. It would also make trading him at the deadline—once a foregone conclusion—a bit tougher to stomach.
Jake Virtanen – Keep your head up
This is one of the Top Five Non-Boeser Highlights of the Year for the Canucks, and I don’t care what you say.
Keep doing what you’re doing, Jake.