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Best of the Best: 16-17 season

by Brady Trettenero @BradyTrett / Canucks freelance writer

From Troy Stecher's timely first NHL goal to Ryan Miller's incredible diving glove save, the Canucks' 2016-17 season was full of memorable moments. Here is the best of the best from the past year.

Best Goal

Stecher burns Benn and nets timely first NHL goal vs. Stars (11/13/16)

Troy Stecher burst onto the scene in his first NHL campaign, pacing all Vancouver blueliners with 24 points in 71 games. The youngster created a name for himself with his strong skating and passing ability. One of his most memorable plays came in November against the Dallas Stars. With the Canucks trailing 4-3 in the third period, a rolling puck came to Stecher at the blueline. The 23-year-old utilized his frame to keep the play onside, before deking out Jamie Benn and wiring a shot on goal. Stecher's rocket blasted right through netminder Kari Lehtonen and tied the game 4-4. This sequence showcased his strong Hockey IQ, as he was able to read the play and keep it onside, before thinking quickly to maneuver around Benn and fire a shot on goal. The rearguard struck three times this season and will be a key part of the team's defense corpse moving forward.

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Best Assist

Daniel sets up brother Henrik for 1000th NHL point vs. Panthers (01/20/17)

It had all the makings of a special night. With Roberto Luongo in town and current captain Henrik Sedin on the verge of 1,000 career NHL points, the Canucks and Florida Panthers engaged in a tight hockey game at Rogers Arena in January. With Vancouver trailing 1-0 in the second period, Alex Edler sent a pass up to Daniel, who moved in 2-on-1 with his brother. Daniel's perfect saucer pass led to Henrik deking and sliding the puck past Luongo to achieve the coveted milestone. It was an emotional night, as the entire Canucks bench poured onto the ice to showcase their support and Luongo congratulated Henrik on his way up the ice. The captain becomes just the 85th player all-time to reach the milestone and it was only fitting Daniel picked up the primary assist. Daniel is currently 14 points shy of joining Henrik as the fifth born-Swedish player to reach 1,000 points.

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Best Save

Miller stretches out to rob Wings' Zetterberg (11/10/16)

Fans bought tickets to a hockey game at Joe Louis Arena in November, but a sensational play by Ryan Miller sure had them questioning what sport they were watching. The veteran goaltender did his best Kevin Pillar impression with a sensational diving glove save that could go down as the best stop of the 2016-17 NHL season. Miller was on his way to the bench for the extra attacker late in the third period before recognizing Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg was charging up the ice towards the empty net. Miller raced back to the crease, diving and snatching Zetterberg's center-ice empty net bid out of mid-air. Miller's flexibility and resilience was on full display, as he turned in another strong season at the age of 36. With stops like that and a .914 save percentage on the season, Miller proved there's still a lot of gas left in the tank.

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Best Fight

Gudbranson gets best of Oilers' Kassian (10/28/16)

The Canucks knew what they were getting in 6' 5" 220 lbs defenseman Erik Gudbranson. While his first season in Vancouver was limited due to injury, Gudbranson made his intimidating presence felt on numerous occasions. Once of his most memorable moments came in an early-season game against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena. Gudbranson was rocked by a big hit from former Canuck Zack Kassian, but got right back up before engaging the forward in a round of fisticuffs. Gudbranson got the best of Kassian, feeding him several rights before eventually bringing him down to the ice. The blueliner was visibly fired up after the spirited tilt, injecting energy into the arena. The 25-year-old is dealing with a wrist injury, but he proved this season he's a physical force who can log heavy minutes on Vancouver's blueline.

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Best First

Boeser scores game-winner in NHL debut vs. Wild (03/25/17)

One of the most exciting developments of the past season for Canucks fans was University of North Dakota star Brock Boeser. The youngster was a dynamic scorer at the college level and was signed to an entry-level deal by the Canucks at the end of March. Boeser was drafted 23rd overall by Vancouver in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and it didn't take long for him to give fans what they were hoping for. The rookie scored in his NHL debut against the Wild and netted three goals in the following eight games to close out the season with the Canucks. The 20-year-old possesses a lethal shot and is a great passer who is expected to be a key part of Vancouver's offense in the coming years. 

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