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Garrett Column: Patience

by John Garrett @SNJohnGarrett / Canucks freelance writer

Canucks fans have been lucky. In the last 15 years the Canucks have missed the playoffs a grand total of four times.

Vancouver has yet to miss the playoffs in consecutive years during this run, even though that may happen this year. They have won back-to-back Presidents trophies and went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. They have earned some patience.

The Edmonton Oilers have missed the playoffs 10 years in a row. They are looking good to break that streak this year leading the Pacific Divison. They should be better and should have been on a more direct plan to get back to respectability. In the time they have been out of the post season they have had four number one picks overall in the draft and five picks in the top ten. Of those nine, four have been traded. Maybe Nail Yakupov wasn't such a great idea? Connor McDavid is a franchise player, but the Oilers and General Manager Peter Chiarelli made good deals to bring in Cam Talbot and Adam Larsson.

The Calgary Flames have missed the playoffs six of the last seven years. Unlike the Oilers they were trying to make the playoffs and retool on the fly. Their highest pick during their down time was fourth. They took Sam Bennett in 2014 with that pick. With the sixth choice last year they got Matthew Tkachuk and with the sixth overall in 2013 they chose Sean Monahan. Johnny Gaudreau was taken 104 in 2011 and Michael Backlund was chosen with the 24th pick in 2007. The Flames made the mistake of trying to go with four goalies who were not very good and did not have contracts past last season. Trading for Brian Elliott and signing Chad Johnson has given them some stability and a chance to get back into contention.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had the golf clubs out early in 10 of the last 11 years. They have a chance to end that run this year due to the play of their rookies and a deal to get a reliable goaltender. Auston Matthews was first overall last year and like Connor McDavid, is a franchise player. Mitch Marner was taken 4th overall in 2015 and William Nylander 8th in 2014. Morgan Rielly was 5th in 2012 and Nazem Kadri was 7th in 2009. The core is there and with Fredrick Andersen as their backstop, the rabid Leafs fans should have something to cheer about.

The Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs in nine out of 10 years between 97-98 and 2007-2008. Duncan Keith was taken 54th in 2002. They took Brent Seabrook in 2003. Troy Brower and Dave Bolland were taken in 2005. Jonathan Toews was taken in 2006 and Patrick Kane in 2007. Since then the Hawks have made the playoffs eight straight years and have won the Stanley Cup three times.

Trading Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen was not easy. They were a big part of the core group of a very successful team, but you have to be able to move with the times. Burrows is 35 years old and went from averaging more than 25 goals a year to 13 in the last two. Hansen's value is shown in the fact that the Canucks were able to get a good, young, former first rounder, who just turned 21 and another draft pick.

You do not want to be on a 10-year rebuild. You want to have assets that you can turn into the new core of a team on the rise. There are pieces in place in Vancouver that give hope for the future. Bo Horvat is taking a leadership role at 21. Troy Stecher has proven he can play top four minutes and he is 22. Nikita Tryamkin is 22 and Chris Tanev and Luca Sbisa are only 26. You can use whatever word you want to describe the evolution of the new era in Canuck hockey, but patience is a virtue and it will be worth it.

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