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Examining the Vancouver Canucks

by Bill Meltzer

Complete Canucks Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Canucks gear up to take the next step

While the Vancouver Canucks lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in a hard-fought playoff series, the Canucks are coming off a magnificent season and are once again poised to contend among the best teams in the Western Conference.

Steered by Jack Adams Award winning head coach Alain Vignault and Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy finalist Roberto Luongo, the Canucks erased the perception of being a team with a strong offense, but average team defense and goaltending. The boys from Orca Bay allowed 54 fewer goals against last season (201 versus 255 in the 2005-06 campaign) while improving by 13 points in the standings to finish first in the Northwest Division.

The Canucks had a relatively quiet off-season, apart from adding another proven veteran defenseman to the mix with the free-agent signing of Aaron Miller as well as adding backup goaltender Curtis Sanford, veteran winger Brad Isbister and 24-year-old Ryan Shannon.

While some cried out for Vancouver to add more offensive firepower – the Canucks scored just 222 goals last year, 34 fewer tallies than in 2005-06 and the fewest the club has scored since 1998-99 – the fact of the matter is that the teams with the strongest goaltending and team defense are almost always in the thick of contention. Luongo keeps his team within striking distance of victory in almost every game.

This season, the Canucks will look for their leading scorers from last year – twin brothers Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin – to boost their career-best point totals from last year and for their fellow Örnsköldsvik, Sweden native, Markus Naslund to rebound from a down season offensively. Brendan Morrison, who scored 20 goals and 51 points a year ago, is coming off sports hernia surgery. Vancouver will need Morrison to avoid the slow start that often accompanies players’ returns from that procedure.
2006-07 Record:
49-26-7, 1st Northwest

Who's In:
D Aaron Miller, LW Brad Isbister, C Byron Ritchie, G Curtis Sanford

Who's Out:
F Bryan Smolinski, Jan Bulis, Josh Green, Tommi Santala,  D Brent SopelRory Fitzpatrick, Yannick Tremblay, G Dany Sabourin

2006-07 Leading Scorers:
Daniel Sedin (36-48-84), Henrik Sedin (10-71-81), Markus Naslund (24-36-60), Brendan Morrison (20-31-51), Kevin Bieksa (12-30-42)

2006-07 Goaltending Leaders:
Roberto Luongo (47-22-6, 2.29 GAA, 76 appearances, .921 save percentage, 5 shutouts)
                  's 2007-08 Canucks Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
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