Off-Season Overview

Ahh can you hear that sound? No, it’s not October yet, but I can almost hear the echoes just around the bend. I can also hear the buzz of rumour filled activity surrounding the Vancouver Canucks as the off-season is in full swing.

Here’s an overview of the Canucks off-season so far:

There was the will they or won’t they buy out Alex Burrows saga.

For all those who were calling for the Vancouver Canucks to either buy out or trade Alexandre Burrows this summer. Allow me to present the case for why he should STAY.

The whirlwind that is known as the rumour mill is nothing new to Alex Burrows in regards to his career. It’s a phenomenon that has surrounded him since the moment he entered his pro hockey career. Spanning from the ECHL, the AHL and the NHL; Burrows has surpassed the 1000 pro games played benchmark.

He was never supposed to make it in the NHL, let alone play with elite players like the Sedins. Truth be told, I’m not sure many of the experts ever had him slotted to play on an NHL roster let alone find himself on a line with two of the best players in the Canucks franchise or playoff hero. When I think of Burrows and his pro hockey career, I think of pure determination. He brings the intangibles of heart, persistence and an incredible work ethic that is admirable to his game every single day.

Early on, he was known to be a pest of his opposition and timely penalty kill minutes. He did the little things right and kept working to improve his game in all areas and it paid off over the years. He still does the little things right. He has become a leader and an inspiring example on this team.

Management and his teammates believe in him. It’s time for the fans to also show him that same respect, he’s more than earned it.

There was the will they or won’t they let Willie Desjardins go saga.

After a season that saw the Canucks struggle in just about every category, many fans and media members were quick to call for Willie Desjardins to be let go. It is often the easiest path when things go wrong on a team to put the blame on one person such as the coach rather than address the entire problem.

Yes, the season was far from perfection but that is not all on the coach. As far as imperfect seasons go, there were a variety of factors that led to the Canucks struggles throughout the year from a mass of injuries to missed opportunities. Yes, it’s easy to say that the coach should be held responsible to every decision he makes and he is but that does not mean he shoulders all the blame when things go awry.

The management made it very clear that they are not ready to give up on Willie Desjardins moving forward much to the chagrin of many “experts”. The upcoming season will be an opportunity for Desjardins to prove his critics wrong as he works to find a balance between the young and veteran players. The clock begins when the season starts October 15.

There was the echo of disappointment when the Canucks dropped to 5th in the draft followed by the belief that they should trade that same pick.

Admit it, you were among those who hoped that with all the bad the luck the team had face all year, that they would have a little luck and be awarded a top three draft pick. They dropped to 5th and sparked a rumour frenzy to trade that pick or hold onto it. Any potential trade up or down in the draft could have ended up being too costly for the Canucks in the long run.

The team kept the pick which led to a slight social media uproar as everyone from the media and fandom expressed “expert” opinions. Not only did they keep the pick, but they picked up defenceman, Olli Juolevi. Perhaps, not the player that many fans had speculated the team might choose, but a player with great potential down the road.

There was the Lucic sighting in town that sparked a media frenzy ahead of the July 1st Free Agent Frenzy.

Sure, it’s true that Milan Lucic came to town and met with the team and sparked a massive media/fan frenzy with the possibility that he would play for his home team. We all know what happened, he ultimately decided to sign long-term with the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks opted to sign a different former Boston Bruin. Loui Eriksson was signed to a six-year contract.

Eriksson more than likely will be playing on a line with the Sedins come October when the Canucks open their season. They already have formed a previous chemistry on Team Sweden in international competition; tournaments that take place over a few weeks…imagine that chemistry over an entire season. Eriksson with the Sedins will provide a consistency most games for that line.

The ever continuous they’ve made moves but will they make more before training camp saga.

The Canucks have been making moves since the off-season began. They traded McCann to acquire Gudbranson. Sven Baertschi and Emerson Etem re-signed. The team bought out Chris Higgins and opted to keep Alex Burrows. Philip Larsen was signed. Yannick Weber and Dan Hamhuis signed elsewhere. They signed Eriksson and a few young depth players for Utica.

The question remains, how many more moves if any will be made? Stay tuned, Canucks fans…we are in for an interesting ride heading into the upcoming season. It’s October yet, but the echoes around the bend are getting louder with each passing day.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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