And just like that, as quick as it began, 2017 is nearly over. For the Vancouver Canucks, it wasn’t a perfect year or anywhere near close to it and if I was to listen to the way the media spins it, it was an absolutely terrible year for the team. IF, I was to listen to the media, I would believe that the team is going no where.
If I was to really take a closer look at what actually happened, there were some pretty incredible moments within that supposedly terrible year.
TWIN MILESTONES. Just as they have always done, in 2017, the Sedins have further cemented their place in the Vancouver Canucks history books. Amassing 1000 points is an incredible feat and one that many players will never reach. Even more rare is seeing a player reach that milestone with the same team over the entirety of their career. Seeing two players on the same team accomplish that feat is even more incredible.
JANUARY 20, 2017. They said it was an impossible feat and yet somehow, the ever consistent Henrik Sedin, hit yet another milestone when he scored his 1000th NHL point. Against his former teammate, on a goal assisted by his brother, Henrik Sedin brought the arena off their feet scoring the milestone point on home ice. I still get chills when I remember what that moment felt like in the arena with 19,000 other fans, it was a moment that I’ll always remember.
NOVEMBER 30, 2017. Daniel Sedin followed in his brother’s footsteps once more. On the road, against a tough Predators team, on a goal assisted by yes, his brother AND Brock Boeser, Daniel scored his milestone point to tie the game and help lead the comeback.
PROSPECT DEPTH. The 2017 Draft was a win for Vancouver despite falling to 5th overall in the draft lottery. With the 5th pick, Jim Benning selected Elias Pettersson who is currently having a season for the record books in the Swedish league and currently making his mark in the World Juniors. Along with Elias, Benning made some other strong picks: Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Michael Dipietro, Jack Rathbone, Matt Brassard, Petrus Palmu and Kristoffer Gunnarsson; adding to a growing pool of Canucks prospects. For the first time in a long time, the Canucks have a deep wealth of prospects. (**Jim Benning deserves a lot more credit than he is given for the depth of the Canucks current crop of prospects).
JAKE VIRTANEN. Everyone said he was a bust, some probably still do. The truth is, last season, he really struggled and it would’ve been easy to write him off after spending the majority of the season in Utica. Heading into the training camp this year, he had to take all the lessons he’d learned in Utica, put in a lot of hard work and still earning a roster spot, no guarantee. He put the work in, had a strong showing in the pre-season, and over the course of the first half of the season has begun to show a complete level to all areas of his game. It started slowly, but more and more his game is progressing to show the player that management hoped he could be and will be. (**Anyone else notice a little more step in his game since he switched to the same stick as Boeser?).
BO-LIEVE it or not. Bo Horvat came into his own in 2017. Bo and the Canucks seemed destined to make a deal as last season wound down, but the summer passed and still no deal was signed. As training camp edged ever closer, fans got nervous and media speculated that maybe it wasn’t such a sure thing after all. The Canucks said all along they were determined to make the right deal, Bo kept saying all the right things and wouldn’t you know it, both sides found that perfect middle ground. Horvat signed his 6-year extension and put in the work on the ice, immediately finding a chemistry with Boeser and Baertschi, aka the “killer-B” line.
BROCK BOESER MANIA. I’m not sure what’s more unbelievable, the fact that Brock Boeser dropped to 23rd in the 2015 draft or looking back knowing that so many were against the pick and uncertain about the player that Brock could be when Jim Benning drafted him. In the two years that followed, Canucks fans watched as he succeeded with college hockey at UND ever hopeful that this was a glimpse of what was to come.
MARCH 25, 2017. Brock Boeser made his NHL debut in his home state of Minnesota while casually scoring his FIRST NHL goal which ended up being the game winner.
NOVEMBER 2017. First career hat trick on home ice against the defending Stanley Cup champions, followed up by picking up another two goals against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Named the rookie of the month.
DECEMBER 2017. FASTEST rookie in Vancouver Canucks history to notch 20 goals in 34 games. (**Heading into the Christmas break, Boeser had 34 points [20 goals, 14 assists] in 34 games. Currently on pace to surpass Pavel Bure’s rookie record of 60 points in 65 games). Are you ready to see how the rest of the story goes, Vancouver? Stay tuned, this is JUST the beginning.
Safe to say that among Canucks fans, Brock Boeser mania is in full force. Yes, it’s still very early in the season and there’s a ways to go with some great competition with other rookies like Barzal and Keller, but Boeser is definitely a serious Calder contender. No, Canucks fans do not want Boeser awarded the Calder trophy in December, we just want it acknowledged across the board that he’s having a heck of a season and deserves to be in that conversation.
DORSETT STRONG. No one was sure if he’d even be able to make a comeback after his injury last season. Derek Dorsett put in the rehab, and worked harder than ever to find his way back to the game. And come back he did, he was having one heck of a season, possibly on his way to career highs before being sidelined by symptoms of the injury that sidelined him for most of last season. Tests and second opinions, led to Derek making the tough choice to put his health and future first, meaning that life after hockey came much faster than originally planned. Inspiring, persevering, and determined.
A few words, I wrote for Derek after his retirement announcement: Vancouver Canucks: For Derek.
Good-bye, 2017, thanks for the memories. Here’s to 2018 and all that is to come!
As always, until next time, nuck said.