An Editorial Look at the Unraveling of the Canucks

The outlook is dismal. Wins in just three of their last 15 games have left the Canucks near the bottom of the Pacific Division and on the outside looking in – from a serious distance. In those 15 games the Canucks have been outscored 48-36. They have been routinely outshot in brutal standards and their goaltending has been subpar. At best.

For the first time in over a decade the Canucks are a team is expected to miss the playoffs. Although the team is given the benefit of the doubt since they still have world class talent peppered throughout the lineup, the reality is pretty transparent. The team is on a serious decline.

The team has an awkward mix of longtime Canucks veterans like Alexandre Burrows, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler, the Sedin twins etc., newly acquired veterans that were brought in to ‘toughen’ the team up and an alarming quantity of under-23’s. It’s not exactly a recipe for contention. Whether the team accepts the reality or not is one thing, but it’s safe to say the Canucks have entered a full rebuild.

Will Veterans Be Swayed to Leave?

Alexandre Burrows (34-years-old), Henrik and Daniel Sedin (35-years-old), Chris Higgins (32-years-old), Dan Hamhuis (32-years-old). The point being made is that the Canucks longtime corps is aging. There is a split of ideology in Vancouver that has one side suggesting that veterans are no longer needed and should be moved in order to solidify the rebuild meanwhile the other side exclaims that the veteran leadership offered by longtime players deserves loyalty from the organization.

It’s a tough situation that’s for sure.

Maybe it is time for the Canucks veterans to part ways. It seems that the style of play they were developed on is no longer the direction of the franchise. With Jim Benning at the helm the Canucks are sure to become a bit more of a slow moving but hard hitting franchise.

And let’s be honest – even though the fanbase in Vancouver has begun to distrust the veteran group they would all be seriously attractive additions to teams on the cusp on a championship. The return for players like the Sedins, Burrows and Hamhuis could be huge if the franchise is ready to fully commit to a rebuild. However, if a full rebuild is the next move, are the Canucks content with Brandon Prust, Derek Dorsett, Alex Edler and Ryan Miller being the leaders?

Frustration Plays a Key Role

For the guys that have been with the Canucks for five or more years, the last three have been especially trying. After contending for the Stanley Cup and spending almost a decade at the top of the standings the team has had to endure two coaching changes (and with it two system changes) and some serious dispersal of personnel (think Kesler, Bieksa).

Although they owe their careers to the Canucks organization, the Sedins have to be itching for a shot at the cup. They’ve spent 17 years in the NHL, most of which at the top of the league’s standings. They’ve been one game away from raising the trophy only to be sitting out of the playoffs just three years later. They’ve led the league in scoring, played in countless All-Star games and been touted as some of the most skilled players in the league.

The same story for Alexandre Burrows. He worked his way into the Canucks lineup with the help of former coach Alain Vigneault and immerged as a steady first line player. He went from pondering retirement from the sport at 22 years old to becoming a fan favorite in Vancouver. He was also just a game away. And at 34-years-old he has to be dreaming of a chance. So when the team goes on to lose 12 of 15 games it has to start to impact the veterans mentalities.

The Right Move

As much as some fans just don’t want to see them go, it might actually show more loyalty to move the veterans to contending teams than it would to keep them around. It would also reinforce the management’s plan to reshape the franchise from within.

There are plenty of teams that would be drooling over having the Sedin twins as a scoring threat meanwhile Burrows adds a skill set as versatile as they come. You wouldn’t be cleaning someone’