Canucks’ Greatest Team in Franchise History: 10 Years Later

It has been 10 years since the greatest season in Vancouver Canucks history took place. The 2010-11 season featured the best roster the franchise has ever assembled. That season they recorded a franchise-best 54-19-9 record, while they scored the most goals in the league (262) and gave up the least amount of goals against (185). Their impressive regular season recorded resulted in the club winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the most points in the league. 

They followed up their regular season with an exciting Stanley Cup playoffs, which ended in a Game 7 loss in the Final to the Boston Bruins. First, they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games after giving up a 3-0 series lead. Next, they took on the Nashville Predators, winning the series in six games. They then took on the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final, winning in five games. 

Since it has been 10 years since the historic season, it is a great time to get an update on the core members of the team.

Sedin Twins

Henrik and Daniel Sedin were the players the team was built around and were the face of the franchise for most of their careers. In 2009-10 Henrik had a career year, scoring a career-high 29 goals and posting a career-high 112 points. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy, the first and only player in franchise history to win the trophy. The former captain also won the Art Ross Trophy, as he led the NHL in points that season. He followed it up with a 19 goal and 94 point season in 2010-11. 

The 2009-10 season was Henrik’s year to lead the team in points, while 2010-11 was Daniel’s year. No. 22 scored a career-high 41 goals and posted a career-high in points with 104. He won the Art Ross Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding player as judged by members of the NHLPA. 

After the 2010-11 season, the two finished their careers with the Canucks as the only players to post 1000 points for the club. They retired in the 2017-18 season after 17 NHL seasons. Henrik finished with the most points (1070) and assists (830), while Daniel finished with the most goals (393), second in points (1041) and assists (648). In Feb 2020, they both had their numbers retired by the club, becoming the fifth and sixth players in franchise history to receive the honour. 

Vancouver became the perfect fit for the twins as even after retiring, the two still live in the city. They’ve decided to continue raising their families in Vancouver, even coaching the soccer teams their kids play on. Even though the two have retired, they remain active, as some of the training they took part in throughout their careers still plays a role in their life after retiring. Running is the main activity for the two, as they’ve participated in a marathon. Daniel finished under three hours in the TCS Amsterdam Marathon in the Netherlands in 2019.

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Recently, they have been rumoured to potentially join the Canucks’ front office. Their role, to start with the club, could be to oversee player development. The idea is the two will be able to grow and develop and then take on a bigger role later, similar to new general manager Chris Drury with the New York Rangers.

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler was the heart and soul of the 2010-11 Canucks team. He posted a career-high 41 goals and added the second high point total in his career with 73 points. Additionally, he won the first and only Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward. In the playoffs, Kesler continued to play his best hockey, as he scored seven goals and posted 19 points in 25 games. The run included his memorable performance against the Predators, where he had a hand in 11 of the team’s 14 goals. 

Kesler played three more seasons with the Canucks, before requesting a trade and joining the Anaheim Ducks. Although he has one season left on his contract with the club, he has been placed on long-term injured reserve due to a hip injury after playing 60 games in the 2018-19 season. 

Canucks’ fans weren’t too happy with the forward requesting a trade, booing him every time he returned to Vancouver. Everything changed when Kesler returned on the night the club retired the Sedin’s jersey numbers, as fans gave the forward a standing ovation. 

“Do I wish it would have went differently with the way me and the fans were [in Vancouver]? A hundred percent. Do I really appreciate the way the fans treated me when I came back for Henrik and Daniel’s jersey retirement? One thousand percent. Vancouver will always be home to my family. Vancouver will always be where my son was born. I love it there and I go back every summer.”

Since his playing days are done, Kesler has been coaching his kid’s hockey team. He also had a podcast with Kevin Bieksa, but after 14 episodes, it has been put on pause.

Alex Burrows

Alex Burrows’ time with the Canucks is largely remembered by his play with the Sedin twins on the team’s top line. In the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Burrows was more than the twin’s linemate, as he pulled off clutch performances multiple times throughout the run. 

Burrows scored 26 goals and posted 48 points in 72 games in the 2010-11 regular season, after scoring a career-high 35 goals and posting 67 points in 82 games in the 2009-10 season. In the postseason, the forward scored nine goals, tying Daniel for the team lead, and posted 17 points in 25 games. He scored two memorable goals throughout the run. The first being the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 against the Blackhawks, which may be the greatest goal in franchise history. He was the only player to score for the team in Game 7, finding the back of the net twice. 

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The other goal came in Game 2 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins. Burrows scored another overtime game-winner for his club to give them a 2-0 lead. After the 2010-11 season, he played almost six more seasons with the club before being traded to the Ottawa Senators in the 2016-17 season. They acquired Jonathan Dahlen in return. Burrows played two seasons with the Senators, which included an Eastern Conference Final run. After the 2017-18 season, he was placed on unconditional waivers and bought out by the team. 

He retired after being bought out and immediately turned to coaching, being named an assistant coach of the Laval Rocket in the AHL, the Montreal Canadiens farm team. On Dec 3rd, 2019, he was inducted into the Canucks Ring of Honour. Recently, he received a promotion and was named the Canadiens’ assistant coach in Feb 2021. 

Kevin Bieksa 

Bieksa played a big role in the 2011 Canucks team. He was a big part of the team’s defence and played a leadership role for the club as well. He took a step back offensively but improved defensively, creating a shutdown pair alongside the newly acquired Dan Hamhuis. The pair played 657:43 minutes together, more than any pairing on defence. They had an impressive 53.20 Corsi for % and 52.94% Fenwick for %. They played heavy minutes while helping the team drive play at a high rate. 

In the playoffs, Bieksa scored five goals and posted 10 points through 25 games. The highlight of the SCF run for him came in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, as he scored the overtime game-winning goal against the Sharks. 

Kevin Bieksa Canucks
Dalton Thrower patterns his game after and reminds scouts of Kevin Bieksa (Icon SMI)

After the run, Bieksa played four more seasons with the Canucks, before being traded to the Ducks for a 2016 second-round pick in the 2015 offseason. He played three seasons in Anaheim before eventually retiring. After retiring from the NHL, he began his broadcasting career as a co-host on Hockey Night in Canada. He’s been able to show off his great personality in his post NHL career, even doing a great job at the Sedin jersey retirement night in Feb 2020. 

Dan Hamhuis

The 2010-11 season was Hamhuis’ first as he signed a six-year deal with the team in the offseason. He immediately bolstered the team’s defence, as they went from allowing 218 goals against the previous season to allowing 38 fewer goals in the Smithers, B.C. native’s first year in Vancouver. In the playoffs, he played 19 games before throwing a hip check on Boston’s Milan Lucic in Game 1, which led to him missing the remainder of the game and series. 

After the 2010-11 season, Hamhuis finished out his six-year contract with Vancouver, finishing with 23 goals and 119 points in 389 games. During his time in Vancouver, he represented Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, winning a gold medal. In the 2016 offseason, he signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars before returning to the Predators, the team that originally drafted him, in the 2018 offseason. He announced his retirement from hockey in the summer of 2020 after 16 years in the league. The hockey world might see from the former NHL defenceman in the future, in a coaching role instead. 

“I love the mentoring, coaching side of things,” he said. “I think that maybe one day I would get back into that, I would certainly want to keep my ties in hockey because I really enjoyed that part of the game.”

Christian Ehrhoff

Christian Ehrhoff only played with the Canucks for two seasons, but they were some of the best by a defenceman based on points production. In 159 games, he scored 28 goals and posted 94 points. His point total includes his impressive 50 point season in the 2010-11 season. During his time in Vancouver, he quarterbacked the team’s first power-play unit, scoring 12 power-play goals and posting 51 power-play points over two seasons. In the 2011 playoffs, he played in 23 of the team’s 25 games but led the team’s defenceman in points with 12 while playing with an injured shoulder. 

The German defenceman left the team after failing to come to terms on a new contract, as the team traded his rights to the New York Islanders for a 2012 fourth-round pick. Since the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, the defenceman’s rights were traded to the Buffalo Sabres, where he signed a 10 year, $40 million deal. In 2014, he was bought out by the team. He spent the last two seasons of his career splitting time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and the Blackhawks. In 2018, Ehrhoff won a silver medal with Germany at the Winter Olympics.

After winning silver, he announced his retirement from professional hockey. The German defenceman played 12 seasons in the NHL and had his best years with the Canucks. 

Alex Edler

Alex Edler was a part of the 2010-11 Canucks’ top-four d-core. Although he missed 31 games that season, he was on pace to posting his best statistical season at 24 years old. He had eight goals and 33 points, which were the second-most on the team by a defenceman, but was on a .65 points per game played pace. In the playoffs, he scored two goals and posted 11 points through 25 games, which were once again the second most point by a defenceman on the club. 

The following season may have been Edler’s best. He scored a career-high 11 goals and posted a career-high 49 points, which resulted in him being named to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. In the following seasons, as the Canucks declined, Edler earned a larger role. The Swedish defenceman and Chris Tanev became a reliable d-pairing for the team. In 2020-21, he is the only player remaining from the 2010-11 team. His contract is up this offseason, but he has said he intends to play next season, which will be his 15th NHL campaign. 

Roberto Luongo

The 2010-11 team’s crease was manned by arguably the best goalie in franchise history. Roberto Luongo, then in his fifth season with the Canucks, started in 60 games for the team, while backup Cory Schneider played in 22. Since they gave up the fewest goals in the league, the two won the William M. Jennings. Luongo posted a record of 38-15-7 throughout the season, with a .928 save percentage (SV%), a 2.11 goals-against average (GAA) and four shutouts. He finished third in Vezina Trophy voting. 

In the playoffs, Luongo played in 25 games, winning 15 games and losing 10. He posted a .914 SV%, a 2.56 GAA and four shutouts, two of which came in the SCF. 

Alex Edler and Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The following two seasons saw the start of a goalie controversy between Luongo and Schnieder. With the younger goalie developing into a starter, the Canucks started to lean on him a bit more, which led to most believing Luongo would be the one traded. Surprisingly, in the 2013 offseason, Schnieder had been traded to the New Jersey Devils for the 2013 ninth overall pick, which was used to select Bo Horvat. 

Luongo’s stay with the club didn’t last much longer once Schnieder had been traded. The 2013-14 season did include Luongo collecting his second gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics as a backup to Carey Price. After not starting the 2014 Heritage Classic, he was traded back to the Flordia Panthers along with Steven Anthony for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias. He played out the remaining six seasons of his career with the team that drafted him. He retired after the 2018-19 season. 

After retiring, he was named a special advisor to the Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon. Recently, he was named as an assistant GM for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

2011 Team Will Not Be Forgotten

The 2011 Canucks team was very special, and the run to the SCF will be remembered by the club’s fans forever. The roster featured two of the greatest forwards in franchise history, along with one of the best two players and one of the best goalies the league has seen in the best 20 years. Among them, only Edler, Chris Tanev and Cory Schneider are still in the NHL. Edler and Schneider, though, are close to retiring, while Tanev recently left the team to play with the Calgary Flames. Most of the core players are still involved with the sport in some way. Whether that is through management or the media, which shows the 2011 team had some of the best hockey minds.

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