Well that was a lot more painful than I thought or predicted. As I said in the preseason prediction, I didn’t think they’d win the division, or make a playoff run, let alone make the playoffs, but thought they’d have a shot. Boy was I wrong.
Technically they didn’t finish last, and beat that 65-point prediction by putting up 69-points. So there’s the moral victories to look back on. The big thing with this season though was the missed opportunities and all-time bad performances.
Top of the list was the much anticipated season of Loui Eriksson, who came over on a big contract. He has the track-record of scoring a lot and would be playing with his international linemates Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Perfect!
Well 65 games and 24 points later we are all kind of shocked. I can’t think of anyone who predicted it would be that bad, even in the worst circumstances. Then there was the ice time doled out.
Prime ice time on the first line and Power Play were given to the likes of Jayson Megna, Michael Chaput, Philip Larsen, Alex Biega, and Drew Shore. It was Matt Bartkowski all over again, playing guys who would not be around next season, or play a major role if they were.
Bo Horvat led the team with 52-points after starting the season on the Fourth Line and being pegged as a Defensive Forward by his inept coach. Imagine if he received the Power Play time and minutes a First Line player gets? I’m no expert but have to guess he’d have more than 52.
However, my favorite storyline this season has been the coach, one contradiction after the other. The guy who couldn’t, or more so refused, to get out of his own way. Each postgame press conference seemed to be him admitting what he did was wrong, then doing the exact same thing the next game. He was literally the definition of insanity.
And before I hear it from the Willie defenders, who actually exist for some reason, your horrible excuses are as bad as his. My number one has been “Oh you think another coach could have made the playoffs huh?!” Yes because I only deal in absolutes, like a Sith.
When a team is devoid of major talent, declining vets, and a lot of promising young players, you know the results won’t be great. But the point is to develop those young guys, so when you are ready to make a push, they’ve made all their mistakes when you’re bad.
However, apparently I am an idiot for thinking Megna and Chaput deserved more time with the Sedins than Goldobin, Granlund, Boeser, and even Horvat when it came to the Power Play. If you think Willie handled this team well, even in an average way, you completely missed the point of this season.
There’s also this underlying narrative that the Canucks were trying to make the playoffs. So you want to keep a coach who thinks the best way to make the playoffs is playing an AHL castoff on your top line and keep your best prospect and leading scorer off the top Power Play unit for much of the season? You know what that gets you? 69 points and 29th place.
I never expected this team to contend with the Blackhawks or even the Wild, despite their much improved play. But I did expect to see a lot of these prospects we have and that management loves promoting. Instead we got contradicting statements again and again, media blame, and a lot of ice time wasted on guys who will be gone next season or the one after.
This was a lost season anyway you cut it. Strides with young guys were not nearly what they should have been, and the acquisitions touted by management fell flat. I think its safe to say blame can be laid from the coaching staff all the way up to ownership for this one.