It’s time for another edition of The Canuck Way mailbag where we answer all your Twitter questions.
Happy BC Day long weekend, dear readers! Vancouver Canucks hockey is returning for the first time in what feels like a million years and it is time for another mailbag here at The Canuck Way.
Site expert Brayden Ursel let me write the mailbag this week and I am very happy to do so. Each week we ask for your Canucks-related questions on Twitter, and you answered with some good ones. I will now go through each question and answer them with my opinion. If you want to ask a question, follow @FSTheCanuckWay on Twitter and look out for the weekly Tweet asking for questions for the mailbag. Without further ado, let’s jump into it!
Jake Virtanen’s offensive game has really improved this year and he was on pace for a 20-goal, 40-point season had the season continued normally. However, the eye test and the analytics will tell you that Virtanen still needs work on his defensive game. He often looks lost defensively and makes some very costly mistakes, as well as losing the battles on the boards and corners in the defensive zone.
To answer your question, I do not think his offensive game outweighs his defensive problems. I think his defensive problems are one of the reasons why Travis Green has been so tough on him and has kept him out of the lineup against the Winnipeg Jets. Part of being a power forward is having a strong defensive game and combining it with physicality and offensive ability. Defense has been a problem for Virtanen for years now and let’s hope he fixes it sooner rather than later.
Personally, I think just getting past the Minnesota Wild will mean a successful playoff run. If the Canucks get passed the Wild, it will give guys like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes playoff experience and shows that this young core is ready to compete on the big stage.
The goal at the beginning of the season was to make the playoffs and hopefully just win one round. I know the qualifying round is technically not the playoffs but making it to the last 16 would be satisfying in my opinion. Plus, the Canucks have not won an actual playoff series (I know, this one is only five games maximum but it is still a series.) since 2011, so it would be nice to change that near 10-year-old statistic.
Honestly, I think the Canucks have a better shot at the first overall pick than going on a deep playoff run. No, this does not mean I am on Team Tank. I would like the Canucks to beat the Wild but I am not sure if they can get passed a team like the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars or the Vegas Golden Knights. I would be very happy to be wrong but I don’t see it happening.
12.5% isn’t a lot but if the Canucks lose to the Wild, it would be their highest draft lottery odds in the last five years. The 12.5% chance has me dreaming of Alexis Lafreniere as a Canuck, but we all know that the Canucks have terrible luck at the draft lottery. I would be happy if the Canucks beat the Wild or lose and have a chance at number one overall either way. Both outcomes are fine.
I expect big things from Pettersson for the qualifying round but if he does struggle in some way, it would probably be his finishing. In his two NHL seasons so far, Pettersson has been prone to missing quality chances and going on a dry spell.
The Wild have a good defence. Guys on the back end like Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin can really shut down their opponent’s top scorers and they did a really good job keeping Pettersson off the score sheet the last time these teams met in February.
Basically, Pettersson has to find a way to bury his chances and get by the Wild’s defence. If he doesn’t, he might be on another scoring slump at the worst possible time in his career.