Projecting the Vancouver Canucks' Opening Night Roster

1 month ago  /  NHL Trade Rumors  /  Read Time: 2 minutes 18 seconds
Projecting the Vancouver Canucks' Opening Night Roster

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We're now less than four weeks from the start of the NHL season. Teams are finalizing their rosters and signing their RFAs, and players are arriving for training camps. In the case of the Canucks, there are two significant players who still need new contracts before they can be brought in for camp and preseason, those being Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. We can assume those deals will get done; the Canucks have plenty of cap room to fit them both in, even at the larger salaries they will both command. The clock is ticking for Jim Benning to get these deals done, and once he does, the Canucks can officially start looking toward the new season. As it approaches, here is what Vancouver's forward group looks like:J.T. Miller - Elias Pettersson - Brock BoeserTanner Pearson - Bo Horvat - Connor GarlandNils Hoglander - Jason Dickinson - Vasily PodkolzinTyler Motte - Brandon Sutter - Zack MacEwanMatthew HighmoreNic PetanThe additions of Garland and Dickinson give the Canucks a lot more depth in their top 9 than they had last season. The trade for Garland also offloaded a ton of salary that allows for more flexibility through the lineup. Podkolzin is still an unproven commodity, but given his performance in the KHL and at the World Juniors, he looks ready for NHL duties. Should that not prove to be the case, Matthew Highmore will jump into the lineup at either 3 or 4RW. This is a much improved forward group for Vancouver, and barring any injury issues, they should be a much more competitive team than what we saw last season.On defence, another new face is shaking up the core, one that could prove to be extremely valuable:Quinn Hughes - Tyler MyersOliver Ekman-Larsson - Travis HamonicOlli Juolevi - Luke SchennTucker PoolmanJack RathboneOnce again, this group looks much improved over what the Canucks were working with last season. The right side is certainly weaker than the left, but the addition of Luke Schenn to the mix should help steady things, particularly for Juolevi who is still working to round into the high-skill NHL defender he was drafted to be. Hamonic and Myers are fairly interchangeable at this point, and either one could slot into the top pair at a moment's notice. As for OEL, he'll have a smaller workload with the Canucks than when he was in Arizona, and that may be enough to get his game back on track. If not, it marks a perfect opportunity for Juolevi to seize that position and make his mark on the team that drafted him.In net, the Canucks have one of the league's best young netminders, and a seasoned NHL vet backing him up:Thatcher DemkoJaroslav HalakMichael DiPietroAs he proved last season, Demko is ready for a full-time starter's role in the NHL, and the Canucks are operating as such. Rather than run it back with Braden Holtby as a part of the tandem, the Canucks bought him out and are intending to lean on Demko for the majority of their games, bringing in Halak to be a reliable and experienced backup for their young star. Should one suffer an injury this season, we may see DiPietro called up for another crack at the NHL.What do you think about this Canucks roster, and what would you change?Photo credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports...

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