Three questions facing the Vancouver Canucks

NHL.com offers in-depth analysis of each of its 32 teams from August 8 to September 8. Today, there are three important questions facing the Vancouver Canucks.

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1. any Elias Peterson Will appear?

It was a story of two halves last season for the 23-year-old center, who struggled after missing training camp before signing a three-year, $22 million contract (average annual value of $7.35 million) on October 3. He made a slow start two seasons ago, with 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in his first 37 games last season before earning 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists) in his last 43 games, with a pace of 97. More than 82 games.

“He has the talent to keep it up,” said coach Bruce Boudreaux, who added the death penalty to Peterson’s duties after he became coach on December 5, 2021, replacing Travis Green. “I expect him to come excited to play. He knows where he is now. He’s killing penalties. He’s playing hard, and he plays a regular rotation in the center, so he’s getting icy time and I’m expecting big things from him this year.”

2. Could the same defense produce better results?

Vancouver has been open about wanting to improve its defense since the end of last season. Rutherford criticized the group that relied heavily on the number 1 goalkeeper Thatcher Demko Despite moving from 23rd in the National Hockey League in goals (3.16 goals per game) to fifth (2.67) after Boudreaux became coach, he singled out defensive offense as “probably one of the worst in the league”. With the same group back, can defensive play be improved?

“Playing with more structure will make the difference, and also better balance for the attackers, and hopefully having more pucks makes a difference in our defence,” said Hockey Operations Chief Jim Rutherford.

Video: Demko is ranked 6th on the list of the top 10 goalkeepers

3. Can Demko take another step forward?

The 26-year-old had an excellent first full season as the Canucks’ No. 1 goalkeeper, going 33-22-7 with a 2.72 goal-for-average and .915 save percentage that ranked him 14th in the NHL. Last season he played (64) more than all but two goalkeepers, Poetry in Saros From Nashville Predators (67) and Connor Hellbuick of the Winnipeg Jets (66), and like Sarros his season ended early with a lower body injury. Demko’s performance has declined significantly in the last four games before he was knocked out in the final week of the season due to injury.

If Vancouver is ever hoping to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs, it will need a healthy and rested Demko once it gets there.

“I don’t like goalkeepers’ goals, but we have to be aware of the workload, the number of games he plays in a row and the number of shots he gets,” Rutherford said. “Last year was really his first year as the man and now between him and (goalkeeping coach) Ian [Clark] and Bruce [Boudreau]They will all feel better about how they can manage what he’s doing.”

It will be up to Spencer Martinwho went 3-0-3 with a 1.74 GAA and 0.950 savings percentage last season but played nine NHL games, and Colin Deliawho agreed to a one-year contract on July 13, to play well enough in the backup role to give Demko enough nights of rest.