The Canucks Are Last in the North. What Comes Next?

The Vancouver Canucks had high expectations set after a second round playoff exit appearance last season. Many had then pegged to make playoffs this season, some even predicted they finish first. After last night’s 6-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators, they are sitting in last place in Canada. What is next for Vancouver?

Rogers Arena

Niel Mcleod / flickr

The Canucks do have games in hand on all the teams in front of them after an extended break due to positive Covid tests, the likelihood of them staying in last at the end of the season is next to none. So is making a playoff appearance after dropping 2/3 straight games against Ottawa, the team occupying bottom spot in Canada since day one of the season. The Canucks’ next eight games are all against the top three teams in Canada, which does not bode well for a miracle push.

After coming into the season with such high expectations, fans are left asking what went wrong, and what comes next?

At the start of the year, it was the Montreal Canadiens and Tyler Toffoli that were the Canucks’ boogeyman. Toffoli was let go by the Canucks in the offseason, a move that has given fans nightmares ever since. Tyler Toffoli is currently Montreal’s leading scorer with 36 points in 45 games. 13 of these points have come against Vancouver, and the fourth place Habs would have been the team Vancouver needed to pass to reach playoffs. Ouch.

Inconsistency has plagued the Canucks this season. One game they look great, the next completely disorganized. Vancouver’s longest winning steak of the season is four games, which they have achieved twice. Following these streaks, they lost six and three games in a row.

Throw in the leagues largest covid exposure and injuries to key players like Elias Petterson, and you have a very disappointing season.

Fans have been calling for the head of general manager Jim Benning since the very start of the season. #firebenning has been trending on twitter more than once, and fans have purchased advertising space around town to convey the same message.

Benning has been the team’s general manager since 2014 and is responsible for the rebuild that the team has undergone, including drafting three players that were all nominated for the rookie of the year Calder Memorial Trophy. Letting Toffoli walk may be the mistake that ends his tenure with the team in the offseason, and coach Travis Green could be on thin ice.

Some changes need to be made to the team, but given all of the outside influences on the season, how much of the blame lies on management, how much lands on players, and how much was completely unavoidable?

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