It seems like every year one of us at NM writes this particular article and it's been going on for too fucking long.
While there is no secret formula to making the playoffs, except winning....which be a secret to the Canucks front office, there are certain areas that can certainly make it easier to get to the second season.
1. 5 vs 5 hockey
Most of this sport is played at even strength and so it should be no surprise that a non-playoff team like the Canucks have trouble in this area. The Canucks were -24 when it came to GF VS GA at 5vs5. To give you some context, the Bruins were +85 and the Golden Knights were +38. Having better overall players would sure help this or at least having a better defensive system to reduce this deficit. A better system might also reduce the amount of penalties that this team took last year, which leads us to point #2
2. Penalty kill or death by penalties
The Canucks were short-handed 243 times last year. That was actually in the lower half of the league for total times....unfortunately, teams were scoring on them almost 30% of the time they were short-handed. The penalty kill has been a sore spot for a couple years and besides not taking penalties, the Canucks need to come into this year with a new way to put pressure on the other team's shooters. A bright spot for the Canucks was the 15 short-handed goals they had....of course karma made sure it got paid with the 14 PP goals against.
3. Finding a 3rd line that can do something.
And by something...I mean anything. Scoring goals or preventing them...something. Strong teams have 4 lines that usually have a label attached to them. The Canucks have struggled to have three consistent lines. It would be great to have a 3rd line that can put up 50-60 goals, but It might almost be better for this team to have a shutdown line against teams like the Oilers and Vegas.
4. Brock scores 30+ goals
Did you know that potential 30 goal scorer Brock Boeser has never scored 30 goals in 6 full seasons? That first season where he had 29 has created some high expectations that Brock has been unable to live up to. I would love Brock to go on a Bo Horvat like tear at the start of the season. The team would surely get some more wins and if he plays better defense....all the better. And then at the deadline....they trade him.
5. Quinn Hughes scores 90 points.
The day that Quinn decides that he wants to score goals is the day that he gets into the top 3 of Norris trophy voting. Quinn has all the talent to dictate play on the ice, but his unselfishness makes it a little easier to cover the other 4 guys on the ice. McDavid was challenged last year to score 60 goals by Draisaitl and that greediness led to teams having to cover his shot...which made it easier for the other guys to score.
6. Someone needs to injure the injury fairies
Demko being injured at the start of last year, playing like shit and then being out while recovering, pretty much did the team in. The Canucks need their core to stay healthy becuase I don't see any of the youth making massive steps to fill in point production.
7. Someone out of the youth has to have a year.