If you feel the Canucks could dig a God sized hole in October you're not overreacting, and you're not alone. We say New Jersey have a great record down the stretch last season but their poor start cost them a spot in the post season. Toronto had one of the best records after the all star break last year but a slow start cost them. It may not cost the Canucks a playoff spot, but it might cost them the Pacific title or home ice. Help is on the way, but management knew the injury status of two key top six forwards and retained Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre, who have played very well thus far, then went in to free agency to give stupid money to perennial 20 goal man Marco Sturm...it wasn't enough. The worst part is watching the Canucks get beaten up still and wondering why Sturm got a pay day and Raffi Torres was allowed to walk for next to nothing.
Still this team is largely the same one that was within one win of the big prize last season so we should be fine, but the flip side to that coin is that we're still missing a power forward in the top six; someone who can bring a secondary offensive threat and some muscle at the same time.
I shamelessly endorse Mike Gillis all the time and I will continue to. It seems to me that he's content to hope for the best until Kess and Raymond are back, then switch CoHo to the wing with kess and whomever looks like the best fit on the second line. I can really see that being a great option. Hodgson is a horrible skater but he has shown incredible patience in the slot and seems to have a bag of tricks in the offensive zone.
But where the team might be in a month is not the question, it's the here and now, and can this second-rate Canucks roster hold up long enough until reinforcements are here? It's really not looking like it.
I would love to see Ryan Clowe, Rene Bourque, Ryan Callahan, Chris Stewart, Nathan Horton, Dustin Brown or Brenden Morrow on a line with Ryan Kessler. Darren Archibald looks like he could one day be a 20+ goal top six power forward but he is a long ways away.
Whether the Canucks turn it around when healthy or not I feel they need to look at finding this gritty top six winger. Two of the guys I mentioned were traded last season; did the other GM's not think to shop there coveted power forwards to this soft-serve of the NHL? If they do manage to find the elusive top six forward with gutts it will be a crowded house up front but if they want to get one more win in the playoffs this year it's a must.