Originally posted on Rob The Hockey Guy  |  Last updated 4/1/12

The Canucks took back top spot in the conference Saturday night with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. With only three games remaining in the regular season, the Canucks sit one point up on the St Louis Blues and tied in points with the New York Rangers for top spot in the entire league (although the Canucks would lose the tie breaker). So the question burning in my head right now is… are the Canucks better positioned to win their first Stanley Cup this year or last year?

The success of last year’s team is well documented. They won the President’s Trophy with a startling 117 points, a full 10 points ahead of the next closest team. This year, the Canucks already have 107 points and could get as much as 113 if they win their final three games.

Lets compare each time, at this point in the season and see how they match up:

2010-11:

Sedin-Sedin-Burrows

Raymond-Kesler-Samuelsson

Hansen-Lapierre-Torres

Higgins-Bolduc-Glass

Hamhuis-Bieksa

Edler-Ehrhoff

Salo-Ballard

Luongo

Schneider

Extras: Rome, Alberts, Tanev, Hodgson, Tambellini, Oreskovich

2011-12

Sedin-Sedin-Burrows

Booth-Kesler-Raymond

Hansen-Pahlsson-Higgins

Lapierre-Malhotra-Kassian

Hamhuis-Bieksa

Edler-Salo

Ballard-Tanev

Luongo

Schneider

Extras: Gragnani, Rome, Alberts, Weise, Ebbett, Bitz, Reinprecht

Of course, just because a player appears on both lists doesn’t mean that the player is ‘the same player’. Clearly, the Sedins, Kesler and Luongo are not having the same statistical years. Manny Malhotra is a shadow of his former self and I omitted him completely from last year’s team because he was out with a long term injury (he played sparingly in 6 games in the finals). Tanev is better this year, so is Higgins and Lapierre. Statistically, Hansen, Bieksa, Salo and Schneider have been better than last year as well.

Christian Ehrhoff is gone from the team this year, as is Mikael Samuelsson, Raffi Torres and Tanner Glass. They have been replaced with Gragnani,  Booth, Pahlsson and Kassian.

But of course, statistics don’t tell the whole story. X-factors like experience, grit and defensive responsibility are hard to measure. The players from last year’s team are better prepared for the rigor and pressure of the Stanley Cup playoffs this time around. They are also better prepared to deal with injuries, something that crippled them last year in the Stanley Cup final. The players slated to start the playoffs in the press box are improved, particularly on forward.

So while the Canucks seem to have less high end talent with the Sedins and Kesler not as dangerous and the departure of Ehrhoff, they have better depth and more options. They are a 4 line team when last year they were a 3 line team. If Mason Raymond struggles this year, they can promote Andrew Ebbett or Zach Kassian instead of Jeff Tambellini. David Booth should be a better player than Mikael Samuelsson.

This team isn’t as sexy as last year’s team. They don’t score as many goals, they aren’t as cocky and there isn’t as much hype. This isn’t an anniversary season for the team either, and there has been way fewer homemade Canucks songs popping up on YouTube.

Overall, the Canucks are a worse regular season team this year, but potentially a better playoff team. The problem is that this is a tougher year to win it all than it was last year. The elite teams are better this year than last in my opinion, so even if the Canucks are better, it might still not be enough. Of course, that’s why they play the games and the Canucks are in a group of about 6-8 teams that have an excellent shot at winning it all. Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

Broncos safety Shiloh Keo arrested for DUI

Mountain West admits error, says Boise St. shot was good

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA Skills Challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

Ejected John Calipari tweets “they don’t need me and I love it”

Popovich would 'buy ticket' to watch Warriors play

Jamal Murray destroyed South Carolina defender with dunk

WATCH: Lon Kruger gets Oklahoma hoops squad hype for Kansas test

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker