Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 8/5/13
Part III In the first two roster previews, I gave you a glimpse at the state of the Vancouver Canucks defence and goalies. In continuing with these state of the position blogs, that leaves me with just the group in charge of putting pucks in the net, rather than keeping them out. The forwards. Injuries Ahoy! It’s hard to muster much in the way of offence when two-thirds of your top six forwards are missing; something you’d know all too well if you watched the Canucks last season. When they weren’t missing Ryan Kesler, they were missing David Booth — and for a huge chunk of the season they missed out on both. Zack Kassian got off to a hot start, but proved to be no replacement for the polarizing sniper (there’s my obligatory joke about David Booth’s love of hunting) over the long term. Jordan Schroeder played admirably and his production was consistent if not meager, but he is no replacement for Ryan Kesler. While it’s kind of the new thing around town to blame Alain Vigneault for EVERYTHING that went wrong last season, maybe we can let him off the hook for the lack of offence? What will the offensive lines look like next season? (Photo: faceoff.com) When it became clear to the Canucks coaching staff  - and everyone else unfortunate enough to watch the Canucks early in the season – that Kassian and Schroeder couldn’t fill the boots of Kesler and Booth, things got kind of crazy. The likes of Mason Raymond, Alex Burrows and even Chris Higgins started to see time at center, with varied results; Burrows was bearable, Raymond was Raymond and Higgins was just kind of there. The Canucks center depth was put to the test, and failed miserably. It’s bad enough the Canucks found a way to justify keeping Raymond around for last season, but having him as a second line center speaks volumes of the depth this club started the season with. At the end of the day, for better not worse, last season was a wash for this club’s forwards. Their jack of all trades and two-way star, Kesler, was out for the majority of the season and that just threw everything out of whack. The Sedins production went down as they were forced to be more defensively responsible, Jannik Hansen somehow became a top-six forward and the lines were in constant flux. The sooner we forget about last season, the better. Nothing to see here, move along. And What About This Season? The parts are more or less the same as last season. Can Torts and Gillis turn things around next season? (Photo: cbc.ca) Vancouver was seriously lacking in the salary cap space department, and as such couldn’t make much in the way of a splash in free agency. To this point the focus of Mike Gillis has primarily been retaining key RFAs like Jordan Schroeder and more importantly Dale Weise. That’s not to say Gillis hasn’t brought in any fresh faces, but they are mostly of the depth forward variety. Exhilarating, I know. So, with that in mind where do the Canucks go from here? For the first time since their 2011 Stanley Cup run they get to start the season with a healthy squad. The lynch-pin of their power play and offensive catalyst in general, Ryan Kesler will be there from the get-go, along with fellow countryman and presumably linemate David Booth. This will bode well for the club’s offensive fortunes as they try to lay claim to their newly anointed Pacific Division. Now, about those lines. For the first time in a long time, we’re kind of left guessing what’s in store. John Tortorella is the new sheriff, and nobody seems to know exactly what he has in store; Tortorella included. The only pseudo-certainty is that Zack Kassian will be put back on the first line with the Sedins. Other than that, we’re all left guessing. And while we’re guessing away, have a gander at my guess for the Canucks four offensive lines… Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Zack Kassian, David Booth – Ryan Kesler – Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins – Jordan Schroeder – Jannik Hansen, Brad Richardson – Kellen Lain – Dale Weise. Kassian with the Sedins makes sense because even if he’s not scoring, he can at the very least be their guardian on the ice. Besides, it worked well in the early parts of last season, so why not try it again? With Kassian playing right wing on the first line, that slides Burrows down to the second where he’ll be reunited with fellow shift-disturber Ryan Kesler. The third line is more less the same as it was for a large part of last season, except with Schroeder there as a full time member. The fourth line gets the biggest shake up of all the lines. Newly acquired Brad Richardson, despite being a natural center, will be shifted to the wing to accommodate the arrival of former college player and current behemoth Kellen Lain at center. Dale Weise, well, he’s still there doing whatever it is he does on the right wing. Enjoy. Like this lineup? Hate it? Let me know in the comments section down below. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

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

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

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