Originally written January 19, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
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Hockey is here again This year’s Vancouver Canucks are very similar to the team we witnessed fall to the LA Kings last April. While the lockout has changed the landscape of the 2013 season significantly, the core personnel in Vancouver remain the same. My predictions this season are on the conservative side due to the uncertainty at play, but know I’m sure to look like a fool this summer when hindsight hunts me down. Below is my best guess at what the Vancouver Canucks will look like in 2013. Canucks 2013 MVP? Cory Schneider will rack up the wins, the Sedins will score points, but I see Chris Higgins emerging as Vancouver’s 2013 MVP. He will be needed all over the lineup, and has shown little weakness playing in a variety of positions with the Canucks. 2013 Team MVP? Time will tell… Canucks Goalie with the best GAA? Roberto Luongo. With Schneider slotted as the starter, Luongo could receive easier starts involving less pressure. Best +/- on the team? Dan Hamhuis retains the crown. Canucks leading goal scorer will be? Daniel Sedin. Leading team in points? Henrik Sedin. Lead team in assists? Henrik Sedin. Best defenceman award goes to? Dan Hamhuis. TEAM PROPS Canucks will win the President’s Trophy? The Canucks will regress slightly and fail to retain the President’s Trophy. How many points will the Canucks finish with in 2013 season? Expecting regression and adjusting to a shortened season, call it an even 60. How many wins will the Canucks finish with? 27 Will the Canucks win the Northwest division? Yes they will. Will they have a winning record vs. Chicago? Yes, I think the motivation for revenge swings this rivalry in Vancouver’s favour. Will they have a winning record vs. Calgary? Yes of course. Will they have a winning record vs. Edmonton? Is Edmonton cold? PLAYER PROPS Will Ryan Kesler will play before the playoffs? Yes/ no? Yes, Kesler will rejoin the team late in the regular season but will be a step behind come playoffs. Henrik will edge out his brother for the top goal scorer again. (Photo – Jenn Vinnick/NHL/Getty Images) Will Roberto Luongo be on the team come opening game? Damn right he will. Luongo stays until the trade deadline, or for the entire season. Will Align Vigneault be the coach come playoffs? Of course he will. Twin with more points? Daniel/Hank? Henrik will edge out his brother the goal scorer again. How many games will Schneider play this year? 32. I wouldn’t be surprised if Luongo stays the entire season and plays a healthy role as a backup. Who will Mike Gillis trade for before the season starts? I wish I had an answer. Hours before hockey’s glorious return GM MG seems quiet. Will the Canucks make a big splash at the trade deadline? Yes they will. Whether Roberto Luongo is involved or not is the tougher question. Who plays the most games on the wing w/ the Sedins in 2013 Reg. Season? Alex Burrows will get the most games alongside the Sedins, but don’t be surprised if Zack Kassian challenges for the position, especially late in the season when the pressure is on the Sedins to produce. What seed in the Western Conference will the Canucks get for playoffs? The Canucks will finish 3rd, last of the three divisional leaders in a tight race. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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