by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
You can certainly make the argument that the Vancouver Canucks have improved more than any other team in the Pacific Division so far this offseason, setting themselves up for a shot to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. After four years of missing the postseason, the Canucks are also a solid sleeper on the 2020 Stanley Cup odds at +4000 (bet $100 to win $4000) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Shoring up the team’s defense was a priority for Vancouver when the free agency period opened, and adding two quality blueliners in Tyler Myers (previously of the Winnipeg Jets) and Jordie Benn (Montreal Canadiens) should help. Myers is a big body at 6-foot-8 and 229 pounds while Benn was plus-15 last year for Montreal. The club re-signed defenseman Alexander Edler as well to prevent him from becoming a free agent.
In addition, the Canucks have added some offensive firepower to help support youngsters like reigning Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson and 22-year-old winger Brock Boeser in J.T. Miller (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Micheal Ferland (Carolina Hurricanes). Miller (47 points on 13 goals and 34 assists last season) was acquired in a trade with the Lightning, and Ferland (40 points on 17 goals and 23 assists) just inked a four-year deal with an average annual value of $3.5 million on Wednesday.
With some of the top teams in the Pacific limited by salary-cap issues, Vancouver has gone out and spent money in hopes of contending for a playoff spot this year and paying out NHL odds. Last season, the Canucks totalled 81 points, which was nine behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final postseason berth in the Western Conference. They were also fifth in the division, ahead of the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings.
After seeing the Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik) retire following the 2017-18 campaign, Vancouver seems to be turning things around quickly with a strong youth movement. The only real concern is that general manager Jim Benning is in the final year of his contract, although maybe his early gambles will pay off and lead to an extension.