The Vancouver Canucks might just be the most improved team in the Pacific Division going into the 2019-20 season, and oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com have taken notice. The Canucks finished with 81 points a year ago, which was good enough for fifth place out of the seven teams in the Pacific. But this season, Vancouver’s points total OVER/UNDER is listed at 90.5 after making some positive offseason moves.
The Canucks have certainly improved defensively with the addition of Tyler Myers, who was one of their biggest free-agent signings to fill a void on the right side. They also added another defenseman in free-agent signing Jordie Benn and made a trade to improve their offense, acquiring forward J.T. Miller in a deal with a Tampa Bay Lightning team that needed to move some of their high-priced players.
Miller had 47 points (13 goals and 34 assists) for the Lightning last year and should add a veteran presence to a locker room loaded with young talent, led by Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson (66 points on 28 goals and 38 assists as a rookie in 2018-19).
However, Vancouver still has some work to do this offseason, as budding star Brock Boeser is a restricted free agent who needs to be re-signed as well. The Canucks are expected to keep him, but his health remains an issue as he has missed 33 games the previous two seasons due to injuries. Still, he has 55 goals and 56 assists during that stretch and is an important part of the youth movement in Vancouver.
While the defense should be much-improved, the Canucks will need goaltender Jacob Markstrom to continue to improve as well. A former second-round pick of the Florida Panthers, the 29-year-old Markstrom posted a career-high 28 wins and had a respectable 2.77 goals-against average with a .912 save percentage. Thatcher Demko, the team’s second-round pick in 2014, will be counted on to spell Markstrom as his backup after Anders Nilsson was dealt to the Ottawa Senators in January.
If they can work together nicely for a full season, Vancouver should have no problem totaling more than 90 points for OVER backers on the NHL betting lines and making a run at a playoff spot in the West.