The 2024-25 Canucks, a Disappointing End to a Remarkable Season

By: Brayden Fengler / May 22, 2024  

There is no sugarcoating it, right now the Canucks are no longer playing for the Stanley Cup and it sucks for Canucks fans.

In a few weeks, it might be some consolation to reflect on the excellent performances that came out of this Canucks season, but right now it just feels like failure. Good just isn’t good enough to get the prize that Canucks fans wanted so badly.

Stats that highlight impressive performances for the team and specific players ring a bit hollow right now. But you have to move forward, you have to keep going. There is a lot of room left on the road for this Canucks team, and this season has highlighted that.

Seriously, What a Remarkable Season

Post-season results aside this season was fantastic. That statement is something Canucks fans have known to be true for a while, barring a few very minor ups and downs in the regular season the Canucks hardly faltered all year long.

Vancouver suffered four back-to-back losses in late February, but never again did they go as many regular season games without a win. They had eight different stretches of consecutive wins of three or more games and two stretches of five straight wins in a row.

From the jump, this season the Canucks were quickly top contenders in the Pacific Division. Vancouver then reached the peak of being the first team in the Pacific, a position they held into the postseason. Additionally, although it didn’t last until the end of the season, for a significant stretch of time during this campaign the Canucks were the best team in the Western Conference and the entire NHL.

In the hunt for something beyond regular season accolades, these facts may have been understandably cast aside by some. But zooming out, and looking at the season in comparison to other recent years, this campaign is such a remarkable improvement that it’s still hard to comprehend. Harder still for those who watched this team through years of mediocrity.

The Canucks ended their regular season with 50 wins, a total that they hadn’t reached since the 2011-12 season. Last season they had 38 wins. Again these facts don’t feel like a lot now, but the course of seasons past has more than been corrected this year, and there’s no reason to think that at least 50 wins isn’t obtainable again next year.

Highlights of the Playoffs

Simply being in these playoffs was a breath of fresh air for the franchise and its fans. Vancouver’s game one 4-2 win over Nashville in the opening round was a spiritual release for the City. Anyone who witnessed that game could feel the electricity of the building igniting something special across BC.

There was so much pride in being a Canucks fan after that game. This win really kicked off the postseason experience where everyone’s neighbour and their dog started keeping up with the team. For better or worse this level of engagement from the general public is something that only happens in the playoffs. Although some fans may detest the very notion of watching the bandwagon begin to buckle at the seams, there’s no denying how cool it felt this past month to have everyone and everything repping blue and green.

Cancuks’ fans new and old quickly found out that the joys of game one would not go untested, as news broke the following day that Thatcher Demko had injured himself in the first game.

At the time this felt like a blow to the astronomically high expectations help for the team, and in hindsight, it may seem like the first clue towards the disappointing final result. But as disappointing to Demko and to Vancouver fans as this news was, moments like that are all a part of the journey of watching sports. Even after this news, the Canucks postseason was still a remarkable journey in spite of this and other setbacks for the team.

Through the challenging times came opportunities that no one (shy of Ian Clark) could have predicted. If a month before the playoffs, Canucks fans had been told that the majority of this season’s postseason games would be played with Abbotsford’s starter in net, I’m sure the responses would be less than positive.

But not only did Artūrs Šilovs start for the Canucks, he outdid himself, winning six playoff games by the end of the postseason run, all while having only had nine NHL regular season games to his name before this. Not only did this remarkably bright silver lining come out of what was originally terrible news. But everyone in the Canucks community also had the privilege of getting their fashion horizons expanded by Šilovs.

In the end yes, Edmonton outplayed the Canucks in key moments of the second round, to not only force game seven when the Canucks had a 3-2 series lead going into game six. But Edmonton straight-up outmuscled the Canucks for the bulk of that final game.

Like the Demko news that came at the beginning of the playoffs, this last game was also overshadowed by the news of another key injury in Brock Boeser, who is dealing with blood clotting. Boeser’s health comes first and as a result, he couldn’t participate in game seven.

“What ifs” can really eat you alive if you let them, with Demko, with Boeser, and with a million other little moments in these playoffs. But the important takeaway is that the Canucks entered the playoffs for the first time in years and took their final opponent to the last possible minute of the last possible game.

They did this having suffered significant personal losses, and yet they stayed in it, all the way to the end, to the point where things very easily could’ve gone a different way. There are so many reasons to think that things can go a different way next year.

From Here

The Canucks are in a great spot and don’t need to panic. Using the Canadian comparison for a final time, unlike the Oilers who have been in playoff contention for the last five years and have not been able to push past the Conference Final, the Canucks are only just getting started with their playoff contention streak.

An even stronger version of that Oilers comparison exists by looking at another Canadian team, the Leafs. Toronto has been a team in contention dating back to the 2016-17 season and could be in the process of blowing up their whole operation.

Due to the strides made this season Vancouver can feel confident building off of the many things that are working. Vancouver is not a team that is by any means on the doorstep of imploding like the Leafs. Although the Canucks’ marketing for this season used the tagline “All in” that doesn’t mean that they can’t push their chips in again next year, while they still have a great hand.

There will be a lot of time to talk about the specifics of player movements as the months go on. Dhaliwal already reported that the Canucks are prioritizing Lindholm and Joshua as their first signings of the off-season, with Zadorov and Myers next on their lists.

For now, though, Canucks fans should leave themselves a little time to mourn the loss of what could’ve been, but should remember how bright the future still is.

A big thanks to Painacotta on X, for allowing use of her fantastic Quinn Hughes art work in our articles header.