Brayden Fengler / May 15, 2022
Over the past week, I spent time reaching out to a number of Canucks fans, 22 to be exact. Now that the dust has well settled on the Canucks’ playoff ambitions, I wanted to see what this small sample size of fans had to say, about how they viewed this past Canucks season. This article features 22 thoughts from 22 different fans, on the 2021-22 season.
I gave very few instructions in my request sent to each of the fan contributors that you will read from below. I simply asked for their “one thought” on the season. Could be a player-focused thought, could be a more general observation, really anything. As you will see below, I received just that, a plethora of takeaways from some of the brave souls that put themselves through watching this last Canucks campaign.
All 22 thoughts have been organized into rough categories, as there were of course some similar thoughts about this season. However, despite any parallel thinking, the unique approach taken by each of the 22 Canucks fans, makes this piece a special read. Some people even doubled down and sent me more thoughts on this season than I could fit into this one article.
So if you see any ellipsis mixed into the paragraphs below, just know that that was my doing, trying to hold them back from taking my job (he says while writing for a site that he pays for, and definitely turns no profit).
So sit back relax, and enjoy this sampling of what your fellow Canuckleheads thought of this past season.
Standout Players and Personel
kwïn hüz /blm/ @riotsurvivor
Podkolzin might not be a Calder nominee this season, but if he continues improving at the same pace he did at the end of the season, he’s probably going to end up as one of the top three players from his rookie class.
JABO Vancouver @jabo_vancouver
The most important thing that came out of this season was a coach came in and reminded the players that are entrusted with this team’s future that if they put in the work they can achieve great things.
Andrew Ng @Crash_VC
Despite a slow start, the confidence Elias Pettersson mustered in the latter half of the season under Bruce Boudreau to put up 51 points in his last 43 games will be something Petey can always look back at in his career. I have a strong feeling this will continue in the seasons to come and that’s something all Canucks fans should be excited about!
Johnny Canuck Down Under @NuckDownUnder
Quinn Hughes stuck most with me this season. After looking like the league had figured him out, he adapted to have a franchise record-breaking season.
Constantine Maragos @CMaragos123
My one thought for this season is Quinn Hughes’ improvement of his defensive game. He looks much more comfortable in his own zone, and the numbers back it up. He could shake the “offensive defenceman” label and become widely regarded as an elite two-way defenceman as early as next year.
VAN KUUMA (40-30-12) @mr_bear26
One thing that stuck with me the most is my realizing how ridiculously good Pettersson is and will be. This is supposed to be his down year and yet he reached his career-high in Goals and Point total. After the all-star break he played out of his mind and played at a 100 pt pace, I can only imagine what it will be like when he hits his prime and plays a full season at that level.
The biggest most important move, the Canucks did this season, was adding, then re-signing, Spencer Martin. I believe he’s going to be the perfect compliment for Thatcher Demko going into next season. He’s capable of starting 25-30 games for the team, giving Demko the much needed rest and management that he needs to continue to be elite. You can see Martin has a high level of “compete”, much like Dan Cloutier used to have. Maybe not the most polished backup in the league, but there are enough ingredients that Ian Clark can mold and work with. And to go out on a limb, with other key roster moves, on the back end, and maybe a tightened up the defensive scheme, I think the pair of them could challenge for a Jennings.
My one thought or one word on the season would be leadership. The lack of leadership and stubbornness from above resulting in poor records has sadly fallen into the lap of the Captain Bo Horvat. Horvat who has been the only reliable and consistent force or voice throughout the infamous and listless last 8 years. Bo who has “never had linemates” “isn’t a good leader” “isn’t scoring” comes up with a career year in goals, shows up every single time, literally turning this franchise around from the lowest depths I’ve maybe ever witnessed, all in one season. Now the leadership from above can pay back what Bo has paid forward for a good chunk of his young career.
Off the Ice
The biggest takeaway from this season is embracing diversity. The Canucks did this through highlighting two things this season: amazing theme nights and a strong management team. They organized theme nights with spectacular jerseys and intricacies that embraced and encapsulated the diverse experiences of our communities. They also hired Jim Rutherford who built a diverse management team that believed in his vision for the Canucks, getting different voices and experiences and unifying them into one team.
Not The Season We Expected
Gilligan’s Isle @Uytdeman
…The 2021/22 campaign for the Vancouver Canucks will go down in Canucks lore as the turnaround “Bruce there it is”era… Once the Aquilini’s finally pulled the trigger to move on from the old regime and hire confidant Jim Rutherford as President of hockey operations he made one of the savviest moves of the season and brought in character coach Bruce Boudreau… It’s no secret Rutherford wanted to employ a diverse group to guide this team to championship forum and that is just what the Dr ordered for a hockey-mad, diverse fan base such as Vancouver.
What a strange season. I’m not sure why, but despite the advice of those who I listen to most, regarding the Canucks, I had hope for a good season. It wasn’t until mid-November that I really started to realize how wrong I was…On the night of the ‘jersey thrower’ incident, it seemed clear that the age of Benning and Green was coming to an end… It was nice just having a fresh feeling to the team. Boudreau came to town with a personality that the team and the city desperately needed…As much as I give this team a hard time, it’s hard to not be proud of the effort they gave and be thankful for how they made the Canucks a fun team to root for again…
Dan Machholz @DanMachholz
For me, the one thing that sticks out is that the team isn’t as close as I thought they were in terms of the “window opening”. The expectations after the bubble success in 2020 was the Canucks were ready to take the next step this year, but after the terrible start (again) and the front office along with coach staff getting wiped out, it’s clear more work needs to be done …and it’s frustrating knowing more struggling is ahead
5 Canucks Thoughts @5Canuckss
My one thought on the Canucks would be that contrary to popular belief they actually need to improve their forward group more than their defence. Obviously, they need a partner for Hughes on the right side, but until this team gets much, much faster, AND smarter upfront – especially on the top 9 wing spots, they won’t control play well enough to be a contender. I’d Trade Miller, Garland, Myers, and Pearson to make enough cap space to make these changes happen and become a contender.
Clay Imoo @CanuckClay
The Canucks are once again fun to watch and Rogers Arena is a destination place. Take one part Boudreau bump, add some emerging superstars (Demko, Hughes, and Pettersson), and sprinkle in a new management and vision – and you have a recipe for hope and optimism.
Disco Stu @TheDiscoStu
The 21/22 Canucks weren’t as good as we hoped, but they weren’t as bad as we feared either. Petterson’s return to form and the team’s post-green resurgence gave us reason to hope and something to cheer for again, which this fanbase desperately needed. There’s clearly work to be done, but the bones of a playoff team are here. Keep building!
UK Canucks Fans @UKVanFan
If I could sum this season up in one word, it would be ‘hope’ for three reasons. First of all hope for the future, seeing the emergence of genuine superstars like Hughes, Demko, Pettersson, Podkolzin, Hoglander etc…The second reason I would use the word hope is the hope that new Management and coaching has given us fans this season…The final reason is simply the essence of being a Canucks fan, knowing that however unlikely, we can always hope that this year is, finally, our year, and really, isn’t that why we all keep torturing ourselves!
I’m feeling optimistic. Leaving the arena after the infamous “jersey toss” game on December 4th I was feeling apathetic towards Canucks hockey. 5 months later we have a management team in place that seems to have a realistic view of this team, and an actual plan in place. It’s going to take a lot of work, and maybe a bit of luck, but there is reason to be excited about hockey in Vancouver again.
The season went from bad to better to good. I would call it a success. Hopefully, after some offseason moves this team will be good the for all of next season
Alien Pete @AlienPete40
I found this season very entertaining to watch especially when Petey, Brock, and Hughes were on their games. However, I think the team has lacked consistency and had many slow starts to games which I hope they can work on next season. I’m very optimistic that our young guys will continue to improve.
BRUCE BOUDREAU SZN @canuckdemkos
I believe the Canucks are on the right track to be a contender. However, the blue line will be very difficult to rebuild. The front office has to make some tough decisions, in terms of cap management and contracts, and hopefully, they make the correct decisions
This season has been a roller coaster for fans, from being down in the dumps to chanting “Bruce, there it is!”. With Boudreau as coach, we got to see our star players shine, and I have some optimism for next season for sure!
playoff mode @flowlikeboes
I came into this season with high expectations for the Canucks with a refreshed roster. After all, they couldn’t be worse than last season could they? The first 25 games told me they were in fact worse somehow, until Bruce, Jim, and Patrik came along and righted the ship. Are there still changes that need to be made to the roster to become a true contender? Of course, there are some minor tweaks that should be made but the direction the team is heading is very bright. I’m looking forward to seeing what a full season of Bruce behind the bench does for the team. Will they continue on the trajectory they were headed in the last 57 games or are we in for another season somewhere between mediocrity and downright bad? Only time will tell.
There you have it. Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Vasily Podkolzin, Spencer Martin, and coach Bruce are among some notable standouts from this sample of Canucks fans. Quinn busting his +/- slump from last season, sure won his rightful place back in the hearts of many fans, and despite Petey’s slump, he nevertheless redeemed himself towards the end of the season.
Podz and Martin, two Canucks noobies, are also definitely deserving of notoriety by this fan base, and who can forget coach Bruce, and what impact he’s made on the team.
Deservingly so there was also a mention of how the Canucks positively represented diversity this year. Which is quite possibly deserving of another article all in itself, to highlight all that this franchise has done to include rarely highlighted sections of our local communities into the conversation around the game that we all love.
Despite the ups and downs of the team on the ice. The Canucks organization never missed a beat this year in their efforts, to organically creatively, and loudly celebrate diverse aspects of the local community.
Overall optimism seems to be the most powerful emotion, protruding from each one of the comments that I received. Some fans (like me) thought that this team was closer to being a true contender this year than they ended up being.
However, even those fans that had to watch their predictions and excitement for the team come crashing down at the start of the year, were ultimately built back up by the end of the season. Moves made off the ice this year have given the whole organization a brand new feeling, a feeling of hope, that for once does not come at the price of having to ignore past blunders. This is a new team, that has shown real promise. Canucks fans are right to be optimistic.