And with the 5th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks select from the London Knights, defenceman Olli Juolevi.
Has some kind of ring to it, doesn’t it?
Next up, 6th-overall, Matthew Tkachuk to the Calgary Flames. 431 NHL games and 152 goals later, compared to Juolevi’s 41 and two, Tkachuk may be on his way out of Calgary and out of the Pacific Division.
This on the heels of fellow winger Johnny Gaudreau skedaddling out of Alberta and heading to Ohio. The left side of the depth chart would be gutted should Tkachuk follow suit, with Flames General Manager Brad Treliving still needing to settle contracts with forward Andrew Mangiapane and defenceman Oliver Kylington.
The Flames finished atop the Pacific Division with 111 points last season, seven ahead of the second place Edmonton Oilers. The Vancouver Canucks finished five points out of the second wild card spot, almost exclusively due to the hole they dug themselves in the first six weeks of the season.
With the changes and potential changes in stampede land, it appears next season’s race in the division should condense. Good for the Vancouver Canucks and the other also-rans. The simple goal is to reach the playoffs by any means possible and with any advantage available.
In 2021-’22, the Flames essentially put the final nail in the Vancouver Canucks season coffin with a 6-3 victory over the BC Boys on April 23rd. Calgary had also beaten Vancouver 5-2 during the key stretch drive on March 19th. It was satisfying revenge for the Flames after the Canucks embarrassed them with a one-off 7-1 victory at Rogers Arena on February 24th. The Flames also won a game in OT 1-0 in January.
Head to head doesn’t mean that much in the big picture, although with four games on the schedule, it’s a 16-point swing. Enough to put the Canucks in the postseason.
Now we wait to see if and how much the playing field is evening up.
Then there’s the unspeakable scenario. Treliving deals for JT Miller to replace the lefty firepower that’s been lost up front. He likes the player a lot.
Nah, let’s cross one crazy bridge at a time.