Horvat, Boeser the new faces of post-Sedin Canucks

With franchise icons Daniel and Henrik Sedin lost to retirement, the Vancouver Canucks begin the process of creating an entirely new identity.

Vancouver also has high hopes for Swedish rookie Elias Pettersson

(Illustration/Alexis Allison)

If the Ottawa Senators are undergoing a rebuild, then the Vancouver Canucks are in the midst of a cultural revolution.

For virtually all of their 17 seasons, Henrik and Daniel Sedin were the Vancouver Canucks. They carried a huge load, not only on the ice but in the community and with the media. They made things that much easier on all their teammates.

Add in the departure of team president and Canucks legend Trevor Linden and a whole chapter has been turned, never mind just a page.

But there is a future. Bo Horvat (22G, 22A-44 pts) and Calder Trophy finalist Brock Boeser (29-26-55) are joined by Swedish rookie centre Elias Pettersson, the No. 5 pick overall in the 2017 draft, who put up 56 points in 44 games with Vaxjo of the Swedish league.

Pettersson will likely start the season on the second line.

Down the road will be their No. 7 overall pick from this year's draft, U.S. defenceman Quinn Hughes.

For now, though, coach Travis Green and Canucks fans will have to hold their noses and accept the rebuild.

The team was 26th in offence last season, and considering the retired Sedins were the Canucks' No. 2 and 3 point-getters, it's unlikely to improve.

CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo looks at each Canadian team: 

What you need to know about every Canadian NHL team

4 years ago
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After a busy off-season, CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo catches you up on the changes to Canada's 7 NHL teams.

The defence wasn't much better — 259 goals allowed last season, sixth worst in the league — and returns this season pretty much intact. Injuries last season to Chris Tanev, Erik Gudbranson and Alex Edler contributed to those struggles, so better luck in the health department by itself could lead to improvement.

In goal, both Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson are just holding the net for the next goalie of the future. If that turns out to be Thatcher Demko, the Canucks' second-round pick in the 2014 draft, then GM Brian Benning can at least cross that off the to-do list.

Rebuilds are inevitable for most teams, and the Canucks at least are stocked with draft picks. 

In the meantime, playing in a stacked Western Conference will provide a regular challenge for their young players that, if combined with patience, will help in their development. 

Names and numbers:

2017-2018 record: 31-40-11 (73 points) 7th in Pacific Division, missed playoffs

New faces: F Elias Pettersson, F Jay Beagle, F Antoine Roussel, F Tim Schaller​

Key forwards: Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Sven Baertschi, Loui Eriksson, Sam Gagner, Elias Pettersson​

Key defencemen: Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Michael Del Zotto, Erik Gudbranson​

No. 1 goaltender: Jacob Markstrom​


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