Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Vancouver Canucks
For the last 16 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 17th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The depth players are gone and and incoming are three solid top-half roster guys in Ferland, Myers and Miller. In Ferland and Miller the Canucks added two more pieces for their top six. If Nikolay Goldobin, Tanner Pearson or longer shots such as Josh Leivo, Jake Virtanen or Sven Baertschi can adequately fill the last slot this team will boast two very good lines. The defense corps has certainly been upgraded, with Myers and rookie Quinn Hughes becoming key parts of the top four, while Benn and Fantenberg upgrade the six and seven slots. Overall, the goals will come more frequently – and that’s just music to fantasy owners’ ears. Not only from the players added, but from the development of the young players already with the team.
Ready for full-time – Quinn Hughes is going to be a franchise defenseman and his talent is already at a level where he can and will make a very quick impact both for the Canucks and his fantasy owners. He is a lock to make the team and I have him penciled in for a 40-point rookie season. He should be drafted in all leagues that have any kind of depth. Read more on Hughes here.
Thatcher Demko is being hailed by some fantasy owners as a goaltender who will take over as the starter by December. And while Demko is a top prospect and his future is very likely that of a starter, he is not there yet. Let’s not forget that Jacob Markstrom had 38 Quality Starts last season, which was fourth in the entire league. And Markstrom’s 63.3 QS% was sixth in the league, but fourth among goalies who saw at least 50 games. So he’s not going anywhere, unless the Canucks can’t extend his contract (which is up next year) before the trade deadline. Read more on Demko here.
Vancouver already has 17 NHL forwards on the team and will have to cut and waive three or four of them unless some injuries happen. So there are no forwards with a decent chance of making the team. However, grinder Zack MacEwen and recently-acquired Francis Perron could get some cups of coffee here and there.
Vancouver Canucks prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Vancouver finished 25th in the league in scoring last season and with the offseason upgrades I have them 20th in 2019-20. How badly does this team need Hughes? A top puck-mover on the blue line has been absent from this team for years. In fact, it’s been eight years since the last Vancouver defenseman reached the 35-point mark (Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa back in 2011-12 both topped 40). And newcomer Myers has that ability as well. Up front the talent is growing and now it’s getting deeper. Elias Pettersson is a legitimate stud who could hit the 80-point mark as a sophomore if he can stay healthy. Brock Boeser’s contract situation has finally been resolved, so thankfully the offense won’t take a hit early on. I have three Canucks’ forwards hitting the 60-point mark in the season ahead, with Pettersson topping 70. Goaltending is solid, though the W’s will still be hard to get as the team starts wrapping up its rebuild. The prospect pipeline is strong (ish) with three forwards in my Top 100 for fantasy hockey (Vasily Podkolzin, Adam Gaudette, Tyler Madden), as well as three defensemen in my Top 50: Hughes, Olli Juolevi and Jet Woo.
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was C+)
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2019 Offseason Fantasy Hockey Grades