This is part of our series of season previews for the seven Canadian-based NHL teams.
2016-17 record: 30-43-9 (69 points), 7th of 7 in Pacific Division, missed playoffs
Key off-season additions: F Thomas Vanek, F Sam Gagner, F Alexander Burmistrov, D Michael Del Zotto, D Patrick Wiercioch, G Anders Nilsson
Key off-season subtractions: G Ryan Miller
Probability of winning the Cup*: 0.66%
Probability of making the playoffs*: 13.33%
*derived from betting odds posted by Bodog
Last season’s story
Just a few years ago, the world was a much different place for the Canucks. In 2014-15, the club topped the century mark in points and finished fifth in the Western Conference. But since then, Vancouver has hovered near the basement of the league standings, plummeting to 69 points and a 29th-place finish in 2016-17.
The outside observer saw a team experiencing an identity crisis, unable to let go of the “win now” mentality, but with the urgency of developing the next wave of talent becoming the elephant in the room.
Franchise icons Henrik and Daniel Sedin appeared in all 82 games, logged big minutes and were among the team leaders in points with 50 and 44, respectively. Only Bo Horvat had more with 52.
Coupled with the supporting cast, there was simply not enough offence as the Canucks scored 178 goals, well below the league average of 227.
Vancouver closed out the season with eight consecutive losses and waited less than 24 hours to fire head coach Willie Desjardins, finally sending the message it was time to look to the future.
In a stroke of bad luck, the Canucks fell to fifth in the draft, despite having…