Vancouver Canucks preview

Overview: The Vancouver Canucks are slowly becoming like the San Jose Sharks, and not in a good way.

They have a centre who can lead the league in assists, and win the Hart trophy. They have a top-notch goalie. They have a good mix of experience, youth, scoring and grit.

And they both have trouble when it comes to postseason success.

The knock on many of the Sharks players (Joe Thornton, ex-goalie Evgeni Nabokov, Patrick Marleau, etc.) was that while they could dominate in the regular season, they disappeared in the playoffs.

And with the exception of Roberto Luongo, no one on the team routinely disappears come playoff time. But they can’t seem to get over that hump and put together a couple of dominating series.

Until they do, they’ll be considered San Jose-lite.

Best offseason move: Signing Raffi Torres. Is it a good sign if that’s your best move? Anyway, Torres can be a consistent 40-point guy, which the Canucks need: Cheap scoring help.

Worst offseason move: Spending way too much money on their defence. Including their goalies, they are spending $30.133 million on non-forwards. That’s a little more than 50 per cent of the cap on guys who don’t score. Sure Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis are solid defencemen, but when your sixth defencemen ends up making at least $3.1 million, it’s time to step back from that position a little bit and look at other areas of your team.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Daniel Sedin for the Lady Byng.

Pool pick: Mikael Samuelsson. He had a hard time adjusting to his first full season in Vancouver, but played great at the end of the season. He had 13 points in 13 games after the Olympic break. I expect him to finish with about 70 points this year. Who to stay away from: Alexandre Burrows. Last year, he looked good, scoring 35 goals and 67 points. But I think this was an aberration. He’s probably closer to the mid-40s. Plus he’s 29 years old. You have to wary of players that set career highs later on in their careers.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the leaders in these different categories?

Best hall of fame choice: Roberto Luongo. He’s won bronze at the under 17s, silver at the world juinors, and gold at the worlds cup, world championships and Olympics. But he hasn’t won the Cup yet. If he does, his chances will increase more so than any other player on this list.

Blog to follow: Benched Whale

My Prediction: First in the Northwest, Second in the west

Famous celebrity from that city: Rachel Roberts

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