Team: Vancouver Canucks
Missed the playoffs, finishing with 75 points. That actually sounds a lot better than it was. The loser point was quite generous to them. They were second-last in wins, and last in goal differential. Taking longer than 60 minutes to lose 13 of their games made them actually look much more respectable than they were.
This, of course, didn't stop a good portion of their fans from thinking this sad sack of a team would actually make the postseason because their division was that bad! Imagine cheering for a team that's practically last place in virtually every discernible thing, but thinking they're good enough to make the playoffs. Francesco Aquilini should send you guys a fruit basket; your horribly misplaced optimism is probably paying his alimony.
Your Head Coach
Willie Desjardins, the human poster boy for the AHL Peter Principle when it comes to coaches! He was hired for such intangibles on his resume as "once coached the same junior team Trevor Linden played for." Wow! He is known for great strategy such as "don't give the Sedins a lot of ice time even though they're all you have" and "ice the fourth line after a goal against."
Your Starting Goalie
I actually almost forgot it was Ryan Miller. That's how much of a trainwreck this team is: the goaltending is the last thing I could think of because it actually did its job halfway competently last season. On one hand, that's kind of impressive considering their modus operandi for years has been to trade away all their good goaltenders. On the other, Miller is 35 and that's the best he's been in four years. Do you really think he'll be that good again? On this team?
In the event Miller doesn't pan out, you have Jacob "Not Luongo" Markstrom for three more years! He has exactly one respectable season to his name to date, so that he's your goalie of the future should not scare you at all.
New Things That Suck
It took the Canucks exactly two years and one NHL season to give up on one of their best prospects! After a decent rookie year, Jared McCann is gone, shipped away to Florida for Erik Gudbranson AND a 2nd round pick. Not only did they trade one of their best prospects for a defensive defenseman, they paid a high pick for the pleasure of doing so! This team finished second last in goals, and McCann had the seventh-most on the team (and all but two of the players in front of him were well above 30). "Hey, I've got an idea! We need to score some more goals, so let's trade a young guy who can score them for someone who can't score goals at all!" Jim Benning is that guy in The Simpsons episode where they're trying to get out of hole going "dig UP, stupid!"
Not to fear, though; the Canucks signed Loui Eriksson for six whole years! Loui Eriksson! The man who was so underrated, we all talked about how underrated he was to the point he became overrated! A guy who out of nowhere had his best season in four years, and is now expected to keep up that production for six more! Because if there's one thing a rebuilding club needs, it's more highly-paid players above the age of 30.
Things That Still Suck
You may think the Canucks personnel decisions of the last couple seasons make no sense; you're wrong. They make perfect sense, so long as you accept the truth that the Canucks simply operate in a different reality. In their reality, a full-scale rebuild is not acceptable. They need to be competing for a playoff spot for as long as possible, which they'll fail at, but at least they're competing. Because it isn't about winning; it's about putting butts in the seats.
And, I mean....can you blame them for that logic? Has there been a more stoically frontrunning fanbase in this country? There's no laundry list of people who will be the first to tell you the Canucks are the best team on earth when they win a few games. But once the losing starts, it's as if we've descended into a weird parallel universe where hockey doesn't even exist. I live in Vancouver. When the Canucks are losing, soccer is more popular here. Fans of teams like Toronto and Edmonton have stridently suffered through way worse and still care. Montreal, scum that they are, sat through the torture porn that was their 2015-16 season. But, Canucks fans? They don't care, nor do they even pretend to. Hockey is more of a sign of social status in Vancouver, like yoga, or prohibitively unaffordable housing.
It all feeds into the fundamental problem with this team, which I said last year and will say in evergreen perpetuity: this team and fanbase have no identity. The franchise's uniform history is just a morbid array of paint swatches. The team's rivalries are a joke; their "big enemy du jour" is usually a team that beat them and is generally too busy actually winning something to even notice their existence. Their biggest geographical rival is a team that already has an intraprovincial rivalry with substantive history beyond a couple of first round series and an attempted murder. They obsess over a team that doesn't even play in the same conference as them to the point that they practically consider a hockey game starting at 4 PM a constitutional violation. Their only identity, in essence, is wanting everyone to pay attention to them. They're the middle child of the NHL.
The lynchpin of this franchise's being is complaining. They have not only complained about officiating being biased against them through official team channels, but they've actually erected a statue to monument it! Writers have alleged playing the Leafs at 4 PM is a grand conspiracy to help the Leafs win! Geez. These people are like the Nixon Administration, minus the charisma.
Hockey-wise, this team needs approximately 100 more goals and is relying on an aging core of players to do it. Their bottom six and blueline looks like a list of rejected acts at Coachella.
Why They Might Not Suck
Their goaltending has proven competent against all odds, so they'll be at least respectably bad. Plus, Eriksson will probably score 30 goals every year just by the Sedins bouncing pucks off his shinpads until they retire.