It's far too early in the season to make assessments about any of the NHL's 30 teams. If we did, we would say things like, "who needs Crosby?!" and "Colorado's a lock!" But no matter how young the NHL season is, the unfilled holes in the Vancouver Canucks' lineup are already apparent. So much so that fans have been calling for a trade.
The Canucks' roster is much the same from last year. They still have the household names in the Sedins, Roberto Luongo, Alexandre Burrows, and Kevin Bieksa. There are a couple new faces including the oft-injured Marco Sturm, who played 18 games with the Capitals last season, and young center Cody Hodgson, who spent all but eight games with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL last year.
The most glaring subtraction, of course, is the loss of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. He signed an enormous contract with the Buffalo Sabres this offseason. Raffi Torres also moved on to Phoenix. Those two departures, combined with injuries to Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, and Aaron Rome have left the Canucks looking unsteady on the defensive side of the ice.
In a recent game with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Canucks gave up five goals on just 27 shots. At least three of the goals could be attributed directly to defensive failure, probably four. Last year, those types of failures were few and far between. But, without Ehrhoff, Torres, Raymond, Kesler, and Rome, the Canucks seem more vulnerable to high-scoring affairs.