|Sedin Twins (AP)|
Maybe the greatest move in Canucks franchise history was Brian Burke's deals to get the Sedin twins at No. 2 and No. 3 in the 1999 draft. More or less since then they have been drafting much later.
There is no way we're splitting up the Sedins, so naturally they take the top-line spots. Finding them their other winger is tougher and considering the Canucks have a glut of centers, we're going to convert one -- Umberger -- to join the twins. Really though, you could plug a lot of different guys in there for the Canucks.
If this is two years ago, this line is looking pretty awesome considering what they all did that season compared to the big drops they saw last season. Still, they are all young enough that a rebound could be in the cards and if they do return to previous levels, this line will certainly work. Kesler, of course, is the key.
Poor Hodgson remains stuck on the third line in Vancouver again. He was traded to Buffalo this year so as to avoid that. Oh well. He gets Hansen coming off a career year on one wing and then the reformed and underrated Cooke -- another converted center -- on the other wing.
Offensive Scratch: Jarkko Ruutu
Ruutu played last season in Finland which should tell you that the Canucks get awfully thin from here on out. You could possibly put one of the prospects in this spot too.
Defensive Pairing 1: Alex Edler -- Kevin Bieksa
Two defensemen coming off of career years for the Canucks, they each stepped up their game a bit more when given bigger roles last season. So we'll keep them together. Edler showed he can score from the blue line and Bieksa has become quite the reliable defenseman while racking up some points.
In the earlier parts of his career, including his time with the Canucks, Allen showed some potential for offense but now he has settled into a defensive role, and is still doing that well enough. Aucoin's days of offense are probably gone too and his age is up there, but he'll be reliable for another year or two.
Defensive Scratch: Mattias Ohlund
Yikes, like the forwards we hit a depth wall right about the time we get to the scratches. There's no guarantee that Ohlund will be able to play again, but he is optimistic. If he can and shows his pre-injury form, there is a spot here for him.
Goaltending: Cory Schneider -- Joe Cannatta
In one aspect, the Canucks are in really good shape in goal. That's because they have Schneider, one of the best in the game already. On the other hand, the depth is paper thin. We have to take on Cannatta who was drafted in the sixth round in 2009. Better hope Schneider can really handle this No. 1 thing ...