We see Vancouver Canucks players leave and come back every offseason. Some players find new opportunities, while others get stuck and lose their footing with their new teams. With 2021 a thing of the past and 2022 the start of something new, it’s time to take a look at how some former players are doing.
Jared McCann (Seattle Kraken), a Good Season
Jared McCann is forever remembered as a Canucks first-rounder. The 2014 Draft was a disaster with McCann thriving in Seattle Kraken and Jake Virtanen, both of whom were playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. After sexual assault allegationsHe was forced out of the NHL.
For those that don’t remember, McCann was Famously traded to Florida Panthers2016 for Erik Gudbranson the hulking, muscular defenceman who never really found his stride in Vancouver. This trade will be remembered as one of the most disastrous of the Jim Benning era. It looked like the Canucks had dodged a bullet, as he struggled with the Panthers. He only scored 18 goals and had 53 points in 143 games.
Related: Canucks – 5 Worst Jim Bennett Trades
McCann was then traded to the Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins for Derick Brassard, and Riley Sheahan in 2019. McCann settled in to a middle-six position and had 39 goals and 84 assists in 141 games. He also scored a career-high of 14 goals and 35 points in the 2019-20 season. He was then dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But he never played for them as he was soon selected in the expansion draft by the Kraken.
McCann, Jordan Eberle, and Jaden Schwartz have enjoyed skating together since he joined the Kraken. He is also third in points with 19 and leads the team with 13 goals. He seems to be enjoying Seattle so far.
Struggling: Tyler Toffoli (Montreal Canadiens)
Tyler Toffoli is struggling to generate much offence in 2021-22 after lighting up the Canucks during 2020-21 with 13 goals and eight points in eight games. The Canuck Killer, without the opportunity to play his former team has only five goals & 17 points in 26 matches.
Related: 5 Canadiens That Should Be Moved by the 2022 Trade Deadline
Toffoli is not living up to the expectations of many Montreal Canadiens this year. Toffoli will be eligible to be traded at the deadline. He scored 28 goals and scored 44 points last season, and scored five goals and 14 points during the playoffs. For a team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020-21, that’s not something many fans were expecting in 2021-22.
Chris Tanev (Calgary Flames), A Good Season
Chris Tanev, an ex-Canucks fan favourite, is another player who is thriving in other places. Brock Boeser (Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson) affectionately called “Dad” during the 2020-21 season is, unfortunately, wearing the Flaming “C” instead of the Orca now. After signing a three year contract with Calgary Flames in 2020, he rose to the top of the Calgary Flames’ defenceman ranks. He plays second-fiddle to Noah Hanifin.
Tanev continues to block shots like there’s no tomorrow and was even named the Flames’ unofficial 2021 Defender defenceman of the YearFlames Nation for 2020-21 season. He is often on Vancouver’s injured reserve list. His modest iron man streak has seen him play 89 games. Surprisingly, this is a career high as he has never played more than 70 games in a single season. I believe that concerns about his durability at 32 were exaggerated.
Troy Stecher (Detroit Red Wings), Struggling
Troy Stecher, when he was a Canucks player, was an a very reliable bottom-pairing defencemanIn a pinch, he could jump into any of the top four. In fact, he often found himself on the top pairing with Alex Edler. He was a great depth defenceman because he could take penalties, play a matchup role, and sub in on power play. His salary was reasonable at $2.325million (AAV) and his right-hand shot was excellent. After all that, it’s difficult to see why he’s not wearing a Canucks uniform anymore.
Unfortunately, then-general manager Jim Benning didn’t see his value and decided to forgo re-signing him. Detroit Red Wings arrived earlyHe was signed to a 2-year contract with a very affordable $1.7 million AAV during the 2020 offseason. He scored three goals and eleven points in 44 games, while skating an average of 17 minutes per game.
Stecher’s 2021-22 success has been largely due to rookie Moritz Seider’s success and veteran Nick Leddy’s acquisition. As of this writing, he has only played six of his team’s 36 games while averaging a career-low 14:28 in ice time. On the cusp of becoming an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved at the trade deadline. For the man they call “the man”, could a return to Vancouver be possible?Troy from Richmond?
Jacob Markstrom (Calgary Flames), A Good Season
Jacob Markstrom is a huge understatement to say he has enjoyed his time in Calgary. He is also a former Canucks starter who struggled to score more than five shutouts over 229 games in Vancouver. Markstrom has now scored five in 24. He is also Ride Vezina Trophy-like NumbersThere are five goose eggs and a 2.15 goals-against-average (GAA) of 2.15.
Hands down the Flames’ best goaltender since Miikka Kiprusoff, Markstrom has shown everyone that he’s the real deal. He is almost 32 years old and has already become everything that the Florida Panthers had hoped for when they selected him 31st in the 2008 Draft. Fans of the Canucks are likely not too upset about this, as They have Thatcher Demko, a star in their own right. He is also having a great year with a career-best 2.55 GAA, and.920 SVP% in 27 games.
Struggling: Adam Gaudette (Ottawa Senators)
Adam Gaudette is finally here. This once-expectant prospect, who was a dominant force in the NCAA circuit along with Northeastern University, has been struggling recently. Before the trade that sent him to the Chicago Blackhawks in April of 2021, he appeared to be a key part of the Canucks’ future. There was hope that he would be able to push for a regular role as a top-nine player in the NHL, after he scored a career high 12 goals and 33 points in 2019-20.
The dreaded COVID-19 disease erupted in the locker room of the Canucks. Gaudette was the First player to be a positiveThe word spread quickly to the rest of the team. After all that, he was already on his way out Vancouver.
Gaudette’s time with the Blackhawks was not smooth either as he was a healthy scratch or low-minute man under now-former head coach Jeremy Colliton and interim head coach Derek King. He was finally placed on waivers, and was claimed by the Ottawa Senators in November. Gaudette is now on waivers and has scored just three goals and seven assists in 17 games since he left the Canucks.
As the regular season progresses, we will continue to monitor these players. There’s still a lot more of the 2021-22 season to go, so the players that are struggling could still turn things around. It remains to be seen if they will do it on the teams they are currently on, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Related: Canucks are looking for trade partners to Jaroslav Halak
The Canucks’ 2021-22 season finally continues on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers where they will meet former teammate Olli Juolevi and former prospect Gustav Forsling. Puck drops at 4:00 PT
Matthew Zator, a THW freelancer, media editor, scout, and media editor, lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks Hockey, the NHL Draft and prospects in general. He enjoys talking about young players’ potential. Matthew is an essential read for Canucks fans as well as fans of the NHL Draft. Matthew’s social media accounts are listed under his photo.