Vancouver may not name replacement for Henrik Sedin this season
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks could be without a captain this season and they may not be the only Canadian team to forgo a designated leader.
The Canucks have said there’s no rush to replace Henrik Sedin, who wore the “C” before retiring with his twin brother, Daniel Sedin, at the end of last season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens are also currently without captains.
The role comes with a lot of responsibility, especially in a Canadian market, said Vancouver coach Travis Green.
“We had a great one here for a long time. We’ve had some great captains in Vancouver,” he said.
“I don’t think there has to be a rush to name a captain. I think if you do, I think you’re making a mistake. You gotta make sure whoever’s named the next captain is the right choice and is ready for the responsibility.”
Coaches and management will consider their options at training camp this weekend, but the role could go unfilled this year, said GM Jim Benning.
“We’re going to see the group and see who steps up. We don’t necessarily need to name a captain this year, if that’s what’s best for our team,” he said.
Bo Horvat is one name that has circulated in talks of leading the team into a new era. The centre is entering his fifth NHL season – all with the Canucks – and posted 22 goals and 22 assists last year.
The 23-year-old isn’t putting too much stock in the captain conversation, saying Thursday that the Canucks have “so many great leaders.”
“Anybody can wear a letter. Just because you have a letter on your jersey doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot,” he said.
“Obviously, it’s a great honour and it would be a dream come true, but at the same time I’m not going to change my game, I’m not going to change who I am. I’m just going to go out there and help this team win.”
If the Canucks choose not to hand out the “C” this season, they may not be alone.
Toronto has gone captainless since 20152016, choosing instead to name three alternates. This year, the alternates were handed to Patrick Marleau, Morgan Rielly and John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, US$77 million deal with the team on July 1.
Ottawa and Montreal both traded away their captains in recent days. The Senators sent defenceman Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, while the Canadiens dealt left winger Max Pacioretty to the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes named 27-year-old Oliver Ekman-Larsson as their new captain on Thursday and the Carolina Hurricanes gave the role to 36-year-old right winger Justin Williams.
Seguin signs new deal
FRISCO, Texas (AP) – The Dallas Stars have avoided any lingering questions about the future of Tyler Seguin, signing the five-time All-Star centre to a $78.8 million, eight-year contract extension that goes through the 2026-27 season.
General manager Jim Nill announced the deal Thursday before the Stars departed Texas to start training camp in Boise, Idaho. The team posted a Mario-inspired video on its Twitter account celebrating the news.
“Emotional. It was a process, a learning process this summer. Learning the whole business side of negotiations,” the 26-yearold Seguin said. “At the end of the day, I knew where I wanted to be. I knew where home was. That was here in Dallas.”
VANCOUVER — The head coach of the Vancouver Canucks has a simple message for his players.
“Everyone should feel pressure,” Travis Green said Thursday as players reported for medicals and physical testing. “Our team got 73 points last year. There’s pressure to get better for everyone.”
Vancouver finished last season secondlast in the Pacific Division with a 31-40-11 record, and has lost stalwarts Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who retired after 17 seasons in Canucks jerseys.
The disappointing finish and the loss of the twins means there are jobs up for grabs as the squad heads to Whistler for training camp this weekend.
Green said he has lots of options to fill the roster, between returning veterans and up-and-coming youngsters like Swedes Elias Pettersson and Jonathan Dahlen.
“I think we have a team right now that, well, there’s a lot to be determined,” the coach said. “You look at our forward group and, man, there’s a lot of guys vying for jobs. I’m not going to pencil in guys to play in a certain spot yet. I want to see where everyone’s at.”
Returning players who fail to meet expectations could be sent down on waivers, said Canucks general manager Jim Benning.
“That’s what training camp is going to be for. We have extra players. The players know that. And it’s going to be how they show at camp,” he said.
Young players who’ve been battling for a roster spot need to take the next step, whether that’s offensively or otherwise, Benning said, adding that he’s spoken to many who seem to have put in a lot of hard work over the summer.
“They know what’s at stake. And I’m expecting them to come in and be better this year,” he said.
One Canuck who isn’t looking to make any big changes this season is right winger Brock Boeser.
The 21-year-old played 62 games for Vancouver before a broken back cut his first NHL season short. He still managed to put up 29 goals and 26 assists, and was a finalist for the league’s rookie of the year award.
“I think I don’t need to change my game at all,” Boeser said. “I think if I play the way I did last year, come to the rink every day with that same mindset, take it day by day, work hard and with these guys by my side, I think I can have the same season I did last year and hopefully build off of that.”
Still, Green wants to see his team produce more offence, especially with the Sedins out of the lineup. Combined, the twins tallied 105 points last year.
Their impact wasn’t only on the score sheet, but in the locker room, too, said centre Bo Horvat.
“It’s tough to lose Hank and Danny because they were such keys to our group, but at the same time... there’s a lot of young kids that are going to come up, that are going to step in and try to prove themselves as every-day NHLers,” he said.
Horvat is one of the players expected to take on a larger role this season. Last season, he played 64 games, notching 22 goals and 22 assists. Horvat things he can increase that point total.
“We want to keep getting better every year,” said the 23-year-old. “Scoring more goals and getting points is going to win us hockey games. That’s the most important part.”
Putting the puck in the back of the net has been a source of angst for the Canucks in recent years. The team scored 218 goals last season and was 26th in the league in that department.
Staff have spent “countless hours” this summer trying to find ways to light the lamp, Green said.
“It’s hard to score in this league,” he said. “There’s good goalies, there’s good teams and we’ve got to find a way to do it if we want to have success.”
While the Canucks have a promising group of young players, including Boeser and Pettersson, everyone will need to chip in when it comes to putting up points, the coach said.
“We’re going to have to do it by committee,” Green said. “I’m expecting a lot of our players to be better hockey players than they were last year. We’re going to need that.”