Canucks don't need major overhaul

Daniel Sedin, of the Vancouver Canucks, shakes hands with goalie Jonathan Quick, of the Los Angeles...

Daniel Sedin, of the Vancouver Canucks, shakes hands with goalie Jonathan Quick, of the Los Angeles Kings, after losing 2-1in the first overtime period in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. (Rich Lam/Getty Images/AFP)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:09 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Save your jokes about riots and rowdy Vancouver fans in light of the Canucks' opening-round ouster from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Hordes of idiots didn't trash or steal everything they could find.

The police won't again need months to press charges against people who had crimes recorded by everybody in the city with an iPhone.

Yeah, we heard the cracks that nothing happened after Sunday's series-ending loss to the Los Angeles Kings because the Lower Mainland's anarchists didn't have time to mobilize.

But there will be some upheaval in Vancouver. We're talking about the Canucks, the two-time Presidents' Trophy winners and last year's Stanley Cup finalists, who were done and dusted this spring by a No. 8 seed in just five games.

A couple of weeks ago, it seemed the Calgary Flames would be the lone Western Canada team staring at big moves, with questions abounding over the future of stars Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff, and the need for a new coach.

That may pale in comparison to what may happen in Vancouver after the Canucks were unceremoniously ousted.

But let's be honest, the Canucks don't need big changes.

It's easy to say, "let's tear this underachieving team apart" but that won't be feasible. Does anybody believe the Pittsburgh Penguins will take the wrecking ball to a club that was bounced in six games by Philadelphia in that crazy series? It won't happen because the Penguins are a good team still with an excellent nucleus.

The Canucks are in the same boat.

There are teams deemed front-runners who should be contemplating massive changes.

The Detroit Red Wings are one, but they may be forced to, especially if the perfect player named Nicklas Lidstrom calls it a career. San Jose's collection of perennial underachievers is another.

But the Canucks are not bad enough to overreact and destroy with dynamite. Had Daniel Sedin played more than just the last two games, Vancouver's chances of winning would have improved immensely.

The Canucks still have an excellent core of forwards with the Sedin twins, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler, who looked nothing like the player from last year's run. They're strong on defence and in net.

Suffice to say, dealing away one of the goaltenders, with oddsmakers saying Roberto Luongo is the most likely to be packing his bags, should at worst give some cap space and possibly even a player who could help this team.

The Canucks could receive a treasure chest of riches for Cory Schneider.

But, for the most part, sweeping changes aren't needed. A few players will leave via free agency, with veteran Sami Salo about the only one worth trying to keep.

Others among the supporting cast could be worth jettisoning but, given the dreadful series that Mason Raymond, Christopher Higgins and David Booth had, any trade won't draw back much of note.

That's not to say there shouldn't be some finger pointing, deserved or not.

Coach Alain Vigneault shouldn't walk the plank, even if he couldn't find the right mix on the Sedin and Kesler lines, but based on the fact there seemingly always is a scapegoat, he may take his whistle elsewhere.

And above him, general manager Mike Gillis should have to answer to ownership for his results.

Gillis is the one who acquired David Booth, whose contract with three more years and a $4.25-million cap hit will be an albatross if he can't figure out a way to play with either Kesler or the Sedins.

Gillis dealt Cody Hodgson, who had provided nearly 20 goals from the third line and second power-play unit, for defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani (who didn't suit up in this series) and Zack Kassian, who was invisible in the first four games and scratched for Game 5.

Sure, Kassian may turn into that perfect winger for the Sedins, but that's a couple of years away. That trade should have been made in the summer.

With the right kind of navel-gazing and the right moves, the Canucks can be back in the Stanley Cup conversation next year.

No mayhem is required.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


Photos