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2022 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions (based entirely on how many former Canucks are on each team)

It's as good a method as any.
Chris Tanev of the Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames boast a bevy of former Vancouver Canucks, including Chris Tanev.

There are many ways to try to predict the Stanley Cup Playoffs. None of them work.

You can pick the favourites in every matchup and you’ll just be proven wrong by a Cinderella team with a hot goaltender. You can use a fancy analytical model and have everything go haywire when a bounce goes the wrong way in overtime. You can go with your gut about who you believe wants it more and then the team with a bunch of soft skill will skate circles around those gutsy warriors you believed in.

But I have a new metric that I think will help me predict every series perfectly. Which team has the most former Canucks?

Why do I think this will work? Because seeing a former Canuck lifting the Stanley Cup in another team’s jersey will cause Canucks fans pain and the one constant that I see in the NHL is that hockey exists to hurt Canucks fans.

Let’s get into it.

Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals

Surprisingly, the Panthers have just one former Canuck despite the long history of trades between the two teams.

Gustav Forsling is the one who got away. After a strong 2015 World Juniors performance where Forsling put up 8 points in 7 games to lead all defencemen in scoring, Canucks GM Jim Benning tried to capitalize on his burgeoning value by trading him to the Chicago Blackhawks for some more immediate help in the form of Adam Clendening.

Clendening was a bust, while Forsling gradually found his feet in the NHL, though he didn’t truly flourish until he found his way to the Florida Panthers in the 2020-21 season. He’s become a key second-pairing defenceman and penalty killer for the Panthers.

The Panthers do not get bonus points for having Roberto Luongo in their hockey operations department. Besides, he would be canceled out by them also having Greg Campbell in hockey operations. Pick a side, Panthers!

The Capitals also boast one former Canuck — Nic Dowd, who played 40 games for the Canucks in the 2017-18 season after a trade from the Los Angeles Kings for Jordan Subban. The Canucks needed a centre and Dowd was cheap. He managed just three points, all goals, with the Canucks.

Dowd has been a more essential role player for the Capitals, providing some depth scoring from the fourth line. He had 11 goals in just 56 games last season and reached double digits again this season with 10 goals and 24 points in 64 games.

So, I’m predicting an upset because the Capitals’ former Canuck actually played for the Canucks.

Winner: Capitals

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

The Leafs don’t have any former Canucks, which just proves that they’re not a serious Stanley Cup contender.

Of course, neither do the Lightning. They foolishly let their former Canuck, with whom they won two Stanley Cups, go in free agency. No Luke Schenn means no Stanley Cup for the Lightning. 

Winner: No one

Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins

The Hurricanes don’t have any former Canucks on their roster right now, but they do have a secret weapon waiting in the AHL: Josh Leivo.

Leivo played parts of two seasons with the Canucks. Though he struggled with injuries that kept him out of the lineup, Leivo provided some quality two-way play.

The Hurricanes signed Leivo in free agency in the offseason but he played just 7 games with them. He’s spent the bulk of the season in the AHL, where he has 22 goals and 46 points in 54 games. 

The Bruins have no former Canucks.

Winner: Hurricanes

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The Rangers were rumoured to be interested in J.T. Miller at one point but the trade never came to fruition. They did, however, trade for Tyler Motte from the Canucks, giving them a massive boost in the former-Canuck department.

Motte became a fan favourite in his five seasons in Vancouver with his lunch-pail work ethic and openness about his mental health. He’s a top-tier penalty killer and can pop in a few goals to boot, but the Canucks couldn’t come to terms on an extension with Motte and chose to trade him at the deadline.

Unfortunately, Motte suffered an injury with the Rangers and has only played nine games with them so far. They’re hoping he can return sometime in the first round.

Even an injured Motte easily trumps the Penguins’ complete lack of any former Canucks. Get it together, Penguins.

Winner: Rangers

Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators

The Avalanche may not have any former Canucks on the roster, but they do have one in the AHL — the man, the myth, the legend, Jayson Megna.

Megna played 20 games with the Avalanche this season and tallied three points, all assists. He’s spent most of the season in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles, where he has 33 points in 38 games. 

Likewise, the Predators have no former Canucks on their NHL roster, but they have Alex Biega in the minors. Biega played parts of five seasons with the Canucks and was a reliable seventh defenceman who could step into the lineup in a pinch and play pretty well in spurts.

Biega hasn’t played a game for the Predators since they traded for him ahead of the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs but he’s more likely to play for the Predators in the playoffs than Megna is to play for the Avalanche, in my opinion. Besides, Biega played far more games for the Canucks.

Yep, it’s another upset thanks to the most important advanced statistic: former Canucks per 60 in the AHL.

Winner: Predators

Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues

The Wild made a smart move when they signed Jordie Benn in free agency, boosting their former Canucks rating by a significant degree. He played parts of two seasons with the Canucks for a total of 74 games.

Benn has played 39 games for the Wild this season and could be a depth option in case of injury.

That gives them a massive advantage over the Blues, who have no former Canucks at all.

Winner: Wild

Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars

Oh man, this one isn’t even close.

The Flames seemed to go out of their way to collect former Canucks in recent seasons.

They already had Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, and Erik Gudbranson when they acquired Tyler Toffoli in February from the Montreal Canadiens.

That’s four former Canucks in the Flames roster playing significant roles. They’re clearly the favourites for the Stanley Cup.

The Stars have Braden Holtby, who spent one season with the Canucks and whose buyout will still be on the Canucks’ cap next season. Against many other teams, that would have given the Stars the advantage, but they ran into a juggernaut.

Winner: Flames

Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

The Oilers’ lone former Canuck is Zack Kassian, who spent parts of four seasons with the Canucks after coming to Vancouver in a trade for Cody Hodgson. 

That’s pretty good compared to some of the other contenders but it pales in comparison to the Kings.

The Kings have the best defenceman in Canucks franchise history — at least, for a few more years until Quinn Hughes has the longevity to go with his incredible skill. Alex Edler played 15 seasons with the Canucks, setting franchise records for games played, goals, assists, and points from a defenceman.

Edler has played major minutes for the Kings this season when healthy, posting 19 points in 41 games.

He’s joined by Troy Stecher, who came over to the Kings in a trade from the Detroit Red Wings. Stecher — also known as Troy From Richmond — was a local boy made good, who played four seasons with the Canucks. 

As an added bonus, the Kings have former Canucks prospect Tyler Madden in the AHL.

Winner: Kings

Who will win the Stanley Cup?

The winner will obviously be from the Western Conference, as none of them can compare to either the Kings or the Flames in terms of former Canucks.

With Motte on the roster, the Rangers have the edge to come out of the Eastern Conference, but which team full of former Canucks will they face?

Here’s the question: do we go with the team that has the most former Canucks or the team with the players that played the most games for the Canucks?

The Flames have the edge with the most former Canucks on their roster while the Kings have the edge for the most games played — 1,211 between Edler and Stecher compared to 892 between the four former Canucks on the Flames.

As much as it pains me to go against Edler, I’m leaning towards the Flames. It’s hard to ignore that the Flames have twice as many former Canucks than the Kings do.

That means the Flames will go to the Stanley Cup Final and run over the Rangers.

Stanley Cup Prediction: Flames in 5 — 4 former Canucks to 1