Hello, Neighbo(u)rs: Vancouver Canucks - LA Kings Insider

2016-17 record: 30-43-9, 69 points; 7th place, Pacific Division; 13th place, Western Conference
2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify
Corsi-for rate: 47.9% (26th)
Additions: G Anders Nilsson, F Thomas Vanek, F Alexander Burmistrov, F Sam Gagner, D Michael Del Zotto, D Patrick Wiercioch
Subtractions: D Philip Larsen, G Ryan Miller, F Drew Shore, D Nikita Tryamkin, F Michael Zalewski, F Joseph Cramarossa, F Jack Skille, F Alexandre Grenier, F Borna Rendulic

Not exactly a secret: the Canucks are undergoing a major rebuild. With the dismissal of Willie Desjardins, Vancouver will turn to former Utica Comets coach Travis Green, who was long been on the short list of NHL-capable coaches. While it’s too early to get a good sense of the systems and expectations of those wearing the Orca, he enters his new position already acutely familiar with the organization and many of the players he’ll be tasked to get a lot out of.

The Canucks’ off-season approach isn’t too far off from the Kings’ approach in the 2007 offseason, when a rebuilding club opted to complement an emerging group of talented younger players with veterans in Tom Preissing, Kyle Calder, Michal Handzus and Ladislav Nagy. Los Angeles was a *very bad* team in 2007-08, and those signings did not provide any sort of short-term impact, but the veteran infusion incubated the young talent well, and especially with Handzus, provided a model steadiness.

Similarly, Vancouver, which has turned a corner in rebuilding its prospect pool, will turn to the new veterans to provide an important presence that goes beyond the individual numbers they’ll provide.

“I said all along we need to try to develop our good young players in a competitive environment so they learn how to do things the right way that lead to winning,” general manager Jim Benning said, as reported by NHL.com.

And there are a number of intriguing young players. Not all are NHL ready; Elias Pettersson, selected fifth overall at the NHL Draft, is ultra-skilled but still needs to fill out before he competes for a roster spot. He’ll spend the season in the SHL. Highly skilled center Jonathan Dahlén, impressively pried from Ottawa in the Alexandre Burrows trade, appears bound for Utica but should make an NHL impact in the not-too-far future. Well balanced 6-foot-3 defenseman Olli Juolevi, selected fifth overall in 2016 out of OHL-Windsor, is still probably a year away but with an impressive camp could open the year with the club. San Diego native Thatcher Demko is among the top goaltending prospects in hockey and will return to the AHL. Nikolay Goldobin, a former San Jose first round pick, showed impressive speed in burying a breakaway chance at Staples Center last spring. It will be an important season for power forward Jake Virtanen, a first round draft pick from 2014 and former first overall WHL draft pick who remains young but is yet to make an impact scoring-wise at the professional level.

As for the present, there may still be questions about scoring depth and regularity a year after the team ranked 29th in the league in goals for. The additions of Thomas Vanek and Sam Gagner should help, but the ceiling will be raised once Brock Boeser makes an impact with the club, and that shouldn’t take particularly long. It’s eyebrow-raising but possible that he could start the season in the AHL, but Boeser, a 2015 first rounder who scored four times in nine games after joining Vancouver following two seasons at the University of North Dakota, is a natural goal scorer who accounted for 85 goals in 148 games between the NHL, NCAA and USHL levels. 22-year-old center Bo Horvat, a 2016-17 mid-season all-star, signed a lucrative six-year, $33-million contract that was announced earlier today. He led the club with 52 points and won more than half of his faceoffs as a

Kings fans will get familiar with the Canucks throughout the preseason as the two teams will meet for an exhibition opener in eight days before flying across the Pacific for a pair of games as part of the 2017 NHL China Games. Vancouver is expected to bring a veteran squad for that trip, and for more news on what Los Angeles’ Pacific Northwest rivals may look like this season and beyond, we brought in Joey Kenward, the Canucks’ radio host on Sportsnet 650.

HELLO, NEIGHBO(U)RS: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights

-photo credit: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.