4 Big Questions facing the Vancouver Canucks in 2020-21

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Jake Virtanen #18 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

There are four big questions facing the Vancouver Canucks in 2020-21.

The Vancouver Canucks are one of the top Canadian teams in the league, and in an all-Canadian North Division this season, they have the chance to take full advantage and build off their playoff success from last season.

They saw many familiar faces leave in the offseason, like Chris Tanev and Jacob Markstrom. Their offensive depth took a major hit with Micheal Ferland out with injury and Tyler Toffoli signing with the Montreal Canadiens but the Canucks also made some moves of their own.

They brought in Braden Holtby and bolstered their defense with the addition of Nate Schmidt. Nils Hoglander looks like a part of their opening lineup, and all their young stars are a year older.

After a second-round exit at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights, Travis Green and his squad will be looking to go further. Here are four big questions facing this team in the 2020-21 season.

Vancouver Canucks

(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

4. Can the young guns take over?

With Tanev and Markstrom out the door, the Canucks lost a big chunk of their veteran leadership. Tanev was a mentor to Quinn Hughes and was a big part of the rookie’s success. Markstrom was the reason why the team made it that far into the playoffs. Now, it’s up to the Canucks’ young core to take the lead.

It’s important to note that Holtby brings in a ton of veteran leadership and is a Stanley Cup champion who has already become a mentor to Thatcher Demko. However, it’s Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Hughes who are expected to be the new generation of leadership for this team. Their top line of Boeser, Pettersson, and J.T. Miller will be facing off against other teams’ first lines all season long and will be expected to be the difference makers. Good thing for them; they are up to the challenge.

Last season was Miller’s first as a Canuck, so they needed time to develop chemistry. This time around, it’s going to be much easier.

“We’re all more mature players than we were the year before. And I think that’s only going to be helpful for us as a hard to play against line.” – J.T. Miller via TSN.

Maturity is going to play a big factor in the 2020-21 season. Rivalries will be heightened, and the importance of each game is magnified. With COVID-19 still a big problem in North America, players are going to need to make personal sacrifices such as cutting down on family time and restricting social interactions to keep their teammates safe. This season is where the character of all NHL teams will be tested.

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