A Game 7 loss should not be the only memory of Arturs Silovs' incredible postseason

Entering the postseason as Vancouver's third-string goalie, Silovs' helped keep the Canucks alive before ultimately falling to the Oilers in a seventh game.
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Every Canuck in the locker room should be apologizing to Arturs Silovs after the performance he put in during the Vancouver Canucks' Game 7 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round. Silovs made 26 stops in the loss but came up with two of the most spectacular saves of the postseason. At one point during the second period, Edmonton was outshooting Vancouver 22-4 as Silovs continued to stand on his head. Vancouver made it close, coming up short in their comeback bid 3-2 in the winner-take-all game.

Arturs Silovs' run really began at last year's World Championship

While drafted in the sixth round in 2019 by the Canucks, Arturs Silovs broke onto the scene when his home country of Latvia co-hosted the IIHF World Championship last year. Silovs started a tournament-high ten games for Latvia, posting a .921 save percentage and a 2.20 GAA. Silovs shone the brightest during the playoff rounds. He made 40 stops in a 3-1 win over Sweden and 32 saves in a 4-2 loss to Canada during the semifinals.

To cap off his amazing tournament, Silovs helped Latvia pull off a stunning upset over the United States in the Bronze Medal Game, making 26 saves in Latvia's 4-3 overtime win. The victory ensured Latvia's first-ever medal at the world championship and helped him nab Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament.

Injuries presented a great opportunity for Silovs

Arturs Silovs hadn't gotten much time in the net at the NHL level since being drafted. He played a handful of games during the 2022-23 season and only got into four games down the stretch this season. Silovs began the postseason as the third-string goalie for Vancouver, behind Vezina finalist Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith.

An injury after Game 1 to Demko and another to DeSmith following Game 3 opened the door for Silovs to take the net in Game 4. He made 30 saves in his postseason debut, getting the backing of a late comeback to earn the win. In Game 6, Silovs posted a 28-save shutout against the Predators in Nashville to backstop the Canucks to a first-round victory.

Silovs' numbers in the second round against Edmonton were far from sterling, but a seven-game series against Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the high-powered Oilers will do that to most goalies. He posted a .882 save percentage in the series loss, highlighted by a 42-save performance in Vancouver's 4-3 win in Game 3. At the end of the day, his offense let him down, scoring just eight goals in the final four games.

His postseason performance puts him in a good spot for next season

On July 1, Arturs Silovs is set to become a restricted free agent. With his emergence over the last few weeks, he's in a win-win situation. The overwhelming odds would suggest that he'll return to the Canucks next season, though anything can change in an instant. Since Casey DeSmith will be an unrestricted free agent, Silovs could slot in behind Thatcher Demko as the team's backup, proving that he can take over as the starter when the situation calls for it.

If, for whatever reason, Silovs isn't given a qualifying offer by the Canucks, I'm sure there are plenty of teams that would be interested in bringing him in. At only 23 years old, Silovs has his best hockey ahead of him. I'm not saying he's ready to pioneer a rebuilding team to a playoff spot after just ten postseason starts, but he has clearly found a role that suits him.

While he won't join the Salary Cap-era rookie goalies who led their teams to the Stanley Cup, like Cam Ward, Matt Murray, and Jordan Binnington, Arturs Silovs has made a name for himself in these playoffs. The story seemed destined for another chapter, only for the book to be slammed shut in the second round by the Oilers. Silovs was one of the brightest spots of Vancouver's run and that doesn't change because of how his season ended.