Vancouver Canucks: 3 Reasons the Canucks Will Be Back in the Stanley Cup Finals

Eric SteitzAnalyst IIISeptember 3, 2012

Vancouver Canucks: 3 Reasons the Canucks Will Be Back in the Stanley Cup Finals

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    The Vancouver Canucks have dominated the NHL regular season for the last two years.

    As back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy champions, the Canucks have solidified their place as a top team in the NHL and have reason to believe they will be back in the Stanley Cup Final in 2013. 

    This is a proud hockey organization. Since joining the NHL in 1970, the Canucks have nine division championships and three Stanley Cup Final appearances, but no wins.

    In 2011, Vancouver had a great chance. Up 2-0 against the Boston Bruins, the ‘Nucks went to Boston and were outscored 12-1 in two games, which handed the momentum back to the Bs. 

    The Canucks offense never seemed to recover, scoring just three goals in the final three games. 

    The Vancouver faithful watched the Bruins hoist the cup in seven games, causing disgruntled fans to take to the streets.

    In 2013, the Canucks will once again bring one of the best rosters in NHL to the ice. They are considered one of the favorites by many to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. 

    Here are three reasons why the Canucks will get back to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013.

Cory Schneider/Eddie Lack

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    A lot of talk this offseason has focused on Cory Schneider ascending to the top of the goaltending depth chart.

    With Roberto Luongo still on the roster, Eddie Lack is the odd man out for now. However, should Luongo be traded, Lack will join the bench behind Schneider. 

    Schneider dominated his portion of the 2011-12 season. In 33 appearances, he recorded 25 wins. 

    A clip like that will win Schneider a Vezina Trophy or two in his career. 

    Schneider should give Luongo a bit of credit for his success. Watching Luongo on a nightly basis on and off the ice will benefit Schneider greatly next season. 

    Lack will face a similar story as he watches Schneider take over the top spot. 

    The Canucks may have found their own Braden Holtby in Lack. 

    If nothing else, they have depth in net and depth at goaltender is never a bad thing in the NHL. 

Ryan Kesler’s Injury

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    Ryan Kesler is a big part of the Vancouver offense. He has been a top-five scorer every season since 2007-08. 

    One of the most consistent producers for the Canucks, Kesler works with the Sedin twins to lead the team's offense. 

    However, he will be out until at least November this year as he recovers from shoulder surgery. That absence will leave a big hole on the second line. 

    The hole left behind could be Vancouver’s biggest blessing in disguise. 

    Without Kesler, someone has to step up into a bigger scoring role during the first six weeks of the season. That six-week time frame is just about the duration of the NHL playoffs. 

    Vancouver has struggled with offensive depth in their recent postseason runs. 

    The 2011 Stanley Cup Final saw the offense sputter. Last season, the Los Angeles Kings outscored Vancouver 9-4 in the first three games of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, which put the Canucks in an insurmountable 3-0 hole. 

    The absence of Kesler will allow for someone to play a bigger role in the offense. 

    That someone could be a healthy Mason Raymond, a possibly resurgent David Booth or young gun Jordan Schroeder. 

    Establishing an increased scoring role early in the regular season will benefit the Canucks greatly in the postseason and should aid their quest back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Home-Ice Dominance

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    It’s tough to win on the road in the postseason. That makes being a top seed of the utmost importance. 

    The Northwest Division has improved. The Colorado Avalanche improved. The Minnesota Wild improved.

    However, those teams aren’t on the same level as the Canucks. 

    Winning a division secures at least a top-three seed and home ice for at least the first round of the playoffs. 

    Vancouver dominates at home. In the last four seasons, the Rogers Arena has posted a 108-39-17 record.

    Winning at home equates to winning division titles and playoff series. 

    There is no reason to believe the Canucks won’t be successful at home next season. 

    Even if the St. Louis Blues earn the best record in the West, the Canucks should secure a top-two seed in the conference.

    The road to the Stanley Cup Final should run through the Rogers Arena.