Most Important Stories of March for the Vancouver Canucks

Riley KuftaContributor IIIMarch 9, 2013

Most Important Stories of March for the Vancouver Canucks

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    With the April 3 trade deadline looming, March will likely be the month stories are made, questions are answered and issues are addressed. For the Vancouver Canucks, this means a number of storylines and players will be under the microscope. 

    The following are the five most important Canuck stories of March. 

Will the Big Contracts Begin to Perform?

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    The Canucks have a few players on their roster whose performance has not justified their salary. Specifically speaking, Keith Ballard, David Booth and Jason Garrison need to start pulling their weight. 

    Will these players find their stride, will they be shipped elsewhere prior to the deadline or will Mike Gillis and the Canucks continue to wait patiently, hoping these dollars will be well spent?

    Keith Ballard: 20GP, 0G, 1A, +0

    David Booth: 8GP, 0G, 1A, -2

    Jason Garrison: 23GP, 1G, 3A, +9

Will Ballard Get a Fair Shot?

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    On one hand, Keith Ballard is not living up to his $4.2 million/year contract, and he never has. But on the other hand, he hasn't been given a fair chance, either. 

    When it comes to Ballard, it's very clear where he stands with Alain Vigneault. The Canucks coach has always been critical of Ballard, jumping at the opportunity to sit him at the first sign of weakness. 

    This fact has become increasingly apparent to Canucks fans of late, who would be in favor of Ballard's time spent as a healthy scratch if they felt he'd been given a fair chance. 

    The question: Will Ballard get his fair shot with the Canucks, will he be traded or will he continue to play a minimal role while making the big bucks?

Is Ryan Kesler Really the Man for the Job?

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    In the past three years, we have seen Ryan Kesler transform from the speedy, hardworking young star capable of 75 points, to a player better known for injuries and diving. 

    Henrik Sedin isn't getting any younger, and eventually the Canucks will be in store for a new No. 1 center, but is Ryan Kesler the man for the job?

Luongo or Schneider?

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    When the Canucks re-signed Cory Schneider to a three-year, $12 million extension, most of the hockey world expected Roberto Luongo to be shipped elsewhere. 

    But here we are, halfway through this shortened season with the trade deadline under a month away, and Luongo is still playing games and still wearing a Canucks jersey. 

    Could April 3 finally be the day this goaltending controversy is resolved?

Who Needs a Goalie?

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    If the Canucks are ready to settle the goalie controversy, which teams around the league need a goaltender?

    Toronto and Florida were the front-runners last summer, but a lot has changed since then. Toronto, for example, currently sits fifth in the East and has had solid goaltending to this point. Barring a disastrous turn around in the next month, Toronto is no longer looking like an option. 

    Based on recent play and team needs, I would keep an eye on the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning as the most likely candidates. 

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