About this time last year, most Canucks fans had the same feeling of guarded optimism that ultimately ended the same way it has since the inception of the team.
Nothing new, but least we fans had hope in our captain to turn it around and our defense and backstop to bail us out more often than not, but we all know how that ended.
There were certain expectations that we had with the team that were iced last season based on the history of the core group of Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, and even Roberto Luongo, which by my own admission and obviously that of many fans were too high.
Going into this season with the franchise getting a facelift in the leadership department, new management expectations are almost non-existent or very low.
A free agent forward who has been injury prone; a waiver-wire pickup who seemed or seems to have motivational issues; a young, strong, yet unproven forward who could go (talent-wise) one of two ways—turn out to blossom into a premier power forward, or turn out to be a experiment that may not be able to consistently produce; and some fourth-line depth are the additions which many find underwhelming.
Regardless of any trades, which personally I believe to be coming, this team is about the same, skill-wise.
The big difference this year could be wanting to prove everyone wrong; a lot of players on this team should feel like they have something to prove and it's up to them to put that into action. Coach Alain Vigneault also needs to use it for motivation and if utilized could make for an interesting season.
I'm not talking the President's Trophy—don't kid yourselves—but this is a team that could surprise a lot of people and make the glass slipper fit.