1982 to 1984 – Back to Mediocrity

1982-83

Coach: Roger Neilson
Captain: Stan Smyl
First Round Draft Pick: Michel Petit
Leading Scorer: Stan Smyl
Playoff Result: Lost in 1st Round

The Canucks were riding the high of the Stanley Cup final appearance from the year before and had high expectations. They were a decent team, but were in a hard division. The Edmonton Oilers were now a perennial powerhouse, and the Calgary Flames were beginning to look good. Even the Winnipeg Jets with young star Dale Hawerchuk were becoming a team to be reckoned with. Luckily the Los Angeles Kings were still terrible, and the Canucks were able to squeak into the playoffs, only to be knocked out in the first round. Nineteen year old Garth Butcher played as an NHL regular for the first time. Other rookies Tony Tanti and Patrik Sundstrom went on to become solid point producers for many years to come.

1983-84

Coach: Roger Neilson/Harry Neale
Captain: Stan Smyl
First Round Draft Pick: Cam Neely
Leading Scorer: Patrik Sundstrom
Playoff Result: Lost in 1st Round

With a core that included Stan Smyl, Thomas Gradin, Patrik Sundstrom, Tony Tanti, Rick Lanz, Harold Snepsts and Richard Brodeur, they finished the year with a record of 32-39-9 and were a playoff team for the sixth straight season. It would prove to be the end of an era though, as Roger Neilson was let go midway through the season and was replaced by general manager Harry Neale. Cam Neely played his first season in the NHL, putting up 31 points in 56 games. Darcy Rota retired after the season. Tiger Williams was traded away to the Detroit Red Wings. Former captain, Kevin McCarthy was traded away mid-season. Harold Snepsts was traded to the Minnesota North Stars. Tony Tanti emerged as one of the team’s top players for the first time, notching 45 goals.

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