2004 to 2008 – The Dave Nonis Era

2004-05 – Lockout

Coach: Marc Crawford
Captain: n/a
First Round Draft Pick: Cory Schneider
Leading Scorer: n/a
Playoff Result: n/a

2005-06

Coach: Marc Crawford
Captain: Markus Naslund
First Round Draft Pick: Luc Bourdon
Leading Scorer: Markus Naslund
Playoff Result: Missed Playoffs

Much of the same roster remained after the lockout that played for the Canucks pre-lockout. Markus Naslund signed a three year deal to stay with the team. Todd Bertuzzi had served his suspension for injuring Steve Moore.

The NHL instituted a number of new rules to increase offence, and this was widely thought to benefit the Canucks, specifically the West Coast Express line. It turned out not to be the case. Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison all had disappointing seasons by their standards. Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the other hand, had breakout seasons playing with new linemate Anson Carter. Carter led the team in goals with 33. Dan Cloutier’s injury woes continued and he missed most of the season. The Canucks also suffered major injuries on defence, losing Ed Jovanovski and Sami Salo for significant periods of time.

Injuries coupled with underperformance led to a disappointing season, and ultimately missing the playoffs. Marc Crawford was let go at the end of the season and more changes were likely to be on the horizon. Dave Nonis was about to put his stamp on the team.

2006-07

Coach: Alain Vigneault
Captain: Markus Naslund
First Round Draft Pick: Michael Grabner
Leading Scorer: Daniel Sedin
Playoff Result: Lost in 2nd Round

After missing the playoffs in a year they were expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup, the Canucks made a number of changes. Marc Crawford was fired and replaced with Manitoba Moose head coach Alain Vigneault. Controversial forward Todd Bertuzzi was traded along with Alex Auld and Bryan Allen to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Lukas Krajicek. Ed Jovanovski signed with Phoenix. Dan Cloutier was traded to Los Angeles. Anson Carter signed with Columbus. Willie Mitchell was signed as a free agent. Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows played their first full seasons in the NHL and Ryan Kesler played an increased role.
This was a new look team in just about every sense. Marc Crawford’s run and gun style was replaced with Alain Vigneault’s defensive style of play. The Sedin twins anchored the number one line.

The biggest story of 2006-07 though was the play of new goalie Roberto Luongo. Luongo was sensational and stole games on a regular basis. He was the runner-up for the Vezina trophy and a Hart trophy candidate.
Despite having a lot of trouble scoring goals all season long, the Canucks won the Northwest division and Alain Vigneault won the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year. They beat the Dallas Stars in 7 games during the first round, but lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions in the second round against the Anaheim Ducks. The season was a pleasant surprise for Canucks fans.

2007-08

Coach: Alain Vigneault
Captain: Markus Naslund
First Round Draft Pick: Patrick White
Leading Scorer: Henrik Sedin
Playoff Result: Missed Playoffs

The Canucks of 2007-08 looked a whole lot like the Canucks of 2006-07 on paper. Aside from the insertion of a couple of young players, Mason Raymond and Alex Edler, the team was the same. They were essentially the same on paper, but the problem was that the team was a lot different on the ice. Roberto Luongo wasn’t ‘all-world’ in net like he was the year before. Brendan Morrison missed half the season due to injury. Sami Salo, Mattias Ohlund, Kevin Bieksa and Lukas Krajicek, all defencemen, missed significant time due to injury which crippled the team. On top of all this, the Canucks likely got lucky a lot the previous year, winning a lot of one goal games and a lot in overtime and shootouts. In 2007-08, their luck ran out and the Canucks finished out of the playoffs.

Finishing out of the playoffs for the second time in three years was unacceptable for owner Francesco Aquilini and big changes were on the horizon. Dave Nonis was fired as general manager and replaced by Mike Gillis. Trevor Linden played his final game in the NHL and Markus Naslund played his final game in a Canucks jersey.

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