Some thoughts on the Sedins.
Before 2005/06 they were second line forwards who scored at a second line pace. Following the 2004/05 lockout things changed. Henrik saw a 33 point jump in production and Daniel a 17 point jump. Hank and Dank went from being players who scored at 0.46 and 0.48 PPG to top 3 forwards who put up 1.04 and 1.05 PPG, respectively. Now I grant that the game changed, obstruction was called more frequently and offense was of more importance to the league. The twins also matured and became more confident as individual players. They were stronger physically and more sure of themselves, and of course they were only 24 years old and about to enter their prime NHL years, however, let's not forget that they were also rested and re-focused. Now they are 32 years old, have just had an almost 8 month break from the physcial and mental rigors of NHL competition, are returning to the ice with 6 years of experience as the goto players for their team, and they have always been considered to be late bloomers. So when many players would see age 32 as being the twilight of prime production, these two could actually have another 3 or 4, and as many as 5, years of top line production left in them. I don't expect them to be in the top 5 for scoring, let alone chasing down an Art Ross, but I do think they will surprise the talking heads who like to consider themselves the hockey world's coming of Nostradamus.
Many people look at this lockout as the closing of the Canucks "window of opportunity". I think that with the team we have, the lockout could have been just what they needed in order to get healthy. Let's not forget that when we returned from the 2004/05 lockout the team was nowhere near the same as it is now. We had no goaltending, our defense could contain, though rarely contribute, we were lead up front by the Sedins (who surprised many) and a tired and uncertain Naslund. Kesler and Burrows were just coming into their own, but would be relative non-factors for another couple of seasons. Now we have proven winners in the regular season, a team that knows what it takes to get all the way to the big dance, they know each other and how to play together, we have a goaltending duo that most teams could only dream about, and while there are still a couple of missing pieces the team did get within a game of the Cup 2 years ago without those "essential" pieces. If Gillis holds onto Luongo for the first few weeks, or month even, of the season, there will probably be a few teams that struggle out of the gate who pull an early trigger and cough up more for his services than they are currently willing to. I think that is the safest bet for the Canucks anyhow, let Lou and Schneider split the work to start, go 50/50 and see how Schneider handles the increased work load, we know Louie is capable of playing that starter's role and dealing with the multiple consecutive starts, but the only question mark we have with Schneids is his consistency at the NHL level when being given the nod night in and night out. So what if it all pans out for Schneider and suddenly Gillis is able to move Luongo for a really big piece that fits in on our blueline? I don't think we are going to get that stud anchor that we all would love to see, but what if something gets worked out in mid-February that lands us a bonafide top 2 guy while hanging onto Edler, Bieksa, Hamhuis, and Garrison. That would probably coincide nicely with Kesler's return and the team would be firing on all cylinders going into early March, which is pretty much the perfect time to start building steam, hit a bump in the road to start April, then buckle down, grab a gear, and haul ass to the finish line.
Just some thoughts. I know we have some question marks as far as players are concerned.....like Raymond, Edler, Booth, Malhotra, and Ballard. But for me the only real area of doubt as far as this team's capability for winning it all is concerned lies behind the bench with Vigneault and Bowness.....and I don't think I need to reiterate my position on them.