2009-10 NHL Season Preview: Vancouver Canucks

Who's in: Christian Ehrhoff, Brad Lukowich, Andrew Raycroft, Mikael Samuelsson, Mathieu Schneider
Who's out: Jeff Cowan, Rob Davison, Jason LaBarbera, Mattias Ohlund, Taylor Pyatt, Curtis Sanford, Mats Sundin, Ossi Vaananen

Outlook: GM Mike Gillis's biggest task in the off-season was to either lockup the Sedins or find their replacement, and on the eve of July 1, he managed the former, signing the identical twins to identical $30.5-million, five-year contracts.

In other news on the Swedish front, both Mattias Ohlund, who signed with Tampa Bay, and Mats Sundin who remains (surprise, surprise) undecided left the club, with former Red Wings winger Mikael Samuelsson joining the team as a likely linemate for his countrymen on the first line.

With Ohlund on the way out, Gillis dramatically altered the blueline by adding a trio of defenders just prior to training camp, dealing prospects to the Sharks for Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich and signing former client Mathieu Schneider. The results leave the Canucks with eight NHL-calibre defencemen and right up against the cap, meaning another move is soon to come depending on who wins spots in training camp.

On the whole, however, the defence has taken some small steps forward in terms of depth, and the Canucks should produce far more offence from the back end than they have in recent seasons.

The biggest factor in Vancouver, as always, however, will be the play of Roberto Luongo, and a healthy season should mean another 20 starts over what he managed last time around. That alone should keep the Canucks in contention for a second straight Northwest Division title.

X-factor: Alex Burrows

For a more in-depth Canucks preview, visit 'Nucks Misconduct
For more NHL analysis, check out the McKeen's Hockey Yearbook

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