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|NHL||01/15 22:00||-|| VAN Canucks v CAR Hurricanes ||W||4-3|
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|NHL||01/06 03:00||-|| COL Avalanche v VAN Canucks ||W||2-4|
The Vancouver Canucks are a professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, and play their home games at Rogers Arena. Bruce Boudreau is the head coach, Jim Rutherford serves as the president of hockey operations, and Patrik Allvin serves as the general manager.
The Canucks joined the league in 1970 as an expansion team along with the Buffalo Sabres. In its NHL history, the team has advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals three times, losing to the New York Islanders in 1982, the New York Rangers in 1994 and the Boston Bruins in 2011. They have won the Presidents' Trophy in back-to-back seasons as the team with the league's best regular-season record in the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons. They won three division titles as a member of the Smythe Division from 1974 to 1993, and seven titles as a member of the Northwest Division from 1998 to 2013. The Canucks, along with the Sabres, are the two oldest teams to have never won the Stanley Cup.
The Canucks have retired six players' jerseys in their history—Pavel Bure (10), Stan Smyl (12), Trevor Linden (16), Markus Naslund (19), Daniel Sedin (22) and Henrik Sedin (33); all but Bure and Daniel Sedin have served as team captain. All but Naslund were on one of the three Stanley Cup Finals rosters. Smyl has the distinction of being the only Canuck to have his jersey number retired at their former arena, Pacific Coliseum.
The first professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver were the Vancouver Millionaires, formed by Frank and Lester Patrick. Established in 1911, the Millionaires were one of three teams in the new Pacific Coast Hockey Association. To accommodate the Millionaires, the Patrick brothers directed the building of the Denman Arena, which was known at the time as the world's largest artificial ice rink. The arena was later destroyed in a fire in 1936. The Millionaires played for the Stanley Cup five times, winning over the Ottawa Senators in 1915 on home ice. It marked the first time the Stanley Cup was won by a West Coast team in the trophy's history. Absorbed by the Western Canada Hockey League in 1924, the team continued operations until folding at the end of the 1925–26 WHL season.
From 1926 to 1970, Vancouver was home to only minor league teams. Most notably the present-day Canucks' minor league predecessor (also known as the Vancouver Canucks) played from 1945 to 1970 in the Pacific Coast Hockey League and the Western Hockey League.
With the intention of attracting an NHL franchise, Vancouver began the construction of a new modern arena, the Pacific Coliseum, in 1966 (with the arena opening in January 1968). The WHL's Canucks were playing in a small arena at the time, the Vancouver Forum, situated on the same Pacific National Exhibition grounds as the Coliseum. Meanwhile, a Vancouver group led by WHL Canucks owner and former Vancouver mayor Fred Hume made a bid to be one of the six teams due to join the league in 1967, but the NHL rejected their application. Bid leader Cyrus McLean called the denial a "cooked-up deal", referring to several biases that factored against them. Speculation long abounded afterwards that the bid was hindered by Toronto Maple Leafs president Stafford Smythe; after a failed Vancouver-based business deal, he was quoted as saying that the city would not get an NHL franchise in his lifetime. Additionally, along with the Montreal Canadiens, Smythe purportedly did not wish to split Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) hockey revenues three ways rather than two.
Less than a year later, the Oakland Seals were in financial difficulty and having trouble drawing fans. An apparent deal was in place to move the team to Vancouver, but the NHL did not want to see one of their franchises from the expansion of 1967 move so quickly and vetoed the deal. In exchange for avoiding a lawsuit, the NHL promised Vancouver would get a team in the next expansion round. Another group, headed by Minnesota entrepreneur Tom Scallen, made a new presentation and was awarded an expansion franchise for the price of $6 million (three times the cost in 1967). The new ownership group purchased the WHL Canucks, and brought the team into the league with the Buffalo Sabres as expansion teams for the 1970–71 season.
In preparation for joining the NHL, the WHL Canucks had brought in players with prior NHL experience. Six of these players (John Arbour, George Gardner, Len Lunde, Marc Reaume, Ted Taylor and Murray Hall) would remain with the club for its inaugural NHL season. The rest of the roster was built through an expansion draft.
To fill the Canucks' roster for their inaugural season, the league held an Expansion Draft in the preceding summer. A draft lottery was held on June 9, 1970, determining who between the Canucks and Sabres would get the first selection in the Expansion Draft, as well as the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft; the Sabres won both spins. With his first selection in the Expansion Draft, Canucks General Manager Bud Poile chose defenceman Gary Doak. Among the other players chosen by Vancouver were centre Orland Kurtenbach, who was named the Canucks' first captain, as well as defenceman Pat Quinn, who later became the team's general manager and coach in the 1990s. Two days later, on June 11, 1970, the Canucks made defenceman Dale Tallon their first-ever Amateur Draft selection. Tallon played three seasons with the club before being traded away to the Chicago Black Hawks. By comparison, the Sabres chose centre Gilbert Perreault with the first overall selection they won from the lottery; Perreault went on to become a nine-time All-Star and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
With the Canucks' roster set, the team played its inaugural game against the Los Angeles Kings on October 9, 1970. They lost the contest 3–1; defenceman Barry Wilkins scored the Canucks' lone goal in the game and first in franchise history, a backhander against goaltender Denis DeJordy. Two days later, the squad recorded the first win in franchise history, a 5–3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Canucks struggled in their early years, failing to make the playoffs in their first four seasons. Placed in the competitive East Division, Poile assembled a core of players during this period led by Kurtenbach that included defencemen Tallon and Jocelyn Guevremont, as well as wingers Andre Boudrias and Dennis Ververgaert. Boudrias emerged as the team's leading point-scorer in four of their first five seasons.
Prior to the 1974–75 season, Scallen and his ownership group from Minnesota sold the team to local media mogul Frank Griffiths for $9 million. Also in the summer of 1974, the Canucks were re-aligned within the league and placed in the new Smythe Division. They responded with their first winning record (38 wins, 32 losses and 10 ties), backstopped by goaltender Gary "Suitcase" Smith finishing first in the Division with 86 points. Making their debut in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canucks lost the opening series of the 1975 playoffs in five games to the Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach and General Manager Phil Maloney (the third GM in team history after Poile and Hal Laycoe) recalled the importance of a successful season for the Canucks in that year specifically, as the rival league World Hockey Association (WHA) had established another major professional team in the city, the Vancouver Blazers. Competing for the same hockey market, the Canucks emerged over the Blazers as the latter relocated to Calgary, Alberta, the following season. The Canucks posted a second consecutive winning record and made the playoffs in 1975–76, but lost to the New York Islanders in a two-game preliminary series. It would be another 16 years until the team would have another winning record though they made the playoffs nine times in that span.
Kurtenbach retired and assumed a coaching position with Vancouver. His departure as a player marked the beginning of a seven-year period in which the Canucks had four different captains – Boudrias, Chris Oddleifson, Don Lever and Kevin McCarthy. Following the 1976–77 season, Maloney was replaced as general manager by Jake Milford, who acquired such players as Stan Smyl, Thomas Gradin, Darcy Rota, Ivan Boldirev and Richard Brodeur, a core that would lead the team throughout the 1980s.
The Canucks made their first significant playoff impact in the 1982 playoffs. In their previous five playoff appearances, the team had failed to win a single series. Though the Canucks finished three games under a .500 win percentage in the 1981–82 regular season, they began gaining momentum by finishing the campaign on a nine-game unbeaten streak. Meanwhile, Smyl emerged as the club's leader, replacing McCarthy as the captain after the latter was sidelined with an injury late in the season (he would retain that position for a team-record eight years). Continuing their success in the playoffs, the Canucks made the Stanley Cup Finals with a combined 11–2 record in series against the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Black Hawks. Despite having a losing regular-season record, Vancouver had a home-ice advantage in the first series, having finished second in the Smythe Division to the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks also had a home-ice advantage during the second-round series against the Kings, who upset the Oilers in the first round.
Late in Game 2 of the Conference Finals in Chicago, Vancouver Interim Head Coach Roger Neilson, frustrated with what he felt was the poor officiating in the game, placed a white towel on the end of a hockey stick and held it up in a gesture mocking surrender (waving the white flag). The players on the Canucks' bench followed suit. When the series shifted to Vancouver for the next two games, the team's fans cheered them on by waving white towels above their heads. The habit stuck, becoming an original Canuck fan tradition now seen across the league and in other sports, known as "Towel Power." The Canucks proceeded to win the series in five games, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their history.
Entering the Finals against the New York Islanders, the Canucks were the first team from Western Canada to play for the Stanley Cup in 56 years, when the Victoria Cougars reached the 1926 Stanley Cup Finals. It also marked the first-ever coast-to-coast Stanley Cup Finals. Competing against the Islanders – the Stanley Cup champions of the previous two years, who had finished with 41 points more than Vancouver in the regular season standings – Vancouver took the first game to overtime. In the final minute of the extra period, Canucks defenceman and fan favourite Harold Snepsts gave the puck away with an errant pass from behind his net, leading to a Mike Bossy goal. Like the first game, the Canucks held a 3–2 lead after the first two periods in the second game, but were not able to keep their lead, and lost 6–4. The Canucks were unable to complete their Cinderella run and were swept, losing their next two games by 3–0 and 3–1 scores. The 1982 playoffs proved to be the last year in which Vancouver won a playoff series until 1992.
After their improbable Stanley Cup run, the Canucks slipped back into mediocrity for the rest of the 1980s, making the playoffs only four times for the rest of the decade. Notable players that joined the Canucks' core following the 1982 playoffs included offensively skilled forwards Patrik Sundstrom and Tony Tanti. Beginning in 1983–84, the Canucks' scoring title was held by either Sundstrom or Tanti for four of the next five seasons, the only season in which neither won the team scoring title was 1985–86, when it was won by Petri Skriko. For most of the second half of the 1980s, the Canucks competed with the Los Angeles Kings for the final playoff spot in the Smythe Division. In the years in which they qualified for the playoffs, the team was eliminated in the first round by either the Edmonton Oilers (in 1985–86) or the Calgary Flames (in 1982–83, 1983–84 and the Flames championship season of 1988–89, which was decided in Game 7), both division rivals.
Following Milford's tenure as general manager from 1977 to 1982, the position was held by Harry Neale for three years, then Jack Gordon for two. The latter was responsible for trading away power forward Cam Neely to the Boston Bruins in 1986. In addition to Neely, the Canucks gave up their 1987 first-round draft pick, with which the Bruins chose Glen Wesley, and in return acquired centre Barry Pederson. While Pederson collected back-to-back 70-point seasons with the Canucks in his first two seasons after the trade, he was traded away to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1989 as his performance quickly declined. Neely went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Bruins, recording three 50-goal seasons, and Wesley had a solid 20-year career.
After the installation of former Canucks defenceman Pat Quinn as general manager in the summer of 1987, the team underwent an immediate rebuilding process, trading away core veterans for younger prospects and players. Among the more key transactions was a deal with the New Jersey Devils, in which Sundstrom was traded away in exchange for winger Greg Adams and goaltender Kirk McLean. In addition to Quinn's trades, the team improved through the draft route with two selections, in particular. With the second overall selection in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks chose winger Trevor Linden from the Western Hockey League (WHL). The following year, the team made a controversial selection by choosing Russian winger Pavel Bure 113th overall. Bure was believed by most teams to be ineligible for selection that year. Consequently, his draft by the Canucks took a year to be verified by the league as team management went about procuring documents to prove his eligibility.
As the decade turned, a shift in the Canucks' leadership occurred as Stan Smyl resigned his captaincy prior to the 1990–91 season due to a reduced on-ice role with the team. In his place, the Canucks implemented a rotating captaincy of Linden, Dan Quinn and Doug Lidster; of the three, Linden retained the captaincy thereafter, becoming the youngest permanent captain in team history at 21 years of age. At the end of the season, Smyl retired as the team's all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points. Led by Linden and in large part to Quinn's dealings, the Canucks rose to prominence in the early 1990s. This increased success came roughly around the time the Oilers and Flames began to sink in the standings. As a result, Vancouver won their first division title in 17 years with 42 wins, 26 losses and 12 ties during the 1991–92 season (it was also the team's first winning season since the 1975–76 season). During the campaign, the Canucks honoured Smyl, who had remained on the team as an assistant coach, by making him the first player in team history to have his jersey (number 12) retired. In the 1992 playoffs, the Canucks won their first series since 1982 before being eliminated by the Oilers in the second round. Quinn and Bure became the first Canucks recipients of major NHL awards in the off-season, being awarded the Jack Adams Award as the best coach (Quinn assumed a dual coaching and general managerial role starting that year) and the top rookie in the league, respectively. The following year, the Canucks repeated as regular-season division champions, while Bure emerged as arguably the team's first superstar with his first of back-to-back 60-goal seasons, totals which remain the highest recorded in Canucks history. As the team struggled to score in the second half of the 1993–94 season, Bure recorded 49 goals in the club's final 51 games and contributed to 46.45% of his team's goals in the final 47 games of the season to carry the Canucks into the 1994 postseason. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal called Bure "the NHL's best forward the last 40 games, scoring almost a goal a game."
In 1994, the Canucks made their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, entering the playoffs as the seventh seed in the renamed Western Conference. Despite underachieving in the regular season (their points total decreased by 16 from the previous year, although they finished second in the newly renamed Pacific Division), the Canucks played well in the playoffs and embarked on another unexpected run.
Opening the playoffs with a close first-round series against the Calgary Flames, Vancouver rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the series in seven contests. Games 5 through 7 were all won in overtime with goals from Geoff Courtnall, Trevor Linden, and Pavel Bure respectively. The deciding seventh game featured two of the most recognizable and celebrated plays in Canucks history. With the game tied 3–3 in the first overtime, goaltender Kirk McLean made what became known thereafter as "The Save", sliding across the crease feet-first and stacking his pads on the goal line to stop Robert Reichel on a one-timer pass from Theoren Fleury. The following period, Pavel Bure received a breakaway pass from defenceman Jeff Brown before deking Calgary goaltender Mike Vernon to score and win the series. Fifteen years later, Bure's goal and McLean's save were ranked first and second in a Vancouver Sun article listing the "40 most memorable moments in team history."
Following their victory over the Flames, the Canucks then upset both the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs (both in five games) en route to the franchise's second Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Forward Greg Adams sent the Canucks into the Finals with a double-overtime goal against Maple Leafs goaltender Felix Potvin in Game 5. Staging the second coast-to-coast Finals in league history, the Canucks were matched against the Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers. Vancouver achieved victory in Game 1 by a score of 3–2 in overtime, largely due to a 52-save performance by goaltender McLean. After losing the next 3 games, the Canucks won the next two to force a seventh game at Madison Square Garden on June 14, 1994. Despite a two-goal effort (one on a shorthanded breakaway) from Linden (who was playing with cracked ribs), Vancouver lost the game by a 3–2 score. The Canucks' efforts to tie the game included a post hit by forward Nathan LaFayette with just over a minute remaining in regulation. The loss was followed by a riot in Downtown Vancouver, which resulted in property damage, injuries and arrests. Two days after the riots, the team held a rally at BC Place attended by 45,000 fans, who congratulated the team for their effort.
With a young core that included Linden, Bure and McLean still in their 20s after the 1994 playoffs, the Canucks appeared poised to remain contenders in the league. However, the team failed to record a winning season in the six years following their Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Prior to the lock-out shortened 1994–95 season, Quinn stepped down as head coach to focus on his managerial duties and was replaced by Rick Ley; Vancouver finished with a .500 record that year. Their elimination from the 1995 Stanley Cup playoffs in Game 4 of the second round marked the Canucks' last game played at the Pacific Coliseum, as the team moved into the new General Motors Place (since renamed Rogers Arena), a new $160 million arena situated in Downtown Vancouver, the following season.
The Canucks made another significant move in the off-season by acquiring high-scoring Russian forward Alexander Mogilny from the Buffalo Sabres, reuniting Bure with his former CSKA Moscow and national team linemate. While Mogilny became the second player in team history to record 50 goals and 100 points in a season, chiefly playing with centre Cliff Ronning, the expected chemistry between Mogilny and Bure never materialized, with the latter suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the campaign. Vancouver finished 1995–96 two games below .500 and were defeated in the first round of the playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche. The season also marked the arrival of another future Canucks superstar, as Markus Naslund was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Alek Stojanov. The deal is regarded as one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history, as Stojanov soon became a minor-leaguer, while Naslund became the team's all-time leading goal- and point-scorer years later. Despite a late season swoon, Ley was fired and replaced by Quinn down the stretch. The team limped into the playoffs, losing to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.
In the 1996 off-season, Quinn hired Tom Renney whose tenure as the team's head coach lasted less than two seasons. Despite strong performances from Mogilny and team-leading point-scorer Martin Gelinas in Bure and Linden's absence (both of whom were injured for long periods of time during the season), the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first of four consecutive seasons that year. Making another high-profile acquisition on July 27, 1997, the Canucks signed free agent Mark Messier to a three-year deal. They had come close to signing Wayne Gretzky the previous summer, but were reportedly spurned away when they refused to continue negotiations and gave Gretzky an ultimatum to sign.
Heading into the 1997–98 season, Linden resigned his captaincy for Messier, who had developed a strong reputation as a leader, having captained the New York Rangers over the Canucks in 1994 (he also captained the Oilers to a Stanley Cup in 1990). Linden later recalled regretting the decision, feeling that Messier generated hostility and tension in the dressing room. Messier later said if he could change one thing about his time in Vancouver, he would not have accepted the captaincy.
The Canucks began the campaign overseas in a two-game series against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Tokyo, Japan. It marked the first time in NHL history that a regular-season game was held outside of North America – an effort from the league to attract attention to the sport in anticipation of the 1998 Winter Olympics, which were held in Nagano, Japan. As the team's performance continued to worsen, starting the 1997–98 season with three wins in the first 16 games, Quinn was fired as general manager after ten years with the team. Soon thereafter, Renney was fired and replaced as coach by Mike Keenan, reuniting him with Messier, another central figure from the Rangers' 1994 team. Keenan's hiring reportedly exacerbated tensions between groups of Canucks players and his negative relationship with Linden was given ample media attention. Two months into his tenure with the team, his role was expanded and he was made de facto general manager. With control of player personnel, Keenan overhauled the roster, making ten trades within two months, most notably dealing Linden to the New York Islanders. Although the trade was unpopular with fans, the Canucks received winger Todd Bertuzzi in return, who would later become an integral part of the team's return to success in the next decade. Defenceman Bryan McCabe was also part of the deal, who would eventually be involved in a key transaction in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
After the Canucks finished the 1997–98 season last in the Western Conference, former NHL Vice-president Brian Burke was named general manager in the summer. Suffering their worst season since 1977–78 the subsequent year, Keenan was fired midway through and replaced with Marc Crawford (who had won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996). Meanwhile, Pavel Bure, unhappy in Vancouver, had withheld himself from the team and requested a trade at the beginning of the campaign. By January 1999, he was dealt with the Florida Panthers in a seven-player trade, which saw eventual five-time NHL All-Star Ed Jovanovski heading west. The trade also involved two draft picks. Finishing last in the Western Conference for a second-straight year, Vancouver possessed the fourth overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Set on drafting highly touted Swedish forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Burke orchestrated several transactions to move up to the second and third overall picks, with which he chose both players.
The Canucks began to show improvement in the 1999–00 season, finishing four points out of a playoff spot. During the campaign, Mogilny was traded to the New Jersey Devils for forwards Denis Pederson and Brendan Morrison. With Bure gone and Messier in the last year of his contract, several previously under-achieving players began developing into key contributors for the team, most notably Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. In the off-season, Messier left the team and returned to the Rangers; during the team's September 2000 training camp, held in Sweden, Naslund was selected to replace Messier as captain, a position he held for seven seasons. As part of the team's stay in Sweden, they played exhibition games against Swedish and Finnish teams as part of the NHL Challenge.
Under the leadership of general manager Brian Burke and head coach Marc Crawford, the Canucks once again became a playoff team. After qualifying for the postseason in 2001 and 2002 as the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference (losing to the eventual Stanley Cup winners Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings, respectively), the Canucks became regular contenders for the Northwest Division title.
Coinciding with the team's success in the early 2000s was the rise of power forward Todd Bertuzzi and captain Markus Naslund into high-scoring wingers and NHL All-Stars. Joined by centre Brendan Morrison during the 2001–02 season, the trio were nicknamed the "West Coast Express" (after the Vancouver rail service of the same name) among Canucks fans and media. Over the next three years, Naslund ranked in the top five among league scorers and was a Lester B. Pearson Award winner and Hart Memorial Trophy finalist in 2003. Bertuzzi was also a top-five scorer in the league in 2001–02 and 2002–03. During this span, Burke made a trade with the Washington Capitals to facilitate the return of Trevor Linden. The ex-captain returned to a markedly different Canucks team with a young core consisting of the aforementioned trio, defencemen Ed Jovanovski and Mattias Ohlund, as well as goaltender Dan Cloutier.
In 2002–03, the Canucks set a franchise record with a 10-game win streak but lost the division title to the Colorado Avalanche on the last day of the regular season. Individually, Naslund was surpassed the same night by Avalanche forwards Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk for the Art Ross Trophy and Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, respectively. Entering the 2003 playoffs with the fourth seed in the West, the Canucks won their first playoff series in eight years, defeating the St. Louis Blues in seven games before losing to the Minnesota Wild in the second round. In both series, they were 3–1 comebacks; the Canucks rallied to beat the Blues, but lost their own 3–1 lead to the Wild, who had also come back from a 3–1 deficit in the first round, against the Avalanche.
Amidst a run for the team's first Northwest Division title the following season, the Canucks received significant media attention for their involvement in a violent on-ice attack during a game against the Avalanche. On March 8, 2004, Bertuzzi grabbed Avalanche forward Steve Moore from behind and punched him in the head. As Moore fell to the ice, Bertuzzi landed on top of him; Moore suffered three fractured neck vertebrae, facial cuts and a concussion. The incident was in retaliation of a hit that Moore landed on Naslund during a previous game between the two teams. For his actions, Bertuzzi was suspended by the NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) through to the start of the 2005–06 season. He also faced legal action in British Columbia court, while Moore filed lawsuits against him and the Canucks organization in Colorado and Ontario courts.
The Canucks went on to win their first Northwest Division title that season, but lost in the first round of the 2004 playoffs to the Calgary Flames. After their elimination, Burke's contract as general manager was not renewed and he was replaced by assistant general manager and director of hockey operations Dave Nonis. At 37-years-old, he became the youngest general manager in team history. Due to the NHL lockout, the 2004–05 season was not played. Several Canucks players went overseas to Europe to play professionally, including Naslund and the Sedin twins, who all returned to their former Swedish team, Modo Hockey.
Upon the resolution of the labour dispute between NHL players and owners, new gameplay rules were set in place for the 2005–06 season that were intended to benefit skilled players and generate more goal-scoring. As the Canucks' basis of success in previous seasons was built on playing a fast-paced, high-scoring style of play, expectations for the team were high going into the season. However, the team failed to qualify for the playoffs, completing the regular season ninth place in the West. The first line of Naslund, Bertuzzi and Morrison suffered offensively, as all three players recorded decreased points totals. Head Coach Marc Crawford later recalled the campaign as a turning point for the team's offensive leadership as the Sedin twins began their rise to stardom, matching the top line's production. Crawford was fired in the off-season and replaced with Alain Vigneault, who had been coach of the team's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Three days after Vigneault's hiring, Nonis dealt Bertuzzi to the Florida Panthers, ending the "West Coast Express" era. (Naslund and Morrison would leave the team two years later.) In return, the Canucks received All-Star goaltender Roberto Luongo as part of a six-player trade. With the acquisition of Luongo, Cloutier was traded away to the Los Angeles Kings.
With widespread changes to team personnel in 2006–07, the Canucks won the Northwest Division title for the second time in three seasons. In his first season with the Canucks, Luongo was nominated for the Hart Memorial and Vezina Trophies. He also tied Bernie Parent for the second-most wins in a single-season by an NHL goaltender, with 47. The Canucks opened the 2007 playoffs with a quadruple-overtime win against the Dallas Stars. Ending at the 138-minute mark, the game was the longest in club history and the sixth-longest in NHL history. The Canucks also set a league record for shots against in one game, allowing 76. Vancouver won the series in seven games despite a lack of goal-scoring; Stars goaltender Marty Turco recorded three shutouts in the series and equalled the league record for most shutouts in a playoff series. Advancing to the second round, the team was defeated in five games by the Anaheim Ducks, who went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. Following the playoffs, Head Coach Vigneault received the Jack Adams Award.
Suffering numerous injuries to players in the 2007–08 season, the Canucks struggled and finished three points out of a playoff spot. The final game of the season, a 7–1 loss to the Calgary Flames, marked Trevor Linden's last NHL game, as the former Canucks' all-time leading scorer retired. Having missed the playoffs for the second time in three years, the team underwent numerous personnel changes in the off-season.
After Nonis was fired and replaced with former player agent Mike Gillis in April 2008, longtime Canucks captain Markus Naslund, as well as Brendan Morrison, were let go via free agency. Also in the off-season, on May 29, 2008, the Canucks lost defensive prospect Luc Bourdon to a fatal motorcycle crash near his hometown of Shippagan, New Brunswick.
With Naslund's departure, Gillis announced on September 30, 2008, that Luongo had been named team captain, marking the first time since Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadiens in 1947–48 that a goaltender had been named the captain of an NHL team. During the ensuing season, the Canucks retired their second jersey number in team history, hanging Linden's number 16 beside Smyl's number 12 in a pre-game ceremony on December 17, 2008. Later that month, the Canucks acquired unrestricted free agent Mats Sundin. The arrival of the former Toronto Maple Leafs captain and 500-goal scorer in the NHL came with high expectations. However, Sundin scored below his usual pace and retired in the subsequent off-season. The team finished the regular season with another Northwest Division title and the third seed in the Western Conference. In the 2009 playoffs, the Canucks swept their first round series against the St. Louis Blues (the first four-game sweep in franchise history), but were defeated in six games by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.
In the 2009–10 season, the Canucks faced the longest road trip in NHL history, playing 14 games over six weeks, from January 27 to March 13, 2010. The schedule was a result of Vancouver hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, which shut down the NHL for two weeks, facilitating General Motors Place's use for ice hockey during the games. It marked the first time that an NHL market hosted an Olympics since the league allowed its players to compete in the games, beginning with the 1998 Games in Nagano. Among the several Canucks players named to their respective national teams, centre Ryan Kesler of the United States and goaltender Roberto Luongo of Canada played against each other in the gold medal game; Luongo and Team Canada emerged with the win.
As the NHL season resumed, Henrik Sedin went on to become the first Canucks player to win the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophies as the league's leading scorer and most valuable player, respectively. He achieved the feat with a franchise-record 112 points, surpassing Pavel Bure's mark of 110 set in 1991–92. Vancouver won the Northwest Division title and finished third in the Western Conference for the second-straight year. They opened the playoffs by defeating the sixth-place Los Angeles Kings in six games, but were once again eliminated by Chicago, who went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, the following round in six games.
The 2010–11 season began on October 9, 2010, with a pre-game ceremony to commemorate the team's 40-year anniversary. Henrik Sedin was named in the ceremony as the team's new captain, replacing Roberto Luongo, who had relinquished his captaincy in the off-season. The Canucks played the Los Angeles Kings, their first opponent in their inaugural season in 1970; both teams wore their original uniforms used in the Canucks' inaugural game. Throughout the season, the Canucks continued to celebrate their 40th anniversary with the creation of the "Ring of Honour", a permanent in-arena display commemorating their most significant players from past years. Four players were inducted during the campaign – Orland Kurtenbach, Kirk McLean, Thomas Gradin and Harold Snepsts. In December 2010, the Canucks also honoured Markus Naslund by retiring his number 19 jersey. Naslund had retired two years after leaving the Canucks in 2008. The team finished the season first overall in the league for the first time, winning the Presidents' Trophy. Finishing with 54 wins and 117 points, the Canucks broke the previous team records in both categories by significant margins. Individually, numerous players had career years. Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer with 104 points, marking the first time in NHL history that two brothers won the award in back-to-back years. Meanwhile, Ryan Kesler tied Daniel Sedin for the team goal-scoring lead, with 41 goals. In goal, Roberto Luongo and backup Cory Schneider captured the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against.
Entering the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canucks played the Chicago Blackhawks, who had eliminated Vancouver in the previous two years. While Vancouver initially took a 3–0 lead in the series, Chicago came back to win three straight games and force the series into a Game 7. Forced into overtime, winger Alexandre Burrows scored his second goal of the game following a failed clearing attempt by Chicago defenceman Chris Campoli to win the series. The Canucks played the Nashville Predators in the second round of the playoffs, defeating the Predators in six games. Facing the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals, Vancouver won in five games.
Advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994, the Canucks won the first two games of the series, with Boston winning the next two. Vancouver won game 5 while the Bruins won games 6 and 7 to win the Stanley Cup. After the game, riots and looting broke out in downtown Vancouver, repeating the events of 17 years earlier.
During the season-opening game on October 6, 2011, a ceremony was held to honour Rick Rypien, who died by suicide during the off-season. For the rest of the season, the players wore decals on their helmets saying "37 RYP." The Canucks were strong contenders for much of the 2011–12 season, and clinched Presidents' Trophy, for the second consecutive year. Despite projections for another Stanley Cup run at the outset of the 2012 playoffs, the Canucks were eliminated in five games by the eventual Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
Prior to the start of the 2012–13 season, the league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired. Unable to agree on a new CBA, the NHL enacted a lock-out on September 15, 2012. The lock-out continued on for 119 days, which resulted a shortened season. The Canucks wore Vancouver Millionaires replica jerseys on March 16, 2013, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Millionaires.
Vancouver finished the year winning their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title, but were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks. Vigneault and his coaching staff were fired at the end of the season, and replaced by John Tortorella.
The Canucks participated in their first outdoor NHL game on March 2, 2014, a match against the Ottawa Senators at BC Place. The event was titled the 2014 Heritage Classic. Luongo was traded back to the Panthers during the season, while the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in six years. This saw Gillis fired and Linden named president of hockey operations; Tortorella was also relieved as coach after his one season.
On May 21, 2014, Jim Benning was announced as general manager, having previously served as assistant general manager of the 2011 Boston Bruins championship team that had beaten the Canucks three years prior. On June 23, 2014, Willie Desjardins was named the 18th head coach of the Canucks. The team underwent a series of changes under the new management: veteran forward Ryan Kesler was traded to the Anaheim Ducks, and defenceman Jason Garrison was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, while Ryan Miller and Radim Vrbata were signed as free agents. This season saw the team honour former general manager and head coach Pat Quinn, following his death, by renaming a city street after him (Pat Quinn Way) as well as having his family participate in a pregame ceremonial puck drop. The Canucks finished second in the Pacific Division in the 2014–15 season, reaching the 100 point plateau for the ninth time in franchise history. They faced the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs, losing in six games.
As the team fared poorly throughout the 2016–17 season, more veteran players were traded: Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen were dealt in an effort to rebuild. On March 25, 2017, the Canucks' 2015 first round pick Brock Boeser made his NHL debut in his home state of Minnesota. Desjardins and his coaching staff, with the exception of assistant coach Doug Jarvis, were let go at the end of the season, replaced by Travis Green who coached their AHL affiliate in Utica. They also added Nolan Baumgartner, Newell Brown, and Manny Malhotra as assistant coaches.
The 2017–18 season was another poor year for the Canucks, but rookie Boeser was a bright spot for the team. Despite an injury late in the season, Boeser's 29 goals and 55 points in 62 games were enough to place him second in Calder Memorial Trophy voting for rookie of the year. Longtime Canucks Daniel and Henrik Sedin played their final game on April 7, 2018, against the Edmonton Oilers. On June 5, 2018, longtime Canucks' public address announcer John Ashbridge died, having worked in his capacity with the franchise since 1987. During the offseason, Linden stepped down as president of hockey operations.
The 2018–19 season saw the debut of the Canucks' 2017 first-round draft pick, Elias Pettersson. Pettersson broke the Canucks' record for points by a rookie, set by Ivan Hlinka (1981–82) and matched by Pavel Bure (1991–92), and finished with 66 points to lead all NHL rookies, winning the Calder Trophy.
The franchise celebrated its 50th season in the NHL, the 2019–20 season, with a ceremony at the home opener on October 9, 2019. Bo Horvat was named the 14th captain in team history, following a one-year hiatus without a captain with the retirement of long-time captain Henrik Sedin. The 2019–20 season also saw the rookie campaign of Quinn Hughes, who finished the regular season with 8 goals and 45 assists for 53 points in 68 games, finishing as runner-up in Calder Memorial Trophy votes. The Canucks became the first team to have a top two Calder Trophy finalist three years in a row since the Toronto Maple Leafs, who did so when the league only had six teams from 1957 to 1959. On February 12, 2020, Daniel and Henrik Sedin's numbers 22 and 33 were retired before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. On March 12, 2020, the Canucks and the NHL's season was suspended due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the league resumed play, the Canucks won their first postseason series in nine years in the 2020 Qualifying Round by defeating the Minnesota Wild. They then beat the defending Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues in six games in the first round before being eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games in the second round.
General manager Jim Benning, head coach Travis Green, assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner, and assistant general manager John Weisbrod were fired on December 5, 2021, after an 8–15–2 start to the 2021–22 NHL season. On the same day, Bruce Boudreau was named the 20th head coach of the Canucks.
On December 9, 2021, Jim Rutherford was named president of hockey operations and interim general manager. He hired Patrik Allvin as general manager on January 26, 2022.