The good news for 29 NHL fan bases is they haven't had to endure heartbreak, frustration, and annoyance the way Vancouver Canucks fans have.
This team, despite nearly a decade of prominence with so many star players, has still failed to win a Stanley Cup and their playoff success has been very underwhelming, to say the least. With their championship window long-closed, it's safe to say they waited way too long to inject a youth movement.
If you look at every bad draft selection, toxic contract, or horrible coach hiring, it's easy to see how many of them will follow right to the path of Vancouver. Somehow and someway, this team wasn't able to make a decision that was great for the long-run. It seemed every decision from coaches and the front office only came back to bite them, keeping them back from enduring long-term success.
Canucks fans have had to go through so much pain: Playoff meltdowns, horrible regular seasons, and the rights to question just about every move ownership has made. For some reason, the Canucks just haven't been able to decide for years on how they should properly construct their team.
Nearly 50 years without a Stanley Cup, and patience is running out in Vancouver. Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins are now on short leashes as they try to become the next men in line who can lead Vancouver into long-term success. But they have a long way to go, thanks to messes left by their predecessors.
Here are 12 reasons why the Canucks have sucked for years.
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12 David Booth Trade
I remember the day like it was Christmas.
Everyone in Vancouver was thrilled when Mike Gillis gave up Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm for David Booth. The former two were aging, injury-prone, and past-their-prime veterans. Booth was a threat to score 20 a season and was only 27 at the time of the trade.
Of course, Booth didn't live up to the hype: He couldn't stay healthy and his cap hit of over $4.25 million a season intoxicated the Canucks salary cap situation for three seasons. As such, they could not make any moves to improve the roster, thanks to a waste of his contract.
11 Hiring John Tortorella
I'll admit that I thought this was a great hire for the Canucks in the summer of 2013. This soft, undersized team had to learn the way of playing great defence and two-way hockey. Too bad they chose the wrong time to hire John Tortorella.
The Sedin twins did not fit his style. The Canucks core players were old and couldn't play his demanding defence-first system. Hiring Tortorella was a huge waste in the fact Vancouver could have brought in someone else to kick-start a rebuild.
But ownership thought he could carry them all the way, firing him after his first season in a five-year contract.
10 NOT Rebuilding Earlier
Fun fact: This draft will be the second time in three seasons where the Canucks own a top-six pick and the fifth-straight year where they have failed to win a playoff series. But don't tell that to ownership.
Even though a clear rebuild is needed, the team has stated time-and-time again that their goal is to still make the playoffs next year, which makes absolutely zero sense. Truth be told, a major rebuild should have happened after being swept by San Jose in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs.
Three years later and this team hasn't decided to start from scratch, but rather "retool."
9 The Cody Hodgson Trade
The Canucks took Cody Hodgson with their first pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but he didn't secure a regular roster spot until the 2011-12 season, a year in which he should not have been traded.
After 16 goals and 33 points in 63 games as a third-line center, the Canucks traded him for Zack Kassian. Both players' careers have been busts up to this point, but given how Ryan Kesler demanded a trade two years later and how well Hodgson was producing with Vancouver, maybe he would have actually been a star with this team.
He just didn't get the chance.
8 Not Replacing Players Properly
Why have the Detroit Red Wings been so great for 25 years, culminating in four Stanley Cups during that span?
When Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan, their top two forwards, left, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg became their new deadly combination. As the latter two guys aged and declined, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Dylan Larkin have become the new stars.
For Vancouver, the Sedin twins (now 35) have been this team's only star forwards since the 2005-06 season and that's a problem. Any time a veteran left, retired or declined in production, no one stepped up.
7 Poor Drafting
The Canucks drafted Michael Grabner in the first-round in 2006. He didn't make the roster until 2009-10 and was traded that summer. They took Patrick White in 2007, who hasn't played an NHL game.
They took Hodgson in 2008 as we mentioned earlier, then took Jordan Schroeder in 2009. He never became a full-time regular for them. They lacked a first-round pick in 2010 and in 2011 took Nicklas Jensen, who hasn't found a roster spot either.
In 2012, they took Brendan Gaunce, who has played 20 games as of this writing. They took Bo Horvat in 2013, Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann in 2014 and Brock Boeser in 2015. Those last four names do have real promise and intrigue.
But a look at those earlier picks and that's all you need to know why they've sucked. They simply couldn't draft under a guy to be named later.
6 Hanging Onto Bieksa, Burrows, and Hamhuis Too Long
This ties into the idea they should have rebuilt earlier. Kevin Bieksa is a player any team could use for the playoffs and the Canucks could have traded him while his stock was high in 2013.
Of course, they waited until he was beaten-up and slowing down, getting nothing more than a second-rounder for him last summer. Dan Hamhuis wasn't even traded at this year's deadline and Alex Burrows could have fetched something nice three or four years ago.
But of course, the Canucks thought these aging, injury-prone 30-somethings would get better with age and lead them to glory.
5 Playoff Meltdowns
Playoff appearances in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015: ONE trip to the Western Conference Final.
Yeah, that's pretty sad. The Canucks had a knack for losing to major underdogs (Minnesota in 2003, Calgary in 2004, and Los Angeles in 2012) or simply blowing series leads.
No one can forget the Wild erasing a 3-1 deficit in 2003 or the Boston Bruins coming back from 2-0 down in 2011 to clinch the Stanley Cup. If Vancouver had simply won a Cup, no one could say "they suck." But they didn't win a Cup in this era, so there.
4 The Roberto Luongo Contract
No goalie should ever be signed to a 12-year deal, especially when he's approaching 30. The team thought it'd be smart to ink Roberto Luongo to a 12-year deal worth $64 million in 2009.
The Canucks had constant playoff meltdowns and a disgruntled Luongo begging for a trade until the Florida Panthers finally took him on in 2014. Vancouver had a star netminder in Cory Schneider, but they traded him to keep Lou, who was nearly impossible to trade for years.
It's simple: Don't re-sign Luongo, keep Schneider, and boom! No toxic contracts and a franchise netminder.
3 The Cory Schneider Trade
Cory Schneider has constantly put up high numbers with the New Jersey Devils, who haven't been close to a playoff team. Something tells me he could have done better with a talented Canucks squad.
The team drafted Bo Horvat with the ninth-pick in 2013, the only piece they got in the Schneider trade. They could have easily gotten way more if they traded him earlier (or later).
Instead of holding onto him, which would have been the smart choice, they've been stuck with an aging Ryan Miller and an inconsistent Jacob Markstrom.
2 Not Trading The Sedins
This sounds crazy and all. Henrik and Daniel Sedin have been two superstars and the faces of the Canucks franchises, but riddle me this: Where have the Canucks gone with them?
They have NOT been able to carry a Canucks team the way Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane do in Chicago, or like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty in Los Angeles. But hey, so many teams would be happy to have the Sedins.
Can you imagine what the Canucks could have gotten if they traded them, say from 2013-2015? Surely, a pair of first-rounders, two prized prospects, and a young, promising roster player AT LEAST.
The Canucks have kept trying to build around them and they've failed big-time.
1 The Mike Gillis Tenure
All of the hirings, trades, lack of trades that should have happened, and terrible contracts over the past decade come down to Mike Gillis, who was the GM from 2008-2014 with this team.
Gillis gave up too many young players for aging veterans. He threw no-trade clauses at every veteran he could, which prevented the Canucks from getting some trades done. He never knew when it was time to part with players and he had no reason to panic and trade Schneider for a single draft pick in 2013.
The Canucks have improved under Jim Benning slightly and are now loaded with intriguing prospects. It wasn't like that with Gillis, who should be deemed responsible for this team's long-time frustration.
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