Sportsnet insiders grade the Canucks’ first 20 games

Vancouver-Canucks-goalie-Jacob-Markstrom,-left,-from-Sweden,-looks-on-as-Calgary-Flames'-Kris-Versteeg,-chases-a-lose-puck-with-Canucks'-Alex-Biega-during-first-period-NHL-hockey-action-in-Calgary,-Tuesday,-Nov.-7,-2017.-(Jeff-McIntosh/CP)

Jacob Markstrom keeps an eye on Kris Versteeg, who chases a lose puck alongside Alex Biega during first period in Calgary on Nov. 7, 2017. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

After 20 regular season games, have the Vancouver Canucks surpassed expectations, met projections, or failed to make the grade?

Depends who you ask.

Sitting 11th in the West at 9-8-3 with 21 points, the Canucks have managed only three wins at home and are 10 points behind the conference-leading Blues who knocked them down in OT Saturday night at Rogers Arena.

Rather than ask if the Canucks are “better than average” since they are squarely average and flush in the middle of the Pacific Division with one more regulation win than loss, let’s consider if they’re better than projected or merely meeting expectations.

Answering that question, Sportsnet hockey broadcaster Dan Murphy gives his mark, a B.

Canucks Central @ Noon
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Canucks radio analyst Corey Hirsch balances the pros and cons to grant Vancouver a B- and specifies goaltending earns a B while defence only merits a C.

Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup
Corey Hirsch gives Canucks a B- but praises Vancouver for finally having a plan
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The colour commentator for the Canucks, John Garrett, chimes in and says there’s far more good than bad. “I did not think they would be as competitive as they have been.”

The Playbook
Reasons to be 'encouraged' by the Canucks' first 20 games
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Finally, with Vancouver on the road for a six-game eastern road swing, Brendan Batchelor calls in from Philadelphia and skips grading the team to say that the Canucks will be measured on dependability.

Reach Deep
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The Canucks play the Flyers tomorrow at 4 p.m. Pacific. Watch the game and hear the call on Sportsnet.

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