The Vancouver Canucks are not technically eliminated from the postseason. When Timo Meier scored with 0.9 seconds left for the San Jose Sharks, who then went on to win in a shootout against the Vegas Golden Knights, the slimmest sliver of hope was saved for the Canucks. If they win out, the Golden Knights beat the Dallas Stars tonight and then both of those teams lose the rest of the way, the Canucks would get in on a complicated tie-breaker. It’s not much, but it’s hope.
Unfortunately, it appears they’ll have to do their part without Thatcher Demko, at least for tonight. The team has moved Tucker Poolman to long-term injured reserve in order to recall Arturs Silovs from the minor leagues. Silovs is expected to serve as the backup for Spencer Martin tonight, as Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV tweets that Demko is dealing with an undisclosed injury.
The 21-year-old Silovs has never played a game at the NHL level and has just 11 appearances in the AHL, not many of which have gone very well. He’s spent more than half of this season with the ECHL’s Trois-Rivieres Lions, where he has a .920 save percentage in ten appearances.
Poolman, meanwhile, has played in just one game since January and lasted just seven shifts. The 28-year-old defenseman was signed to an inexplicable four-year contract in the offseason and averaged 17 minutes a night through the first half of the season, recording three points in 40 games overall. His first year with the Canucks has certainly not gone to plan, and the team has been much better without him on the ice (though he hasn’t had much of a chance to play for head coach Bruce Boudreau, who turned the team around and has them this close to the playoffs).
For Martin, it is a bit of a showcase for next season, when he figures to be the regular backup for Demko at the NHL level. The 26-year-old netminder signed a new two-year, one-way contract extension earlier this month and Jaroslav Halak’s deal will expire at the end of the season. With Michael DiPietro likely needing more time in the minor leagues before he really pushes for an NHL opportunity, it’s likely Demko-Martin for 2022-23, unless the team acquires another option in net. So far, so good, as Martin had a .958 save percentage in three appearances earlier this season.