No. 92: Vancouver Canucks

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 12:12 PM ET
By Max Klinger | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 43
Title track: 78
Ownership: 42
Coaching: 59
Players: 83
Fan relations: 70
Affordability: 121
Stadium experience: 86
Bang for the buck: 70

For a top-shelf franchise like the Canucks, the stakes are always high. So when the Nucks were dismissed from the first round of this year's postseason following another Presidents' Cup-winning season -- this, after losing a could-have-gone-either-way Game 7 in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals --fans were understandably ready for a shake-up. That helps explain the 49 points that the franchise dropped in this year's rankings (the second-biggest drop in the NHL, behind another team with a playoff problem, the Sharks). In other words, contend or be contended with. So, who's to blame? The fan polling suggests the fault lies with the caliber of personnel on the ice (players dropped 64 points), with the Francesco Aquilini-led ownership group also drawing ire (ownership: down 29 spots). Coach Alain Vigneault (down 29) may have come out the other side of the offseason with a two-year extension, but even as the winningest coach in Canucks history, he'll serve the rest of his tenure on thin ice -- unless he wins a Stanley Cup.