Vancouver's model for success

The Canucks know their players' roles and use cap space wisely

Updated: March 22, 2011, 2:39 PM ET
By Tom Awad | Hockey Prospectus

For the first time in franchise history, the Canucks are sitting on top of the National Hockey League. They are prohibitive favorites to win their first Presidents' Trophy as regular-season champions and will enter the playoffs as one of the favorites in a crowded Western Conference field. They are first in the NHL in goal differential, first in goals for and third in goals against.

Vancouver has won its division and finished with 100-plus points in four of its past five seasons, but it seems to have taken it to the next level this year. What's been the secret ingredient?