This is how the Vancouver Canucks hoped it would play out last season when they attempted to plug a roster hole at the NHL trade deadline.

In acquiring Samuel Pahlsson — by shipping a pair of fourth-round draft picks and minor-league defenceman Taylor Ellington to Columbus — they expected the third-line centre to bring a veteran presence and required size for a long playoff push.

The obvious disconnect between Cody Hodgson and the Canucks landed the second-line centre in Buffalo for Zack Kassian, because the club believed it could sacrifice offence for size and potential.

Pahlsson played between Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, but managed just two goals in 19 games and returned to the Swedish Elite League this season. He didn’t really take the shutdown heat off Ryan Kesler, who was playing through shoulder and wrist injuries, but the Canucks won eight of their last nine regular-season games and scored 17 in their final five before the playoffs. However, they couldn’t score in the postseason, with eight goals in a five-game exit.

The seeds were sown in that memorable Feb. 7 win at Boston. The Canucks struck four times on the power play and it was clicking at a league-leading 24.4 per cent. But through predictability and passiveness, the Canucks went just 16-for-117 (13.6 per cent) the rest of the way. The power play was blanked 13 times in the final 18 games and was a paltry 3-for-21 (14.3 per cent) in the postseason.

Which brings us to today.

The current 0-for-23 power-play funk is actually a carryover from last season, but coach Alain Vigneault is convinced he has the personnel to turn it around. The sooner the better.

If Vigneault can coax a turnaround in a 24th-ranked power play and the offence creeps up from being rated 17th, then the April 3 trade deadline could be more about finding immediate support than a long-term solution to the riddle in the middle.

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