Thanksgiving weekend in america is a normal benchmark for judging the place a staff stands, with the Nationwide Hockey League season at or close to the quarter pole.
Coming off an enormous 4-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks are 7-10-3, sixth within the Pacific Division and three factors out of a playoff spot. Given their horrible begin to the season, going 0-5-2 of their first seven video games, that’s not a horrible place to have pulled themselves again to.
You are reading: Canucks: The numbers don’t lie, long-term success is still a reach
However within the large image, they’ve nonetheless given up 9 extra targets than they’ve scored, hardly a recipe for long-term success.
With one-quarter of the season now gone, let’s check out what’s driving, and dragging, the Canucks’ roster.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Vegas Golden Knights
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Bo Horvat has 16 targets, tied for the league lead with Connor McDavid and Jason Robertson. After simply 20 video games he’s already midway to beating his profession better of 31 targets in a season, which he had final 12 months in 70 video games. Horvat is among the greatest faceoff males within the league and has made himself into certainly one of, if not the, hottest commerce chips within the NHL. He’s an unrestricted free agent subsequent summer season and can be due an enormous increase on the US$5.5 million he’s making this season. The Canucks will wrestle to afford him, even with the wage cap anticipated to extend.
The perfect scoring likelihood is those on high of the crease and no Canuck has achieved a greater two-way job of producing possibilities in shut than Elias Pettersson. When he’s on the ice, the Canucks are getting 56.3 per cent of the high-danger possibilities, based on Pure Stat Trick. These are scoring possibilities which can be proper in entrance of the crease. Solely two Canuck regulars, Nils Höglander and Luke Schenn, have been on the ice for fewer high-danger possibilities towards than Pettersson per 60 minutes of even-strength ice time. Solely two gamers have been on the ice for extra high-danger possibilities for the Canucks than Pettersson, his wingers Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko. Pettersson leads the Canucks in scoring with 10 targets and 14 assists, two factors greater than Horvat.
Brock Boeser is placing up factors, however has solely two targets. Objectives will probably come for him — the Canucks are producing a number of pictures for whereas he’s on the ice — however most regarding is how badly issues are going for him defensively. He missed six video games whereas his surgical procedure wound re-healed, however his 14 video games is a strong pattern measurement and whereas he’s been on the ice the Canucks’ goals-against price is much and away at its worst. The opposition are scoring 6.25 targets per 60 minutes of even-strength time with him on the ice. And he’s solely received two targets, together with 11 assists.
Vasily Podkolzin’s sophomore season will not be going to plan. The 21-year-old winger hasn’t scored a objective and has solely three assists. He’s taken simply 18 pictures within the 16 video games he’s performed. He’s a daily wholesome scratch proper now and there’s no apparent case for him to come back again into the lineup.
Sheldon Dries has 5 factors in 9 video games, with two targets and three assists. That’s the sort of manufacturing that may hold you within the lineup if you’re a depth centre.
Ilya Mikheyev was signed, partly, to assist the penalty kill. And whereas the unit as an entire continues to wrestle, the opposition’s shot price towards the Canucks is lowest when Mikheyev is on the ice. He has the second-lowest price of shot makes an attempt towards when he’s on the ice, 91.8 shot makes an attempt per 60 minutes of short-handed time, behind solely Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 27-year-old has additionally been in a position to chip in offensively, with 5 targets and 6 assists in 17 video games.
The Canucks are scoring tons, however Conor Garland has simply three targets thus far. He’s on tempo for simply 12 targets, effectively off his profession tempo of roughly one objective each 4 video games and effectively behind the 19 he had final season, his first with the Canucks.
For all his defensive struggles to start out the 12 months, J.T. Miller has been a really constructive offensive affect. He’s fashioned a strong scoring partnership with Horvat. And he’s drawn essentially the most penalties on the staff, 10, twice as many as he’s taken. That’s an indication of a participant who’s making the opposition chase him. Miller has 10 targets and 9 assists via 20 video games, however is a -10 on the season.
There are a lot of issues on offence that Andrei Kuzmenko does effectively. He’s been an enormous addition to the facility play. There are nonetheless questions on his defensive zone play, however one good signal is that no Canucks ahead has seen the opposition take fewer shot makes an attempt towards after they’re on the ice than Kuzmenko. His ice time has been managed neatly. The 26-year-old rookie has eight targets and eight assists in 19 video games.
Nils Hoglander is working arduous each evening. He’s forcing turnovers on the forecheck and stays participant on Horvat’s wing. However to stay within the NHL he has to attain, which he hasn’t achieved with only one objective and two assists in 15 video games. And he’s not ending sufficient this season, taking pictures simply 6.3 per cent, effectively under league common.
The Canucks’ fourth line of Dakota Joshua, Nils Aman and Curtis Lazar must be thought-about as a collective. They bash, they crash, they rating somewhat, however largely they’re there to not get scored upon. And so they’ve achieved a strong job of that. Aman’s been on the ice for precisely as many targets for as towards. The fourth line is treading water and that’s the least you possibly can ask for when your stars are taking a break.
There have solely been two video games this 12 months during which Quinn Hughes hasn’t picked up a minimum of one level. Sufficient mentioned, because the 22-year-old defenceman has 18 assists thus far. He’s nonetheless searching for his first objective of the season.
Tyler Myers is taking part in the second-most minutes at even-strength of any Canuck, behind Hughes. He’s being requested to play a defensive-primary function, however the issue is the opposition remains to be getting a number of pictures on objective whereas he’s on the ice. Just one defenceman’s presence on the ice is yielding extra pictures towards, Jack Rathbone, and he’s now a daily wholesome scratch. Most frequently Myers’ associate has been Riley Stillman, so switching Stillman out for Kyle Burroughs, who has a extra strong monitor file, would possibly assist Myers.
Luke Schenn has thrown essentially the most hits within the league with 86, however that’s actually not his story this 12 months. He’s been a strong associate for Hughes and whereas the Canucks as an entire haven’t defended effectively, he’s been a reliable buyer. Is he taking part in too excessive up the lineup? On a greater staff, sure. However he’s a man each staff needs, too. He can deal with the puck and play bodily and doesn’t complain. And he’s a cut price at simply US$850,000.
The Canucks are literally taking part in comparatively even hockey when Oliver Ekman-Larsson is on the ice, although it’s not fairly at occasions. However the veteran blueliner has struggled on the facility play. When he’s on the person benefit, the Canucks are producing shot makes an attempt at a dismal price, simply 63.9 pictures per 60 minutes of energy play time. That’s the worst of all common contributors to the facility play. It exhibits up in his offensive totals as he has only one objective and eight assists via 20 video games.
Rathbone has struggled to make an influence. He’s now the staff’s eighth defenceman and the reality is, when he’s performed, he’s been an issue in his personal finish. No participant on the Canucks is seeing extra pictures go in direction of his personal objective than Rathbone, with the opposition firing 72.9 shot makes an attempt per 60 minutes of even-strength ice time. In the event you can’t deal with enterprise in your finish, no matter else you do doesn’t matter.
The Canucks are taking pictures simply 2.4 per cent with Burroughs on the ice. Groups often rating on just below 10 per cent of their pictures, so when you’re searching for a participant who may appear to all of a sudden get on a scorching streak, Burroughs is definitely an honest decide to generate a burst of factors. He has only one objective and no assists in 11 video games.
Stillman has had some dangerous moments within the early days of his Canucks profession, however he’s additionally been a sufferer of dangerous luck to a level. The Canucks’ goalies are stopping simply 85.9 per cent of pictures taken at even power whereas he’s on the ice. By comparability, Thatcher Demko posted a 93.2 save proportion at even power final season. Even this 12 months Demko has stopped 91.1 per cent of even-strength pictures towards him.
The opposition have scored simply two targets from a high-danger probability whereas Ethan Bear is on the ice for the Canucks. The Canucks’ latest defender is slowly forming a partnership with Ekman-Larsson and so they’re doing a strong job of conserving possibilities to the skin. It’s probably a number of extra targets will go in from in tight whereas Bear is on the ice, that’s simply how luck works, however early indicators are good for him.
Demko has simply two wins on the 12 months. He struggled out of the gate however has proven indicators of enchancment just lately. He had his greatest recreation of the season final Friday within the Canucks’ 5-1 defeat of the Los Angeles Kings. He then fell sick throughout the Canucks’ 5-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, however the Canucks are hopeful he’s rediscovered the shape that carried them so near the playoffs final season. Happily, backup Spencer Martin has been nearly as good because the Canucks hoped he’d be. He’s given the Canucks an opportunity to win each recreation he’s performed, most just lately their spectacular 4-3 comeback win in Denver.
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