Who Had a Good Week:
Daniel Sedin- With two goals and two assists in three games, it was an offensively strong week for Daniel. Not only were his numbers impressive, the manner in which he acquired them involved some serious Sedinery. The Sedins’ ice-time has been reduced, but they’re still quite effective in limited minutes.
Troy Stecher- Stecher is having a true resurgence in the latter half of the season. Of particular note have been his stretch passes—long bombs that seem to inevitably find his teammates’ sticks as they rush into the offensive zone. Only one assist for Stecher this week, but he certainly created more offensive chances than that would suggest.
Bo Horvat- Horvat hasn’t missed a beat after his lengthy injury. He put up three points against Florida, and then finished the week with a highlight reel goal against Boston. It’s become increasingly apparent just how much the team relies on his presence.
Erik Gudbranson- Those fans hoping to see Gudbranson traded at the deadline will be happy that he’s currently playing some of his best hockey as a Canuck. Gudbranson’s strong play has been recognized by Travis Green, with Gudbranson’s 23 minutes against Boston the most of any player.
Anders Nilsson- Nilsson may have just earned himself the chance to run with the starter’s position for a while. He came in to relieve Markstrom against Florida and did not let up a goal, and then followed a mediocre performance against San Jose with a dominant game against the Bruins.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Brock Boeser- Boeser has cooled down a bit and experienced a reduction in ice-time, although he still remains a constant offensive threat. However, this week was especially rough for Boeser because he was potentially robbed of two goals that could have been awarded to him, but went to other players. Conspiracy? Probably not, but you never know!
Ben Hutton- Hutton briefly returned to the lineup this week, did nothing, and was promptly called out by coach Travis Green in the media. If he is on the trade market, he’s not doing a lot to improve his value.
Jacob Markstrom- It was a short, but awful, week for Jacob Markstrom. He let in four goals on 14 shots in one period of play, and did not see the net again thereafter. Markstrom may have just relegated himself to the backup role for the next little while.
There’s been plenty of grumbling about Philip Holm’s inability to get in the lineup. Holm has looked quite solid down in Utica, and he was brought in with the promise of an eventual shot at the NHL. He’s certainly not a can’t-miss prospect, and he’s probably a longshot for an NHL career, but it would be nice to see him get a chance. Surely, Alex Biega can sit a game in favour of Holm.
Whether one is in favour of trading Chris Tanev or not, it’s hard to avoid the debate regarding his trade value that is currently raging across social media. To many non-Vancouver fans, the risk of acquiring the injury prone Tanev is too great, but I believe that notion is overblown. Tanev has missed a lot of hockey over the years, but he hasn’t experienced any chronic injuries, and much of his IR time has been the result of bad luck. Though some may disagree, “bad luck” isn’t related to anything other than random chance, and there’s no such thing as a player who is prone to bad luck. I think most NHL teams would still take on the “risk” that is Chris Tanev.
The resurgence of the Utica Comets continued this week, with their point streak extending to an impressive 15 games.
Unfortunately, the week opened up with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Syracuse Crunch in a fight-filled game. Thatcher Demko was in net and stopped six straight shooters in the shootout, before finally letting one in. David Dziurzynski and Patrick Wiercioch each had a goal, with Adam Comrie, Alexis D’Aoust, Cole Cassels, and Tony Cameranesi notching single helpers.
Things got back on track on Friday with a 3-1 win over Binghamton, this time with Richard Bachman tending the net. Guillaume Brisebois, Zack MacEwen, and Michael Chaput all scored, with single assists going to D’Aoust, Cassels, Wiercioch, Griffen Molino, Cameron Darcy, and Dylan Blujus.
Offense was on display for both teams on Saturday night, as the Comets edged out the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 5-4 overtime barnstormer. Patrick Wiercioch was the hero with the overtime winner and an earlier assist, while Wacey Hamilton had two assists. Cameranesi, Chaput, Molino, and Cassels scored the other goals, and seemingly everyone else got a single assist, including Dziurzynski, MacEwen, Darcy, and Michael Carcone. Thatcher Demko was in net to make 30 saves and rack up four minutes in penalties for abuse of officials.
The Week Ahead:
The Canucks have three games in the upcoming week:
Tuesday, February 20 at home against Colorado with a 7:00PST start time.
Friday, February 23 at Vegas with a 7:30PST start time.
Sunday, February 25 at Arizona with a 6:30PST start time.
2018 Draft Eligible Prospect of the Week:
I think I’ve covered most of the prospects that will be in the range of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2018 Draft. I’m looking for any suggestions of players I’ve missed, or a new feature that could potentially replace this one. Let me know!
Bits and Bobs:
-I think I’ve said enough about my opinion on Jim Benning, but it’s fair to say that I am ecstatic with his contract extension. As a fan who has always taken a special interest in the prospects and development side of hockey, I can personally attest that there has never been as much reason for positivity about the Canucks’ future. Sure, the Canucks have had decent prospects before, but they have never developed as well as Benning’s draft picks have been.
-This Weekly Report has recently called for both the signing of Darren Archibald and the re-signing of Jim Benning, and both things have now come to pass. Thanks again for your loyal readership, Trevor, and keep on doing what you’re doing.
-There was a ton of great press about Adam Gaudette this week. He won the Beanpot Tournament, was named MVP, and reiterated his loyalty to the team that drafted him. Expect a preview of his talents toward the end of the year.
-The game against Boston was probably the Canucks’ most physical game of the year, and the team did not look out of place against the big, bad Bruins. It would be nice to see more of this play as the playoffs drop out of reach and the Canucks begin playing for pride alone.
-Next week I’ll be out of town until late Sunday, and then I plan to spend Trade Deadline Day fully enjoying the experience, so there will be no Weekly Report next week. Chances are good I’ll do some sort of wrap-up write-up after the fact. See you in two weeks!