Who Had a Good Week:
Brandon Sutter- Sutter looks re-energized after an injury-plagued season, and is already putting his variety of skills on display. Two game-winning goals.
Ryan Miller- Miller played lights out against the Calgary Flames and reminded everyone that he can be a quality starter.
Sedins+Eriksson- This line proved they had instant chemistry with the newest edition of “The Shift.” Own goals aside, this looks like a fantastic top line.
Luca Sbisa and Philip Larsen- The much-maligned Sbisa put in a very respectable couple of games, and his new partner Larsen looked instantly competent on the powerplay. Despite being separated during Game 2, they looked good as a pairing.
Ben Hutton- Hutton’s evolution into a top-tier NHL defenseman continues. It doesn’t look like there will be much of a sophomore slump here. Scored a huge goal.
Bo Horvat- Much was made of Horvat’s “fourth line” assignment, but he once again proved his ability to thrive in any situation. Was quickly “promoted.”
Derek Dorsett- Dorsett provided physicality, energy, and an efficient offensive game. Everything you could ask for in a fourth liner.
Markus Granlund- Some fans complained about Granlund being put into a scoring role, but he definitely didn’t look out of place. Showed some chemistry with Sutter and Hansen.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Brendan Gaunce- After a great preseason, Gaunce struggled to make himself noticeable on the ice. He’ll have to get a bit more competitive in order to keep his spot.
Jacob Markstrom- Markstrom is traditionally a slow starter, and that might be the case again this year. Didn’t look great against a weak Carolina offense.
Chris Tanev- If anyone on the defense looked a bit rusty, it was Tanev. Look for his game to improve quickly, though.
Jake Virtanen- Virtanen was given an opportunity to play on a scoring line, but accomplished little. Will need to contribute more in the future.
As of right now, the Canucks will be one forward over the limit when Anton Rodin returns from injury. That means that one of Brendan Gaunce, Jake Virtanen, or Jack Skille has to go. It will be interesting to see which of them establishes themselves on the roster.
The Canucks may want to keep an eye on the waiver wire, as a few more good players may yet be waived as others return from injury or contract holdouts.
The Comets lost their season opener to Toronto 5-2, with the only goals coming from Curtis Valk and Alex Grenier, with Jordan Subban getting an assist on each. Troy Stecher seemed to immediately establish himself as the number one defender on the team.
For consistency’s sake, the Marlies once again beat the Comets 5-2 on Sunday. This time, Subban picked up two goals and Stecher got his first AHL point. Michael Chaput had two assists. This time, Thatcher Demko made his debut in net to record the loss. New captain Carter Bancks fought Rich Clune, and rookie Michael Carcone fought Rinat Valiev.
Bits and Bobs:
-Two penalties in the season opener was a significant total for the rarely-penalized Chris Tanev.
-Alex Edler already appears to be more willing to throw hits this season than in recent years. Perhaps the time off helped his back recover.
-Did anyone else hear Dave Randorf refer to Haida Gwaii as Haida Gwall during the opener’s broadcast? At least he didn’t call them the Queen Charlottes!
-Olli Juolevi is off to a reasonably hot start with the Knights, and has three points in four games.
-Is it just me, or does Carolina have the most anonymous team in the NHL? Half of their roster sounds like fake future draft picks from EA Sports.
-It would have been optimistic and a bit naive to think that Manny Malhotra could have an instant impact on the Canucks’ faceoff woes…but that seems to be the case! Henrik Sedin, Sutter, and Granlund are noticeably improved, and it is hoped that Horvat will soon follow.