Weekly Canucks Report: Week of November 7-13
Who Had a Good Week:
Bo Horvat- I was thinking that pretty soon I could make a copy-and-paste paragraph on why Horvat’s had a good week, as he’s been that consistent. However, Horvat’s goal against Dallas was quite possibly the nicest goal this year, so he deserves a special shoutout this week. He’s not too far off of a 50 point pace.
Troy Stecher- Stecher was going to make this list even before his dramatic first career goal, but that was just the icing on the cake. Stecher has a few defensive holes that will need filling, but his quick thinking on the point is especially notable. It’s going to be really hard to send him down this time.
The Sedins- The Twins finally racked up some points this week, and began looking a bit like the Sedins of old. They are still among the slowest first liners in the league, but they often manage to slow the game around them down to compensate.
Nikita Tryamkin- Tryamkin appears to have completely usurped Philip Larsen’s spot in the lineup, and not without good reason. Tryamkin has been effective on a variety of pairings, and one has to think his physicality is only going to improve from here.
Loui Eriksson- Eriksson bumped the slump this week, but more importantly he had several good shifts with the Sedins. The team needs him to produce on the top line if it’s going to get value from his contract, and Eriksson is finally playing like a high-profile free agent should.
Alex Burrows- Not only did Burrows put up over a point-per-game this week, he even spent a few good shifts with the Sedins for nostalgia’s sake. Burrows is playing with grit and determination and looked fine as Horvat’s winger against Dallas.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Ryan Miller- Miller had another heroic moment with his diving save against Detroit, but overall he didn’t look great facing the Red Wings or the Stars. Miller definitely isn’t to blame for the team’s woes, but he isn’t stealing any games like he sometimes can.
Philip Larsen- Larsen seems to have lost his spot in the lineup for the time being. Larsen isn’t entirely to blame for the team’s poor powerplay totals, but Stecher appears to be the more dynamic option and Tryamkin is simply playing better. Larsen remains in limbo for now.
Erik Gudbranson- Gudbranson is at his worst when he’s playing frustrated, and the Vancouver Canucks are playing frustrating hockey right now. Gudbranson needs to focus on simplifying his game and maintaining control.
Jake Virtanen- Virtanen’s exile in Utica was pretty much a worst case scenario, as he did not play well and was called back up anyway. At some point, something has to give with this player.
Jacob Trouba is not a realistic trade target for the Vancouver Canucks. The Jets are looking for a young, left-side defender in return for Trouba, and the Canucks should hang on to Ben Hutton without a doubt. As well, Trouba really wants to play the right side, and the Canucks are fairly stacked there currently. This would not be a good use of assets.
Many fans are surprised there hasn’t been a waiver pickup yet. With injuries at forward, there have been a few intriguing names on the waiver wire, like Seth Griffith, that might have deserved a look. Having Michael Chaput up with the Canucks is hurting the win-starved Comets more than it is helping the parent club.
Brock Boeser and Olli Juolevi are completely untouchable. The team has no business trading top-flight prospects, and the fanbase has no reason to assume Jim Benning feels any differently. Rarely has a Canucks’ prospect developed as well as Boeser has, and the offensively-inept Canucks would be laughed at for trading one of the top goal-scoring prospects in hockey.
Dan Hamhuis is generally still beloved by Canuck fans, but watching him get completely danced by Bo Horvat for a goal on Sunday was especially enjoyable. Many thought Hamhuis was leaving for greener pastures in Dallas (no pun intended), but it hasn’t exactly worked out that way for him.
The woes of the Calgary Flames are the one thing keeping the Canucks from a one-way ticket to the bottom of the division. Arizona is also behind them in the standings, but looks to be improving, whereas Calgary was generally considered to be a playoff contender this year. Their offseason acquisitions are not working out, and Hunter Shinkaruk isn’t proving to be any sort of solution. The only downside to this is if the faltering Flames hurt the Canucks’ draft lottery odds.
The Comets have been feeling the pressure lately, and their first contest Friday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (which totally sounds like a high school team) didn’t help matters. Utica fell 4-1 and didn’t put up much of a fight. Carter Bancks got the goal, with John Negrin and Alex Grenier getting the assists, and Richard Bachman was in net for the loss. Jake Virtanen didn’t accomplish much with zero shots and a -1 rating.
Things got a lot better on Saturday when the Comets faced off with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Thatcher Demko finally recorded his first AHL win in the 3-2 overtime victory. Darren Archibald was the hero, scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goals, while Curtis Valk assisted on each of Archibald’s and got one of his own. The Comets mobbed Archibald after the OT winner, obviously relieved to shirk their losing ways.
Bits and Bobs:
-Derek Dorsett seems to be at his best when he’s the main man on a team in regards to enforcing. When Brandon Prust was around, Dorsett’s play and physicality was diminished, but he’s been at his best all season.
-Thatcher Demko win-watch is finally over. Few thought we’d have to wait over a month to see Demko finally put up a win at the AHL level, but the Comets have had that sort of season.
-When will Brendan Gaunce take the next step forward? Gaunce still looks competent in a fourth line role, but his development seems to have stalled there. He isn’t adding any new elements to his game as the season wears on.
-Ryan Miller seems to be on a bit of a PR tour. His diving save from the bench, along with his previous defense of Troy Stecher, has made Miller a fan favourite all over again.
-When Loui Eriksson scored at home, we found out his goal song is “Louie, Louie.” How nice to once again hear that catchy tune at Rogers Arena.
-Carey Price is approaching historic status over in Montreal, and it’s fairly significant for British Columbia. BC hockey has come a long way, and now it may be the birthplace of the best hockey player in the world. Is Price already the best BC-born player in history and, if not, when will he be?
-Nolan Patrick’s somewhat mysterious injury has further clouded the top of the 2017 Draft. Patrick’s injury may be serious enough to keep him out of the World Juniors, and could make him a riskier pick in June.
-Olli Juolevi is now at 11 points in 14 games, and is trending upward. With his slow start to the season, it’s all the more reason why trading him would be insane.
-CBC floated the idea of Trevor Linden quitting. To this, I say “no way.” I firmly believe that the team knew it likely wouldn’t make the playoffs this season, or even next, and that it is all “part of the plan.” Linden was brought in as president in part because he’s a well-respected public face that can see the team through a difficult period while maintaining good public relations. He’s not going anywhere.
-Is a Stecher-Tryamkin pairing the future? Once Luca Sbisa hits the required number of games for him to be exposed in the expansion draft, he could find himself scratched at the expense of these two. Few fans would complain.