Weekly Canucks Report: Week of January 30-February 5
Who Had a Good Week:
Brandon Sutter- This wasn’t a great week by any measure, and Sutter’s two goals against Minnesota were definitely the highlight amongst many lowlights. After a quiet game to start the week, Sutter led the forwards in ice time in the second and final game.
Luca Sbisa- Despite the Canucks allowing ten goals against this week, Sbisa was only a minus one. He played over 20 miuntes in each game, trailing only Alex Edler and Nikita Tryamkin in the San Jose game and only Edler in the Minnesota game. He continues to look steady if unspectacular.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Loui Eriksson- The Sedins didn’t have their best week ever, but their linemate didn’t help matters. Eriksson seems to drive offense well enough, but he also fails to convert on numerous obvious chances each and every game. He’s lost his spot on the top line to Hansen for the time being.
Philip Larsen- Larsen has returned from injury, but the results have not been pretty. Larsen got a goal this week, but he also victimized by opposing forwards on numerous occasions, and created several chances against via outright blunders. Larsen probably just isn’t an NHL talent.
Alex Burrows- Burrows, like Eriksson, is often seen flubbing a great chance generated by his two more talented linemates, Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi in this case. Burrows still provides valuable penalty killing minutes and forechecking, but it might be time to try someone else on that line as his cold streak continues.
Ryan Miller- To fault Miller for the ten goals against this week wouldn’t be fair, but he didn’t exactly help matters, either. Miller faced a ton of shots against Minnesota, but he also let a ton in. A couple of soft goals is never a good thing when you’re already under siege.
The Canucks three game plummet down the NHL standings has made discussion of the impending Trade Deadline a brand new ballgame. With less than four weeks to go, it’s a ten game sprint to the deadline, and the results will affect the future of the franchise. The vocal segment of the fanbase known as Team Tank will be loudly cheering for losses, and it’s hard not to have empathy for their desire to see pieces sold off for draft picks and prospects.
If the Canucks remain so low in the standings, the Entry Draft will also become a major topic of discussion amongst the fans. Expect to hear a lot about Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, and Timothy Liljegren in the coming weeks. Currently, the Canucks are tied for third-last, which would give them the same lottery odds as the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The Canucks have a sudden defensive surplus that will need to be addressed in some way or another this offseason. I made a whole other post about it, so check it out:
The Colorado Avalanche have 30 points, and are on pace to have a historically bad season. They’re so bad, in fact, that they could go .500 for the remainder of the season and still not hit the pathetic total of 65 points that was cruelly predicted for the Canucks at the season’s outset. The rivalry with the Avalanche is nonexistent these days, but it’s hard not to get some satisfaction out of this turn of events.
The former Canuck to complain the most about his time in Vancouver in recent years has to be Dale Weise. After having a bit of a hot streak in Montreal, Weise crowed to any reporter who would listen about how he wasn’t given a chance in Vancouver, despite the fact he received opportunities all over the lineup. After signing a big free agent contract with Philadelphia, Weise has a grand total of five points on the season. Maybe he spent the majority of his time with the Canucks on the fourth line for a reason.
Due to the All Star Game, most of the Comets got a lengthy break this week, with the exception of participants Jordan Subban and Alex Grenier. The rest of the team only had to play one game, a Friday night matchup against the Hartford Wolf Pack, who confusingly have only one solitary wolf on their logo.
Utica started Richard Bachman yet again, proving that Thatcher Demko has been relegated to the role of backup for the time being. The result was a 4-3 regulation loss, with Darren Archibald providing much of the excitement via two goals and a fight. Borna Rendulic got the other goal, which was only his fourth of the season. Curtis Valk, Andrey Pedan, Carter Bancks, Chad Billins, and Subban each picked up single assists. Former Canuck property Nick Jensen scored against the Comets, his 20th of the season.
Bits and Bobs:
-Here’s a prospect we haven’t heard much from this season: Jakob Stukel. Stukel recently put up 18 points in 15 games, although his stats are still a bit behind his last year’s totals after a cold start.
-Speaking of cold, Brock Boeser just put up an assist on February 4th to snap a six game pointless drought, the longest of his NCAA career. He has done the unthinkable and dropped to merely point-per-game status with 23 points in 23 games.
-Olli Juolevi went pointless this week despite the London Knights putting up 11 goals in three games. He is barely on pace to surpass last season’s totals, and has been a bit cold of late. Thatcher Demko is barely playing, so it’s not a great time for the Canucks’ top prospects.
-In good news, however, Adam Gaudette continues to shine, and now has 41 points in 26 games.
-Now that Jayson Megna is finally out of the lineup, will he be sent down to help out the sliding Comets?
-According to Sportsnet, at some point the Sedins moved into second place for times with points on the same goal, behind only Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri. Gretzky and Kurri have 764 occurrences, while the twins have 694, so it’s not out of the question that the Sedins pass the Oilers legends before their careers end.
-The upcoming schedule isn’t exactly promising, as the ten game sprint to the trade deadline begins with a six game roadtrip that zigzags the continent. This roadtrip will have a massive impact on the Canucks’ deadline plans.
-To hear Trevor Linden confirm that the team would not trade future assets for deadline rentals made a lot of sense and couldn’t be called unexpected, but it was still comforting to a fanbase that still isn’t convinced a youth movement is in place.
-I was right that Jannik Hansen’s return from injury was the deadline for Eriksson’s audition with the Sedins. It took Eriksson less than half a game to lose his spot to Hansen.
-Canuck fans may have noticed that Vern Fiddler was traded back into the Western Conference this week, meaning he’ll receive more opportunities to practice his famed Kevin Bieksa impression. He’s farther away from his preferred audience of Alain Vigneault, however.
-Frankie Corrado cleared waivers, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. He was very promising for awhile as a Canuck, but his development really plateaued. That problem was exacerbated when Toronto literally stalled his career by keeping him glued to the pressbox for an entire season, and then some. Feel bad for Frankie, but be glad the Canucks weren’t feeling nostalgic.
-Fantastic to see Henrik Sedin appointed as the Canucks LGBTQ-inclusion ambassador, a move that every NHL team repeated. Also cool to see the team wearing rainbow uniforms for an upcoming warmup. Hockey really is becoming a more welcoming place at a rapid pace, and players like Henrik are a major part of that. Also, kudos to Canuck enemy Brad Marchand for getting the ball rolling on the whole thing.