Weekly Canucks Report: Week of February 13-19
Who Had a Good Week:
Bo Horvat- After a brief respite due to injury, Horvat returned to put up yet another strong week. Horvat had two points in his three games, while obviously playing hurt, but his defensive game is also becoming increasingly noticeable. It’s a shame he missed out on his chance to go against Crosby and Malkin.
Granlund and the Sedins- Markus Granlund continues to be an excellent fit on the top line with the Sedins. After the team was shutout against Pittsburgh, the line contributed two excellent goals in the next three games, and Daniel Sedin assisted on Chris Tanev’s overtime winner against Calgary. In true Sedin fashion, Henrik was even the victim of a cheapshot courtesy of Brandon Manning, scourge of Western Canada.
Nikita Tryamkin- Tryamkin picked up a rare point this week, but it is his physical play that deserves the most mention. Tryamkin is getting more and more comfortable with the NHL game, and that’s not great news for opposing forwards, as Troy Brouwer found out on Saturday.
Alex Edler- Any week in which you score from center ice is a good week. Edler had a two point week and once again led the team in ice time by a large margin in each game.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Jacob Markstrom- Markstrom was stapled to the bench even more than usual this week. His one appearance was a less-than-impressive showing against the Blues, making only 17 saves on 21 shots. At least two of the goals could be considered weak, as well, meaning Ryan Miller isn’t losing starts anytime soon. This was demonstrated by Miller playing both games of the weekend back-to-back.
Loui Eriksson- This might have been Eriksson’s most invisible week as a Canuck. Eriksson was pointless, and didn’t even seem to get much in the way of scoring opportunity. Eriksson’s confidence appears shot, and he just isn’t putting up effective minutes.
Jayson Megna- Even in limited minutes, Megna is more of a detriment than a help night after night. He was on the ice for goals against in three of four games this week, and contributed nothing back to make up for it. It was unfortunate to see Jack Skille exit the lineup instead of Megna.
Alex Biega- Biega might have played his last game as a Canuck, and it was at forward. Biega has now met the minimum number of games to fulfill the Expansion Draft requirements for defenseman exposure, making him a backup plan to Luca Sbisa and making it far less likely he’ll get back into the lineup.
The Trade Deadline is now just over a week away, and will dominate the roster-based discussion until then. Despite the disappointment of last season, there is plenty of reason to expect the Canucks to be more active this season, especially with so little opportunity to climb in the standings before March 1st.
It will be interesting to see if the Canucks take on any cap dumps if they do end up selling at the deadline. They will have room if they deal players like Burrows and Miller, so they could take on expensive players as an incentive to increase the value of their trades. Targeting some tough, physical fill-ins might not be the worst idea.
If the Trade Deadline does end up being another disappointment, remember that there will be a sort of Offseason Second Deadline just before the Expansion Draft, as teams desperately try to shuffle their rosters before losing a player to Vegas. This will undoubtedly be one of the best years for player movement in league history.
Who didn’t chuckle at the notion of the Calgary Flames signing Tank Commander Matt Bartkowski to help save their season?
Milan Lucic’s scoring has begun to dry up, and his even strength scoring in particular is far less than expected. Lucic only has seven even strength goals on the season, one more than the much-maligned Loui Eriksson.
This week must have felt like a vacation for the Comets, who only had three games and zero back-to-backs. Their first game was Wednesday against Toronto, and it was a dominant 5-2 victory. Cody Kunyk paced the team with a goal and two assists, while Carter Bancks and Evan McEneny each notched two points. Jake Virtanen had an assist, as did Andrey Pedan, Alex Grenier, and Joe LaBate, among others. Curtis Valk, Wacey Hamilton, and Borna Rendulic all had goals. Richard Bachman was in net.
Utica flipped the score of the previous game on Friday night, losing 5-2 to the Springfield Falcons. Rendulic and Chad Billins had the goals, and Kunyk, McEneny, Hamilton, and Michael Carcone each had one assist. Bachman took the loss in net, although he was pulled after four goals against. Demko allowed one.
Sunday featured a wild 7-4 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Thatcher Demko was in net for five goals against, and two were into an empty net. Kunyk capped off an excellent week with a goal and an assist. Jordan Subban, Grenier, and Pedan each had a goal, with single assists going to Demko, McEneny, David Shields, Pascal Pelletier, Carcone, Rendulic, and Jake Virtanen. Truly a night for spread-out scoring.
Bits and Bobs:
-The Canucks’ lack of shots, especially early in games, is troubling. Twice this week the Canucks went more than half a period before getting their first shot on net. If the team is going to sink in the standings, it can at least be entertaining as it does it.
-Plus/minus is a horribly flawed stat, but the totals of individual Canucks is still pretty interesting. Most players have an abysmal rating, with the exception of the Baertschi/Horvat/Burrows line. Another sign of that line’s dominance.
-The lack of physicality within the Canuck lineup is becoming more and more apparent as the playoffs approach and the intensity begins to ramp up. The team has been getting roughed up with regularity, and only Tryamkin appears willing to give any pushback.
-If the Bye Week Curse holds true for the Canucks, their playoff hopes will be all but eradicated by the Trade Deadline. The Canucks don’t play again until Saturday against San Jose.
-When will Adam Gaudette be considered a top flight prospect? After yet another hot streak, he is sitting at a ridiculous 49 points in 31 games.
-Don’t hold your breath waiting for any league response on the Brandon Manning slash. If the Canucks want any measure of justice, they’ll have to enact it themselves, Patrick Maroon style.
-With only one game next week, the Report will be replaced with a Trade Deadline preview for a week, with a full version to return the week after. Cheers!