Who Had a Good Week:
Derek Dorsett- Dorsett wasn’t just a Willie Desjardins favourite. Dorsett has always been a coach’s favourite throughout his career, and his deployment under Travis Green has shown why that is. Dorsett will do whatever is asked of him, and Green has him using his energy, drive, and limited skill to maximum effect. Dorsett led the team in shorthanded time on ice during the penalty-filled game against Calgary.
Brock Boeser- After his much-discussed scratching for the season’s first two games, Boeser picked up where he left off by notching two points in two games, including a trademark highlight-reel goal. Boeser is the real deal, and was easily the best player on his line with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.
Michael Del Zotto- Who could have predicted that Michael Del Zotto would be leading the team in ice time? Del Zotto obviously has Green’s trust, and he’s been deployed in all situations and against the top lines of opponents. That resulted in Del Zotto being a minus five on the week, but that’s to be expected.
Chris Tanev- Is this the long-awaited offensive awakening of Chris Tanev? Tanev had two goals in three games, and looked much more active on offense in general. Tanev’s ice time was surprisingly low, but he led the defense in shorthanded time in a week that was heavy with penalties, and he managed to be only minus one in a week that contained three losses.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi- Horvat and Baertschi have been pencilled in as first line forwards for this season, but they haven’t looked like it so far. After a stellar first game, Horvat was largely invisible this week, and Baertschi has looked out of sync since the season began. Here’s hoping the presence of Brock Boeser can ignite their offensive game.
Loui Eriksson- Eriksson was pointless in his first game of the week, despite receiving ample ice time, was benched in his second, and then got injured 32 seconds into his third. That’s the definition of a rough week.
It makes one wonder how long it will be until we see something like this:
Thomas Vanek- Vanek had two points in three games this week, which is realistically about the best production Canuck fans can expect from him this season. However, he also looked almost comically slow on the ice, a fact that was exacerbated by playing with the similarly lead-footed Sedins. It’s hard to imagine a playoff contender not wanting a speedier option when they go looking for a rental at the deadline.
Ben Hutton- This week, in three losses, Hutton was only a minus one, and he received the second-most ice time on the team in the latter two games. However, for all that opportunity, Hutton looked particularly inept on the ice. The play seemed to die whenever it reached Hutton’s stick, and he flubbed several golden opportunities in the offensive end. This is a player who needs a rebound season badly.
With the injury to Loui Eriksson, Jake Virtanen likely re-enters the lineup, and for once the Canucks have a bevy of options in Utica to callup as the 13th forward. Many fans want the forward callup to be Nikolay Goldobin, who is lighting it up in Utica, but Reid Boucher and Anton Rodin are also options. Boucher might be the best fit, as whoever is called up could find themselves in the pressbox.
The team also has a number of candidates for a defensive callup to replace Alex Edler during his absence. Patrick Wiercioch, the veteran left-side D, seems the most likely, but Philip Holm or even Evan McEneny could come up instead.
When will Anders Nilsson make his season debut? Jacob Markstrom wasn’t exactly stellar this week, and next week features a heavy schedule, so it shouldn’t be long before Nilsson enters the Canuck crease.
For once, the Comets got a Sunday off, and only played two games this week, Friday and Saturday. First, Utica visited the Rochester Americans, and walked away with a 2-0 victory and a Thatcher Demko shutout. Nikolay Goldobin scored, his second goal of the season, and Reid Boucher picked up two assists. Patrick Wiercioch had the other goal, and Carter Bancks notched the other assist.
On Saturday, the Comets bussed over to the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena to take on their rivals, the Syracuse Crunch. Once again, Thatcher Demko was in the crease, and once again he won the game, this time by a score of 3-2. Goldobin opened the scoring again, and his marker was followed by single tallies from Philip Holm and Michael Chaput. Holm also notched two assists, while Goldobin had one, while Boucher, Bancks, and Evan McEneny added single helpers. At one point, Demko came flying out of crease to get involved in a scrum started by former Comet Cory Conacher.
The Week Ahead:
The Canucks are in for a busy week. After two days off on Sunday and Monday, the Canucks leave on an Eastern roadtrip with four games in six nights. On Tuesday, October 17, the team will visit Alex Burrows and the Senators in Ottawa, with a 4:30PST start.
Following that, the Canucks have their first back-to-back of the year, taking on the dreaded Boston Bruins on Thursday, October 19, and the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, October 20. Both games have a 4:00PST start.
Finally, the Canucks are in Detroit to take on the lowly Red Wings on Sunday, October 22, at 4:00PST.
Bits and Bobs:
-The suddenly sparse attendance at Canucks games is actually a real reason to worry. There was always a question as to how the Vancouver fanbase would handle a rebuild, and there seems to be legitimate concern that the answer is “not well.” Plenty of fans are happy with the stable of young players built by Jim Benning and Trevor Linden, and it would be a real shame to see them relieved of their jobs due to low attendance before their work can pay off.
-At this point, it’s easier to list the Canuck prospects who aren’t doing well in various developmental leagues around the world. In particular, the forwards:
Kole Lind has 17 points in eight games in the WHL.
Elias Pettersson has seven assists in eight games in the top Swedish league.
Adam Gaudette has seven points in his first three NCAA games.
Petrus Palmu is the highest scoring rookie in the Finnish Liiga with ten points.
Jonah Gadjovich has nine points in eight games in the OHL.
In addition to the strong start of Goldobin in the AHL, it’s a great time for Canuck forward prospects.
-With the early indications being that the Canucks will be in the basement again this year, it’s hard not to think about the potential for adding another Benning draft class to this already-stocked prospect cupboard.
-After just one game, both the good and bad of Derrick Pouliot should be apparent to Canuck fans. With the spotty defensive play, it’s easy to see why the Penguins gave up on him, but the potential is there, and former WHL coach Travis Green might be the man to unlock it.
-Shorty without Cheech is like a hot dog without ketchup. Fans demand All John Garrett, All The Time.
-With Jared McCann scoring four points in his first four games, and Erik Gudbranson reduced to a team-low 12:08 of ice time, now Canuck fans can understand how Calgary fans must feel about Baertschi and Granlund. Gudbranson wasn’t just the defenseman with the lowest ice time, he played the least minutes of anyone except Alex Burmistrov and Loui Eriksson, who left with an injury.