Who Had a Good Week:
Darren Archibald- The 28-year-old rookie finally got his long-awaited second chance at the NHL, and he seems to be making the most of it. In his first two games with the Canucks, Archibald made his physical presence felt on every shift and it showed on the scoresheet with eight hits, one assist, and a fight.
Reid Boucher- The two most impressive players this week were both callups. Boucher did everything that could have been asked of him, putting in a strong performance in a tough game against Carolina before notching two goals against Dallas and an impressive seven shots on net.
Troy Stecher- Stecher had a tough game against Carolina, along with partner Alex Edler, but he continues to step his game up as the team faces injuries on the blueline. Stecher is proving himself to be one of Travis Green’s most dependable defenders, and is showing the sort of top pairing potential he showed last year as a rookie.
Jacob Markstrom- Like many Canucks, Markstrom had a tough game against Carolina, which led to him calling out his teammates, and himself, publicly. Markstrom then responded with exactly the kind of game he need, with a shutout against the potent Dallas offense.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Loui Eriksson- A perfectly invisible week for Loui Eriksson, with no difference made on the scoreboard and little impact on the game overall. Yet, he somehow retains a steady presence on the powerplay.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin- The Twins are still putting up more points on the season than anyone could have realistically expected of them, but their lack of speed is beginning to catch up with them (no pun intended.) The Sedins are currently getting dominated by their opponents at five-on-five, and the Canucks don’t have the offensive horses to shelter them right now.
Markus Granlund- Despite scoring a goal in the opening game of the week, Granlund did not have a great week thereafter. He has not looked strong at all this year, and now his season is likely over—a worst case scenario for a player that really needed a rebound stretch run.
Darren Archibald should probably stay up with the Canucks for the remainder of the season. Utica Comets fans will not be happy about it, but the Canucks really need his physicality and toughness during the stretch run, especially if multiple veterans are dealt or injured.
There seems to be plenty of trade buzz surrounding Ben Hutton right now. I think other teams are probably intrigued with a defenseman that is struggling on a weak team, but once showed a ton of potential as a rookie. However, for that very same reason, I think it would be best if the Canucks held onto him for now.
Even if the Canucks end up dealing Anders Nilsson, which seems unlikely, they should probably hold off on calling up Thatcher Demko. Richard Bachman can fill in just fine, and Demko will benefit from leading Utica’s playoff push more than backing up Jacob Markstrom.
The Comets are hot! After falling out of the playoff race, the Comets are now second in the North Division after a lengthy 12-game point streak, and this week certainly helped matters.
The first of two games this week was a Friday home game against the Laval Rocket, and the Comets came away with a 2-1 overtime victory. Richard Bachman was in net, putting up 26 saves, and Michael Chaput scored the OT winner unassisted. Nikolay Goldobin had the other goal, assisted by Zack MacEwen and Adam Comrie.
Utica came up with another one-goal win on Saturday against Belleville, this time a 4-3 victory in regulation. Thatcher Demko was back in net, but this time the well-rounded offense was the story. Zack MacEwen had a goal and an assist, while Chaput and Philip Holm had two helpers each. Andrew Cherniwchan, Cameron Darcy, and PTO Justin Taylor had the other goals, and Patrick Wiercioch, Guillaume Brisebois, and Wacey Hamilton had single assists.
The Week Ahead:
The Canucks begin their week with a tough back-to-back, playing at home on Wednesday and then in San Jose on Thursday. The times are:
Wednesday, February 14 against Florida with a 7:00PST start time.
Thursday, February 15 at San Jose with a 7:30PST start time.
They’re back at home to finish the week with
Saturday, February 17 against Boston with a 7:00PST start time.
2018 Draft Eligible Prospect of the Week:
Barrett Hayton, C-
There’s only one player ranked in Sportsnet’s latest top ten 2018 Draft rankings that I haven’t covered yet, and that’s center Barrett Hayton. Unfortunately, his profile will immediately set off some alarm bells in the heads of Canuck fans, as he’s best described as a “safe pick.”
Standing at 6’1”, Hayton has an impressive, if not imposing, frame, which he uses to his full advantage. The words that keep coming up in association with Hayton are “steady,” “character,” and “mature.” That means he’s likely a good bet to turn pro, but not exactly a “sexy” or exciting pick. However, that is not to say there isn’t anything to get excited about when it comes to Hayton.
Hayton has plenty of offensive skill, operating at nearly a point-per-game in the OHL for Sault Ste. Marie. This is a massive increase on his 2016-17 numbers, when he finished with a scant 27 points. Hayton’s major breakout came in the Ivan Hlinka tournament, where he put up six points in five games. Hayton is more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer, so the majority of his points will likely come as assists.
There isn’t really any one trait that stands out in Hayton’s game, but there also aren’t any glaring weaknesses. He’s a “jack of all trades” and the classic “prototypical 200-foot game.” Although that may not sound enticing to Canuck fans with bad memories of Nathan Smith, it is very interesting that one comparison keeps coming up in regards to Hayton—Patrice Bergeron. That’s the sort of “safe pick” that any team would be lucky to make.
As a final note, any team drafting Barrett Hayton can look forward to years of “Don’t Be Hayton” headlines, so that’s got to be considered an added bonus.
Here’s a nice highlight feature on Hayton:
Bits and Bobs:
-It’s been a while since our last Elias Pettersson update, but the most important development for him has been his move to center. Pettersson has made the transition to center without missing a beat, and that’s very good news to Canuck fans who hope he’ll be the number one centerpiece of the future.
-ICYMI, Pettersson was ranked as the number one prospect in the world by Craig Button:
-Other Vancouver prospects in the Top 50 included Olli Juolevi, Adam Gaudette, Jonathan Dahlen, and Thatcher Demko, in that order. Kole Lind was robbed!
-Apparently, someone in the Canucks front office reads this article. I called for Darren Archibald to be signed two weeks in a row, and, suddenly, it happened. Hi Trevor!
-Canuck fans shouldn’t get too bummed out about Mat Barzal taking a big lead in the rookie scoring race with his third five-point night of the season. Goals are normally weighted higher than points in Calder voting, and even if Brock Boeser finishes in second place, that’s still a remarkable accomplishment. Besides, Barzal is a BC boy, so Vancouver fans should be proud of his accomplishment, too.
-The idea of Todd Bertuzzi joining the coaching staff specifically to train Jake Virtanen is an enticing one. However, Virtanen could benefit plenty just from watching the way Darren Archibald uses his body.