STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
The Vancouver Canucks have 27 games left in their season.
As an organization, they’ve already said the playoffs are an unachievable dream.
And so the focus is now on draft position, even if they won’t openly say that.
Even if NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denies there is tanking hockey, everyone knows there is. There’s no incentive for teams at the bottom of the standings to do anything but win as little as possible.
The players and coaches, of course, try to win, but you still have control as an organization of who is in the lineup on any given night.
And the Canucks look to be an organization that’s keeping that in mind.
Results aren’t as important as process.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Philadelphia Flyers
, Rogers Arena.
CBC/ Sportsnet Pacific.
And they’re open that they’re looking to make trades. Bo Horvat has already been moved along. Next it could be Luke Schenn or Brock Boeser or Conor Garland or … the list goes on.
Newer, younger, fresher is the theme.
As the Canucks look to the future and look to see if they can find a way to the likes of North Vancouver phenom Connor Bedard, the undisputed top prospect in this summer’s draft, here are some numbers to consider:
Since Christmas, the Canucks have taken just 29.5 per cent of the points available to them.
If they carry on at this pace, they’ll finish the year with just
53 points, which would put them close to the bottom of the final standings.
Playing at such a pace would mean just four more wins in the remaining 27 games to play.
They’ve been creeping into the bottom five of the standings, and a 53-point finish would plant them firmly in the middle of the bottom five.
The Montreal Canadiens finished last in the NHL last season, for comparison, with 55 points.
But are the Canucks really bad enough to maintain such a miserable pace?
Since Rick Tocchet took over as Canucks head coach on Jan. 23, the Canucks have played nine games.
They’ve used 25 skaters in those games.
Just four have a negative team shot-attempts-share; in other words, the Canucks are outshooting the opposition when just about every player is on the ice — except when Boeser, Kyle Burroughs, Lane Pederson and Ilya Mikheyev are on the ice.
That’s a good sign if the team really wanted to win games. At the same time, as a reminder that not every shot is made the same, the number of players who are in the positive for the share of quality shots taken while they’re on the ice, according to Natural Stat Trick, is just 17.
Now that’s still more than half the roster, a good thing in normal circumstances.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is having a terrible season.
Just 38.5 per cent of the goals scored while he’s been on the ice at five on five have been by the Canucks. That’s a career low, just below the 38.7 per cent he posted in his final, miserable year in Arizona.
And far below the 54.5 per cent he posted last year, a very solid first season in Vancouver.
He’s actually been able to produce points at a solid rate, but his defensive record is the worst of his career.
The Canucks’ opponents are scoring
3.9 goals per 60 minutes of five on five time while he’s on the ice, far and away the worst of his career.
It hasn’t helped that the Canucks’ goalies have stopped just
88.3 per cent of the five-on-five shots taken with him on the ice, the worst five-on-five save percentage of his career.
But his presence on the ice at
five on five
has also yielded the worst team defensive quality of his career, with the Canucks yielding nearly three expected goals per 60 minutes of
time, according to Natural Stat Trick’s calculations.
For the previous six seasons, he’s hovered around 2.5 expected goals against per 60 minutes. Based on his ice time so far this season, the Canucks’ defence is about 7.5 goals worse in terms of expected goals against with him on the ice compared to the same point last year.
The fact remains the Canucks as a group just give up too many goals.
They’ve given up five goals in 26 of their 55 games played this season.
Four of their last five games has seen them give up that many goals.
Some of that is due to their brutal goaltending record, but most of it is the dire defensive structure in front of the goalies.
And as has been said time and again this season, as long as their defence is bad, they’re going nowhere.
The Canucks are still managing to fill the seats, but they’re dredging the channel to do so.
Anyone with an “active college or university email domain”
, so mostly students — but also staff and alumni — can register to get day-of ticket offers, which are $29 for the upper bowl and $39 for the lower bowl.
You couldn’t find a cheap ticket a decade ago, but you could two decades ago and these prices are a throwback to back then.
With Arturs Silovs making his debut Wednesday for the Canucks, six Latvia-born goalies have now played in the NHL all-time.
Three have appeared for the Canucks: Petr Skudra and Arturs Irbe came before Silovs.
He’s also the fifth Latvian to suit up for Vancouver: Forwards Herbert Vasiljevs and Ronalds Kenins are the rest of the handful.
— Tocchet said Thursday after a practice at the University of B.C. that Ekman-Larsson, who left Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers with an undisclosed injury, is doubtful for Saturday’s game vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. The veteran blueliner was absent from practice and was getting X-rays. Curtis Lazar also left Wednesday’s game, but Tocchet had no update on him.
More news, fewer ads:
Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today:
The Vancouver Sun
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2023
Add a Comment