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The Vancouver Canucks’ downturn puts the season at risk

It is easy to overreact in the early stages of the regular season. Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Anaheim Ducks, and the Los Angeles Kings stumbled out of the gate before starting their own run, and (and still are) letting them into or fighting for playoff positions, respectively. However, for the Vancouver Canucks, that game has not happened yet, and their recent downturn puts their season in danger. Yes, they defeated the back-to-back Winnipeg Jets 3-2 last night, but Vancouver is still 3-6-1 in the previous 10 games.

In the offseason, general manager Jim Benning spared no effort to change some parts of the organization and culture, hoping to bring balance and stability to all three positions. Trades with the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars brought players from Oliver Ekman-Larson, Connor Garland and Jason Dickinson. In contrast, other initiatives, such as buying out goalkeeper Braden Holtby and forward Jack Wiltanen and sending Nate Schmidt to the Winnipeg Jets, opened up roster positions and opportunities for others.

Then made way for the signing of reserve Jaroslav Halak and defender Tucker Poolman while re-signing their two biggest pieces. Elias Paterson And Quinn Hughes. However, judging from the crease, the Canucks seem to be near the bottom of the NHL when it comes to each major category.Benning Admitted that his team had a poor start After their recent defeat. “Of course, I feel responsible; I am the leader of this group,” Benning said. “The initiatives we took this summer, I never thought we would start with this. But we have. Now we have to deal with it, we have to figure it out.”

Their defensive problems have not been resolved, the lack of offense is of no avail, and Their special group, Well, it’s not that special.

The Canucks’ defensive dilemma

The best teams in the league have a good balance in terms of their position groups. When one has a bad game, other regions will make up for it. If it is difficult for a team to score, the defense will hold the fort until the offense can break through. If the goalkeeper gives up some early goals, the offense will take over and return them to the game. Now, the Canucks’ defensive dilemma is emerging, and no measures have been taken to offset the loopholes along the blue line.

Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Owen / Hockey writer)

The crazy thing is that Vancouver doesn’t have too many injuries to overcome. In fact, they have actually returned the players to the lineup from vacation. Travis Harmonic Came back more than a week ago. Except for Poolman’s two-game suspension for the tenacious Colorado Avalanche forward Kiefer Sherwood, every player stayed healthy and played regularly.

Despite all the supplements and relatively positive health, the team ranks near the bottom of the league in most defensive statistics. They are ranked 29th in the league, with 61 goals against (GA) and a goal difference (GF) of minus 15, ranking 30th. If Vancouver wants to somehow reverse the season and enter any playoff-like game, it must start in the defensive zone.

Canucks’ offensive struggle

If the defensive zone can figure things out, then the focus should turn to offense. Vancouver somehow, this offseason was able to get rid of some sizable contracts, and these players did not perform well, including Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle and Louis Eriksson, who scored a total of 2 points in 45 combined games. In return, they brought in other players that had been produced in the past. Garland is a great addition to the team, ranking third with 13 points in 17 games, but apart from their top six, so far, the offensive struggle has really hurt Garland. People team.

Although compared with the league, their defense is not as bad as their defense, but this is still not expected this season. The Canucks tied for 18th in the league with 46 goals, but 18 games have given them an advantage. If we calculate the percentage based on the games played, Vancouver is actually ranked 27th in the NHL, with an average of only 2.5 goals per game (GPG).

Elias Paterson, Vancouver Canucks
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Owen / Hockey writer)

The silver lining that can be seen is that their field goal percentage (S%) is only 7.7%, ranking 28th overall. Maybe their luck improves and more pucks enter the net, but this is more likely to be related to the lack of high-quality shots.

related: 5 trades the Canucks should consider this season

Canucks special team disaster

This has been an area of ​​Canucks’ focus for some time, and it still seems to require a lot of work. The crazy thing is that Travis Green has to use and deploy a lot of talent. This is not just a strong game or a penalty kick, but the special team is a total disaster.

Since the 1963-64 season began to record statistics, the Vancouver Canucks have had the worst free throw percentage.

Usually, when something is out of sync, it is obvious to everyone, especially the opinion team. To say the least, the power of all the weapons that Vancouver has is not impressive. With Pettersson, Hughes, Garland, Miller, Brock Boeser, Nils Hoglander, Vasily Podkolzin and Captain Bo Horvat, Canucks seems unable to enter any rhythm and ranks 22nd in terms of power percentage (PP%). , There is only 16.9% chance of scoring.

The penalty kick (PK) is somehow worse. In fact, this is one of the worst penalty kicks in recent history. Although there are only 18 games this season, Vancouver ranks last in the NHL, eliminating only 60.3% of penalties. To make matters worse, the Vancouver team ranked seventh in free throws averaged 9.9 minutes per night, which did not bring itself any benefit. This is almost five penalties per game, and according to the PK figure, this results in approximately two goals per game.

Green and Benning have no time to reverse the situation in Vancouver. If there are no signs of life soon, there may be Some major changes are coming In the next few months.

I am a broadcaster and sports writer for the Vancouver Canucks in London, Ontario. I have done reporting on NHL, NBA and MLB in the past. I also reported on OHL, including Owen Sound Attack, and I am currently involved in the London Cavaliers.

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