While some publications insist on doing weekly power rankings of NHL teams, we thought it would be even more abstract and pointless to do a weekly power ranking of the players on the Canucks. And yes, we understand that Sunday is technically the start of the week, but no one thinks that way.
The Canucks went 2-1-1 this week, beating the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins and dropping contests to the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers (in the shootout). What follows is a ranking of the players on the team as to how they performed this week, from bottom to top.
23. Alex Burmistrov (Last Week: 21) ↔
Only got in one game (against the Rangers), after Brandon Sutter had to come out due to injury.
22. Alex Biega (23) ↔
Not a great week for Biega. He wasn’t very effective in either of the first two games (one penalty, minus-one) and then was put in the press box after the return of Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher.
21. Brendan Gaunce (22) ↔
Even hardcore Canuck fans don’t know who Gaunce is. Three shots against New York is an encouraging sign, but fans calling for Goldobin or Boucher to take his spot might have a point.
20. Erik Gudbranson (20) ↔
Gudbranson was looking better last week, and was relatively solid in the two games he played. But an injury that will reportedly keep him out for weeks is not good for the defenceman, or the Canucks who are reportedly shopping him. Recent reports have indicated that Gudbranson could fetch up to $5.5 a year in free agency. That would be a massive mistake from whichever team undergoes that investment.
19. Markus Granlund (17) ↡
Continues to be the team’s swiss army knife, with Green sending him out during the shootout, albeit unsuccessfully. But it’s possible the coach is starting to lose a bit of faith in Granlund: his ice time decreased in every game he played this week.
18. Troy Stecher (NR) ↟
Stecher returned against the New Jersey Devils and clearly had trouble regaining his form, posting some of the worst underlying numbers on the team (minus-40 Relative Corsi). He recovered against the Rangers though, playing 16:30 of solid hockey. This should be the lowest he finds himself in these rankings all year.
17. Brandon Sutter (11) ↔
Sutter got hurt in the loss to New Jersey and will likely be out most of next week. It doesn’t help his case that some felt the Canucks played their best game of the year against New York. A goal against his former team in Pittsburgh was pretty sweet, though.
16. Sam Gagner (15) ↔
Gagner put up three points over the week, including a massive goal against New York. His advanced stats didn’t look great, but if the forward settles into Vanek-level production for the Canucks that would be a big win. He’s not there yet.
15. Anders Nilsson (19) ↟
Nilsson’s stock rises for the second week and it’s a case of the grass always been greener. In this case, it really might be. It’s not fair to throw all the blame for the two losses on Markstrom, but Nilsson looked spectacular at times against Pittsburgh, stopping 43 shots. Coach Travis Green has to be thinking about riding Nilsson for more than one game at a time.
14. Michael Del Zotto (14) ↔
Two assists in Pittsburgh and mostly solid play all around for DZ. Green is utilizing him in the right situations, and it seems like Stecher and him make a decent pair. Will the two smaller d-men get pushed around?
13. Ben Hutton (8) ↔
Hutton found himself paired with Chris Tanev for much of the two games in which the latter played. He was effective in those. In the prior two, not so much, but it was largely mistake-free while he logged big minutes.
12. Jacob Markstrom (5) ↡
Again, hard to throw all on Markstrom, but there will always be recency bias and it’s hard not to think that the Swede cost the Canucks at least a point in New York and maybe one in New Jersey too. Nilsson will get a chance this coming week. If he seizes it, Markstrom could fall hard.
11. Thomas Vanek (6) ↔
Another very solid week from Vanek, who contributed four points. He’s very quietly having himself a nice season in terms of scoring. He got a little sloppy against the Rangers and Devils, but the veteran is doing what he’s paid a bargain contract to do.
10. Derrick Pouliot (10) ↔
We said last week that the honeymoon Canucks fans have had with Pouliot of late has taken a few detours. It looks to be right back on track. He played 25 minutes in the Pittsburgh game and seems to have steadied Alex Edler’s game.
9. Alex Edler (16) ↟
A much better week for Edler, who looked good with Pouliot. The Canucks need solid play from the vet if they have any reasonable playoff expectations. If he plays the way he did two weeks ago, they’re toast.
8. Jake Virtanen (9) ↟
Virtanen’s stock remains high. Fans want to really let Green take off the leash, as he’s definitely been one of the most exciting Canucks to watch. Expect it to continue. An injury to one of the scoring line wingers is probably coming soon (this is hockey, after all), and that’ll be when Green really tests Virtanen. If you polled most fans, they’d expect him to excel in such a situation. Hard to disagree with that. Not giving him a chance in the shootout against New York was disappointing.
7. Henrik Sedin (13) ↟
6.Daniel Sedin (12) ↟
Big move for the Sedins, mostly because they made us feel like we were right back in 2007 with the game against the Rangers. Those were the Sedins we grew up watching: the puck possession, the passes, the composure. It was an absolute treasure to take a trip down memory lane. It was the same story for most of the week, as the twins put up nine points in the four games.
5. Loui Eriksson (7) ↟
Eriksson continued his ascent up the list with a huge week. The forward put up four points (including three goals) over the week, and passed the eye test with flying colours, looking great with the Sedins. After playing just over 13 minutes in New Jersey, Eriksson led the team’s forwards in ice time in New York, with over 20. He deserved it.
4. Sven Baertschi (4) ↔
As the first line goes (and no, we’re not biting on Green changing stuff up with Horvat between Vanek and Gagner as a permanent thing), so do the Canucks. Baertschi was OK this week (two points, not great underlying numbers), but it will take a slump to bump the members of the Killer Bees line down the rankings.
3. Bo Horvat (2) ↔
Just one point in the four games (a goal), but Horvat is still the lifeblood of the team.
2. Chris Tanev (1) ↔
Tanev returned this week, playing two games and looking again like the Canucks’ best defender. Were it not for the emergence of one of the team’s most exciting players in recent memory, he’d be at the very top once again.
1. Brock Boeser (3) ↟
Didn’t Play This Week: Derek DorsettMore