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.
After a bit of a hiatus, the Power Rankings are back. Many things have changed in that time, but our sardonic point of view is not one of them.
The Canucks went 1-0-2 on the three-game road stint, including a big win against the Bruins and two shootout losses. Here’s who we think stood out, both for good and bad.
19. Tyler Motte (last week: 21) ↡
Simply put, Motte has had a ton of chances and hasn’t been able to convert them. The Buffalo game, in particular, was a low point for Motte, who was late coming back on a back-check on Nathan Beaulieu’s goal and registered the lowest ice time of any player in the contest.
18. Darren Archibald (NR) ↔
17. Brendan Leipsic (22) ↔
These two have been on the ice together a lot, so they’re getting lumped in together. Both have been unable to convert on multiple chances, mostly from their centre Adam Gaudette, who’s basically been making plays in spite of these two.
16. Michael Del Zotto (23) ↔
Hey, he’s back in the lineup, which is something. He had a good game against Boston, with a plus-3 rating and a strong advanced stats game against Buffalo. He’s also arguably been a drag on Troy Stecher, as the two have been partners since MDZ’s been back.
15. Tim Schaller (20) ↡
Schaller was getting an extended look on the Bo Horvat line—until he didn’t produce and was replaced by Antoine Roussel in Buffalo, sending his ice time into the oblivion.
14. Markus Granlund (17) ↔
Are we watching him transition into a shootout specialist? He’s 2-for-2 on the season and 5-for-9 in his career. Only Kevin Shattenkirk of the Rangers has converted more chances this year.
13. Adam Gaudette (NR) ↔
The rookie has very little to show for it in terms of actual stats—and he won’t get actual attention until he does—but he’s been effective. The centre posted very steady advanced numbers this week and was constantly setting up his less-talented linemates.
12. Derrick Pouliot (16) ↔
Still very trusted by Travis Green in many situations, including the power play, it seems like Pouliot may be losing a little momentum of late, as he hasn’t been particularly strong—he and Tanev were victimized a couple of times against Buffalo.
11. Erik Gudbranson (18) ↟
There are a bunch of weird stats in the early going for the Canucks, yes. Are any more bizarre than Erirk Gudbranson currently riding a five-game point streak? There have been a few weird bounces and lucky goals, but it is what it is.
10. Antoine Roussel (13) ↟
Will we look back on the Buffalo game and decide that’s when it all changed for Roussel? His ice time increased dramatically, as did his production, when he took the ice with the Horvat line in that contest. It was a deserved promotion, too, as Roussel was setting up teammates all over the ice.
9. Troy Stecher (10) ↔
It’s not his fault he’s being anchored by Del Zotto. He’s also not getting much time on special teams. But he’s been his usual battling, mobile self.
8. Jacob Markstrom (14) ↔
Has he been great? No, not really. But he’s been solid enough to kepe the Canucks in games. Ten goals in three games is not ideal, but until Anders Nilsson comes back from injury, he’s the only option for the Canucks, and thus holds much of the power.
7. Chris Tanev (7) ↔
It’s sometimes hard to grade Tanev, as his best games involve one noticing him as little as usual. But he was noticeable against both Buffalo and Detroit, and not for the right reasons. It seems as if his pairing with Pouliot has been surpassed by the Hutton-Gudbranson pairing.
6. Loui Eriksson (12) ↟
Look, we’re as surprised as you are. But Eriksson had six points (!) in three games this week and looks to have made a home on a line with Horvat and Roussel. And we’re not even counting all the Little Things he does.
5. Nikolay Goldobin (11) ↟
No, he hasn’t been able to put the puck in net, but he’s helped it get there. With three assists this week, he’s been producing. The defensive lapses have been there, including a couple troubling plays on the power play against Buffalo that almost led to shorthanded goals, but he’s also been one of the team’s more creative players. Watching him and Pettersson (and now Virtanen) together is an absolute joy.
4. Ben Hutton (15) ↟
He’s been the Canucks best defenceman this season. Sorry, haters. He and Gudbranson have been taking on tough matchups and, shockingly, emerging better than unscathed, they’re coming out on top. He did get turned once or twice against Buffalo, but he also put up three points and a plus-3 rating this week.
3. Jake Virtanen (8) ↟
Yeah, we’re doing it. In the absence of Brock Boeser, Virtanen slides into the number three spot. The #ShotgunJake movement is one thing, but his insertion onto Elias Pettersson’s line bodes extremely well for his future. He’s on a two-goal streak and hit 20 minutes in ice time against Buffalo, which is exactly what fans want to see.
2. Bo Horvat (2) ↔
Another great week from Horvat, who put up five points this week (including four against Boston). We were tempted to put him number one, but, well…
1. Elias Pettersson (1) ↔
Even when he doesn’t score, he looks dangerous on every shift. The latest in a week of highlights was this absurd deke in overtime against Buffalo.
Not ranked this week: Brock Boeser, Alexander Edler, Jay Beagle, Anders Nilsson, Alex Biega