December 13 2016 11:00AM
Michael Carcone fend off an Edmonton Oilers defender in the pre-season.
Photo Credit: Peter Llewellyn - USA TODAY Sports
We're a few years into Jim Benning's run at the top of the Canucks, and we're starting to see trends develop as a result. For the purpose of this exercise, I'm going to focus on an area of strength and look at developments made at the draft.
Vancouver's made a point of selecting players from the USHL, and the results so far indicate they're on their way to paydirt. The OHL doesn't lag far behind in the Canucks' collective scope, as they've mined that league on many occasions over the last three seasons. Lastly, they're prospecting the QMJHL it seems.
Investing in the QMJHL isn't a surefire bet. Just looking at Canucks' development camps, and it's a who's who of players from the Q who've been passed over, sometimes in multiple drafts. That speaks to the uncertainty.
The Canucks haven't always gone that route, though. If their record in 2016 is any indication, it might be a developing trend for the Canucks heading into their fourth draft with Benning at the helm.
This is a topic worth exploring, so let's dive into it.
December 12 2016 05:55PM
It's time for your weekly dose of the NHL Numbers power rankings, a weekly look on the previous week in the NHL. I'll look at the five best and worst NHL teams thus far in the season, as well as the three best and worst players in the last week.
Note: All use of Corsi For and Expected Goals For are Score and Venue Adjusted, and at even strength. All stats come from Corsica Hockey, and NHL.com (don't worry, it's only the standings).
NHLN Notebook: Leastern Conference no more, Doughty Norris Speculation, and Girgensons Trade Rumours
December 12 2016 12:36PM
The Eastern conference may no longer be the Leastern conference. Four out of the top five teams in the league come from the East, and that becomes all five if you sort by winning percentage. The Metropolitan division is leading the way with five teams projected to either come close or break the 100-point threshold. Both Wild Card spots will likely be occupied by Metropolitan teams and the East will feature some of the league's strongest teams come playoff time. Pittsburgh doesn't look like its missed a beat and Philadelphia and Columbus look like new threats.
December 12 2016 10:00AM
An important part of being an analyst or commentator is admitting when you're wrong. I'll flat out admit it: when Glen Gulutzan shook up the defensive pairings following Calgary's Dec. 10 loss to the Dallas Stars, I thought it was a bad idea. Heck, I wrote about it and pronounced it as such. My thought process was that the Flames had one defensive pairing that worked really well (Deryk Engelland and Brett Kulak) and it would be silly to break them up to gamble on finding chemistry elsewhere.
Now that Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton have gelled this well together, making such a fuss about the third pairing sure seems silly in hindsight. In particular, the solidifying of Hamilton's role on the team and a consistent partner have unlocked a ton of really good things in his game.
December 11 2016 12:00PM
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
It seemed like just yesterday we were praising this team for how well they were set for the future. In 2014-15, they finished a season where they made the playoffs, and fought a valiant seven games, while being seventh in the league in possession. Sure, they lucked out by getting Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, but they were a competitive team, and they still had some decent prospects in the minors.
Even at the 2015 draft they lucked out, as they swapped draft bust Griffin Reinhart for a 1st and a 2nd, and managed to get Matthew Barzal after Boston whiffed on him with three straight picks. Garth Snow was a genius.
But here they are, two seasons later, and now with very little hope in sight. The team sits in 14th in the East, and they have the second worst possession team to only the Arizona Coyotes at 45.42%. Their offense is mediocre, but their shot suppression is terrible, allowing 64.98 even strength shot attempts against per 60 minutes. Oh, and they just screwed themselves in the cap by locking up a fourth liner long term yesterday.
So, what happened? How did Garth Snow suddenly become dumb, after building such a great team?