After a trying regular season, Troy from Richmond showed off his value to the Vancouver Canucks by moving up the lineup and playing solid, yet unspectacular, hockey during the postseason. 

With Stecher on the ice, the Canucks controlled shot attempts over 44% of the time at 5 on 5 and had an expected goal share of 42.49%. These numbers are definitely not ideal, but he ranked third for defensemen on the team in both categories and it’s important to remember that Vancouver’s blueline struggled to drive play as a whole; Quinn Hughes led the group in both stats and the team controlled shot attempts less than 47% of the time while owning a lacklustre 45.72% expected goal share with him at 5 on 5. 

More importantly, Stecher’s expected goal share is deceiving since the Canucks actually outscored opponents 15-6 during his 5 on 5 ice time. This number isn’t sustainable over a larger sample size, but it’s worth pointing out that the team scored 56% of the goals when he was on the ice during the regular season as well, which was 10% higher than his expected goal share. In other words, advanced stats fail to capture Stecher’s value in real life, and the scoreboard is what ultimately matters in hockey. 

Furthermore, by being thrust on to Vancouver’s first pair alongside Alex Edler, Stecher faced competition that was much tougher than what he’s used to. According to PuckIQ, he only spent 20.5% of his ice time against elite competition during the regular season, which ranked last for Canucks defensemen who played in over half of the team’s games. On the other hand, he spent 39.4% of his time against depth players, which led all Vancouver blueliners prior to the playoffs.

During the postseason, however, Stecher was primarily matched up against the William Karlsson and Brayden Schenn lines during the first two rounds, respectively. The fact that he was able to put up decent underlying numbers relative to his teammates while facing more formidable competition proves that he’s able to perform adequately even when playing tough minutes. 

Against St. Louis, Stecher also stepped up offensively and provided the Canucks with extra firepower from the backend. During the six-game series, he assisted on a game-winning goal and scored two others, including the unforgettable tally where he honoured his late father afterwards. Without his contributions, there’s no doubt that Vancouver would’ve had a much harder time advancing past the defending champions. 

With his contract set to expire during the offseason, the Canucks should take a long look at re-signing Stecher, as he’ll be much cheaper to retain than Chris Tanev and has shown the ability to play up and down the lineup time and time again. No matter what happens, he’ll always be a fan favourite in Vancouver and the city will forever be proud of his accomplishments. 

Final Postseason Grade: B.

Stats from Natural Stat Trick and PuckIQ.