Just five games into the season, one should avoid making too many snap judgments about statistical deficiencies—but when we’re talking about a stat that has been trending in the wrong direction since early 2018, it’s fair game.
Which brings us, of course, to the issue of the Vancouver Canucks’ powerplay.
Last season, the Canucks were in a tie for the ninth-worst powerplay percentage in the entire league with just 17.1%—and that’s despite the emergence of Elias Pettersson as one of the game’s premier scoring talents.
Before Tuesday’s game, the 2019/20 situation actually looked a bit worse off—with the Canucks languishing in the special teams basement with a sub-10% rate. Vancouver’s three powerplay goals against the Red Wings elevated them to a much more reasonable 21.1%—better than last year’s mark, but still not good enough to crack the top half of the league.
The problems with the Canucks’ play on the man advantage are many, and fixing them won’t be as simple as firing Newell Brown and banning the phrase “drop pass” from ever again being uttered within a two-block radius of Rogers Arena—despite what some Twitter pundits might tell you.
With that in mind, we ask:
What would you do to fix the Canucks’ powerplay?
Last week, we asked:
What would you do with the Canucks’ leadership group moving forward?
Who would you select as alternate captains once Alex Edler, Brandon Sutter, and Chris Tanev move on?
(Unfortunately, people didn’t really have all that much to say on the topic!)
I’d give the A’s to Stecher and EP.
Beer Can Boyd:
EP has to get an A next season.
Boeser has character in droves – A.
Petey will be driving the bus and bringing everyone with him – A, maybe C if he surpasses Bo in leading the team.
I could see a veteran taking another A – maybe Miller? Or Benn, so we have a D with an A.
Looks like Guadette could be a long-term leader, too, but probably not in the timeframe of this question.
(winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
I saw Markstrom really engage, communicate, and support the team a lot last year. Do they still give it to goalies? Until it happens, though, no rush. See who has blossomed into deserving it at the time. If Roussel is still a regular part of the team, I’d take a look at that. He was like the rug in The Big Lebowski last year… he really tied the room together.
EP and Brock easy choice and if a 3rd, Quinn. Another two years before Eddy moves on so Q will be entrenched as a top NHL D-man
Myers and Miller look like good candidates
I’m a big believer in spreading leadership around the roster as much as possible. There’s a small practical component to that—having someone with a letter on the ice as much as possible to communicate with officials in the moment—but, for me, it’s more of a psychological factor. Spreading leadership around the roster sends the message that everyone is accountable and that everyone is supposed to provide leadership—not just the team’s top player.
The Canucks are fortunate in this regard, as they already have an excellent captain who is firmly entrenched on the second line. That means that they can easily afford to have an “A” on the top line without it getting too crowded—which leads to a natural debate about whether Elias Pettersson or Brock Boeser is more deserving of a letter. For me, it’s currently Boeser in the lead, but you can’t go wrong with either.
It’s preferable to have at least one alternate captain on the blueline, and that’s where it gets a bit tricky. Alex Edler and Chris Tanev will eventually move on—and although it seems as though Quinn Hughes has the natural makings of a leader, he probably won’t be ready for that much responsibility by the time they leave. Jordie Benn or Tyler Myers could probably fill the gap admirably, but don’t count out Richmond’s Troy Stecher. Having a Lower Mainland local in the leadership group would be popular with the fanbase.
Lower in the lineup, there are captaincy candidates aplenty. Antoine Roussel might take too many penalties to wear a letter, but he’s otherwise a great choice. Tyler Motte—if he ends up being a long-term fixture on the roster—looks like the classic lead-by-example type of player, so he’d be my darkest horse in this race.