March 29 2013 01:15PM
The secret to the Canucks recent success: Leo the angry ginger cat. (via my buddy @kylevskyle)
This is a regular Friday feature combining a healthy mixture of observation, analysis, and foresight on the Vancouver Canucks. If you'd like to get at me about anything covered in this column, follow me on Twitter at @yyjordan and let's start a textual relationship (wink).
1. I'll be honest, I missed the game last night. Luckily there is the box score to give me an accurate idea of how the Canucks played, and it looks like they dominated! What's that? They got outshot and out-chanced by the worst team in the league? Oh. Kinda concerning.
2. The Canucks have been a hard team to figure out all year, and things aren't any clearer now that we're less than a week away from the trade deadline. Are they still Cup contenders? Here's an encouraging stat shap from Cam:
Since '08, Cup winners have combined for a Corsi Tied % of 54.2%. Four teams above that this season: LA, Vancouver, Montreal and Boston.— Cam Charron (@camcharron) March 27, 2013
3. Corsi Tied is a great stat, but I've been convinced the absolute best indicator of who the true contenders are is looking at Score-Adjusted Fenwick (a team's Fenwick rating adjusted for in-game score effects). Since 2008, the league's best Score-Adjusted Fenwick team has made the Stanely Cup Finals 4 out of 5 times, with that team winning the Cup 3 times (the only outlier is 2010-11 but oddly enough I don't remember what happened that season). Travis Yost does weekly rankings of the league's best SAF teams, and as of last Sunday the Canucks sit 6th.
4. If you were to ask me to list the league's top contenders before seeing that list, it probably would have looked identical. The three-headed beast in the East is Pittsburgh, Boston, and Montreal. Out West it's Chicago and LA, with Vancouver and St. Louis a notch below but still in the mix. The Canucks remain a very good even strength team, and they are a contender in the sense that every team that contends needs the right mix of health, luck, and the right playoff match-ups.
5. On the topic of health, according to Jason Botchford Ryan Kesler's wrist and shoulder are now 100% as a result of missing more time due to his broken foot. When he returned to the lineup originally they still weren't fully healed. Classic Kesler. Presumably, this means that once his foot has healed he will be as healthy as he's been since the start of the 2011 playoffs. Fantastic news if true, but it is Ryan Kesler, so he probably has a ruptured spleen or something that hasn't been diagnosed yet.
6. The trade deadline is next Wednesday and apparently talks between the Canucks and Leafs have picked up again surrounding Roberto Luongo. Even though it feels like nothing is happening right now, I still have trouble seeing Luongo in Vancouver after April 3. Since this is my last post before the deadline, I'll take a wild stab at a trade prediction: Roberto Luongo for Tyler Bozak, Joe Colborne and a 2nd round pick.
7. A rumour was floating around earlier in the week that the Canucks were looking at Ryan Clowe, and that the asking price was a 1st round pick and a prospect. Yes, the asking price for an impending UFA who has scored 0 goals in 2013 is a 1st round pick and a prospect. It's not all that surprising when you consider San Jose got two 2nd round picks for Douglas Murray, who mobility-wise makes Ryan Whitney look like a figure skater. Ryan Clowe has as many goals as a Shark this year as Jarome Iginla did in his brief 15-minute stint with the Bruins.
8. It was interesting to discover from Elliotte Friedman that had a deal been negotiated between Vancouver and Calgary, Iginla would have accepted a trade to the Canucks. There were just too many obstacles in the way. The Canucks don't have the organizational depth of Pittsburgh, nevermind the cap space; Pittsburgh still somehow has over 4M in cap space after all this.
9. If the Philadelphia Flyers continue to plummet down the standings as they surely will, might they become a viable trade partner? With the ridiculous amount of injuries on their blueline, if any team in the league is going to take Keith Ballard you'd have to think it would be Philly.
10. 3-PEAT WATCH: the Canucks are 10 points out of 1st in the NHL, but over the next 3 weeks they only play one team that's currently in a playoff position. Time for a late charge! MJ thinks they can do it.