The fallout from Daniel Sedin's injury

Dimitri Filipovic
March 03 2014 12:19PM

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Image via NHL.com

Prior to yesterday's Heritage Classic, Assistant GM and Cap Magician Laurence Gilman referred to the 2013-14 season as an "anomaly" for the Canucks, presumably largely due to the laundry list of injuries the team has dealt with over the season.

The loss to the Ottawa Senators was the 63rd game of the season, and only two players had suited up for each and every one of them: Jason Garrison and Daniel Sedin. You can shorten that list to just one after tomorrow's game in Phoenix, as it's looking more and more like Daniel Sedin could be out for an extended period of time.

Read on for a look at how this affects things moving forward, both on and off the ice.

When the French Bob McKenzie speaks, you listen. Same goes for Jason Botchford; in his "Provies" following yesterday's game, he speculated that "Daniel Sedin tore his hamstring and won't be back any time soon".

We don't have any definitive word on the exact severity of the injury, but those two guys are pretty plugged in, and I think it's fair to go under the working assumption that he'll miss an extended period of time. 

When trying to tackle the question of "how this'll change things", let's start by purely focusing on the on-ice ramifications. And the sad part is that I'm not convinced it'll affect the team's situation all that much. It's a damning statement to make about a player who will be making $7 mil/season for the next 4 years, and will likely go down as the best goal scorer in the franchise's history, but the numbers don't lie. 

The Canucks have managed to score more than 2 goals as a team just twice in their past 18 games, and one of the main culprits is Daniel, who can't buy a goal to save his life. He has 1 goal in his past 25 games, which was a shot that ping-ponged off of a number of bodies before finally finding its way past Steve Mason (all the way back on December 30th). Some mind-boggling stuff. 

In the short-term, we'll likely see Tortorella do some juggling to fill the spot on Henrik's left wing. Maybe this means we'll see some more Zack Kassian on the top line (which, despite his legitimate success next to David Booth, I'd like to see). Maybe we'll see Chris Higgins get bumped up for a while, who has 3 more goals on the season than Daniel to begin with. 

The best part about Henrik Sedin is that he makes everyone around him better, and I have little doubt that he'll boost whoever it is that's fortunate enough to draw the assignment(we've seen this in the past). As Henrik's injury prior to the break showed us, Daniel is more and more a passenger than the one driving the bus. I'm sure they'll miss him, just not all that tangibly. 

Looking at the fallout from this news on a grander scale, though, the way in which it affects the team's approach at the deadline is probably a juicier angle. There's two ways to tackle it: 

1) Mike Gillis and Co. are feeling the pressure from ownership. If they don't make the playoffs, their jobs could be in jeopardy. Based on everything that has been written and said about Aquilini, this unfortunately doesn't seem overly farfetched. This sort of stuff typically leads to ill-advised, panic trades inevitably always leads to a whole lot of head-shaking when looked back upon. 

My one rebuttal: regardless of whether we agree or disagree with particular individual decisions that have been made of the tenure, we're not dealing with morons here. I can't possibly believe that a person with any semblance of rationale at their disposal (which they presumably would have, if they've gotten to where they are) would watch this incarnation of the Vancouver Canucks and think to themselves "hmm, we're just a move away. Let's tinker!"

I refuse to believe this. Sure, we've seen teams misjudge their place in the league's hierarchy before. But the 2013-14 Canucks have been so, very, clearly mediocre for long enough now. This isn't a fleeting phase, it's a reality. Which leads us to..

2) You never want to see a player get injured, but on a larger scale, if Daniel Sedin missing a few weeks solidifies the patient, calculated approach which we've been led to believe they're taking, then it can be viewed as nothing but a blessing in disguise. 

The reality that the Canucks - a team currently just 5 points out from being 25th overall in the league standings - weren't going to be making noise should've been abundantly clear. But people come to realizations at different speeds, and maybe, just maybe, DANIEL SEDIN (or maybe, the idea of him and what he represents rather than the player he actually is at this point) being taken out of the fold will convince even the biggest optimists out there that this just isn't the year.

UPDATE: A few hours after posting this, word broke that Darren Archibald would be called up by the team. This comes as somewhat of a surprise to people who have been waiting for Nicklas Jensen to make an appearance with the Canucks, but it makes some sense that they'd like to see him continue to develop and work on his game in the AHL.  I assume that Archibald will draw back into the 4th line grinder role he has played in his 11 games with the Canucks this year. 

With Archibald having been called up on two different occasions already, we've covered him in length at this point. Basically, he's a big guy who can skate well for his size, has a solid set of hands, and it's because of his continued development that he projects as someone who could reasonably fill a 4th line role very effectively one day. He hasn't necessarily shown that in his time up with the team yet, but it has been in a small sample size, and I still believe. 

We'll have to hang tight and wait a while longer for the #JensenTrain. That's the bad news. The good news? I'll just leave this right here..

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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#1 NM00
March 03 2014, 12:29PM
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Another dumb decision by this management team to committ $56 million to Henrik & Daniel for their twilight years when they had MONTHS of leverage remaining.

#firegillis

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#2 parky
March 03 2014, 12:36PM
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Daniel out means one less turnover during the top line's shift.

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#3 Salient89
March 03 2014, 12:38PM
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In your opinion Is Daniel's disappearance as a legitimate goal scoring threat a result of: a) Keith hit; b) Lack of confidence; c) Tort's system

Personally I think it has taken Daniel a while to get his confidence back after the Keith hit and the Olympics showed us he is still a top player. Tort's system focusing on stifling defence and dumping the puck in plays away from the strength of the Sedins and has really hurt their offense. They start lower in their own zone, give up puck possession and don't have enough speed to create gaps...

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#5 Salient89
March 03 2014, 12:58PM
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@Dimitri Filipovic

Seems to be a popular sentiment among journalists. David Ebner's piece in the Globe and Mail was quite interesting. Concussion specialists would not correlate a drop in performance to the concussion- unless there are still lingering symptoms. Torts did manage to turn Brad Richards into a playoff scratch though... Interesting times to be a Canucks fan! Excellent work again!

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#6 van
March 03 2014, 01:11PM
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What this really means is the return of Top Sixtito

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#7 PB
March 03 2014, 01:18PM
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@van

Heaven help us.

I don't think Daniel's drop-off is concussion related; like Burrows and pretty much every other Canucks' forward other than Kesler, the Sedins seem to be either tentative and shooting the puck from way outside with no screen or holding onto it too long and getting blocked, checked, or losing the opportunity. If there's one thing that I keep noticing it's that the Canucks seem to be much slower when it comes to decision-making, other than Bieksa and Edler who still make a lot of ill-timed gambles.

I think we should go for full-on tank and since we aren't really going anywhere anyway, let's actually try and play some of the young guys who might benefit instead of sitting Schroeder or keeping Kassian off the PP.

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#8 Ted
March 03 2014, 01:35PM
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I don't get why losing Daniel is such a big deal. He has been beyond awful lately.

The team has to make several moves and soon. Deadline might get them best return for the likes of Kes, Edler etc.

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#9 Rahim
March 03 2014, 01:48PM
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How likely is it that we can trade away kesler+edler+roster player (not all to the same team) for a 2nd line center + 2nd line winger (not rentals) + prospects/picks?

I think I'd be pretty happy with that outcome. It wouldn't change our fortunes for this season, but I think it would prepare us to be competitive next season, assuming we can get the likes of horvat, shinakaruk, gaunce, jensen, etc. into the line-up.

Would love to hear people's thoughts on this!

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#10 NM00
March 03 2014, 01:58PM
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@Rahim

Getting 2nd liners in return for Kesler & Edler seems reasonable.

The problem, though, is that Sedin, Sedin & Burrows are no longer a first line on a contending team.

And they will account for over 25% of the projected salary cap for 2014-2015.

So the Canucks might be "competitive" next year.

But the same can be said for 20-25 other teams...

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#11 Mantastic
March 03 2014, 02:02PM
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@Rahim

what's the point in trading away core key players for 2nd line players? that will not help improve the team in the short term.

and having 4 rookies in the line up means the team would have to be pretty awful.

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#12 van
March 03 2014, 02:22PM
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@NM00

We just need everything to go our way to be a top 10 team next year.

We need at least one of our offensive prospects to be useful in the top 6 next season.

We need to nail this Kesler trade and get a top six guy and a blue chip prospect who can step in to the top 6 next year. (Maybe do-able if we can pick up an undervalued guy like Eller as the roster player)

We need the Sedins to get close to a PPG pace again, probably playing with one of the prospects instead of Burrows.

Also a power play.

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#13 NM00
March 03 2014, 02:33PM
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@van

"We just need everything to go our way to be a top 10 team next year."

And the same can be said for 20-25 teams.

Realistically, though, there's little reason to think this is anything other than an old, mediocre team that will continue to get worse without some BIG changes.

Trying the same nonsense with the same core for 2014-2015 will fail spectacularly just as it has in 2013-2014.

And it's highly unlikely that a Kesler trade will help next year's Canuck team.

If the Canucks wanted Ryan Johansen, there best chance was a couple of years ago using Schneider and/or Hodgson as a chip.

Of course, that would have precluded the goaltending soap opera and the additions of future checkers Kassian & Horvat...

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#14 CS
March 03 2014, 03:15PM
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On the USA broadcast of yesterday's game, colour guy (Engblom?) talked about Torts asking the twins to play higher in the offensive zone, speculating that other teams had shut down their cycle game. I think that may be a significant misstep, the implication was that this was a mid season adjustment, which has me thinking that it may be part of the sharp decline since the first 20 games or so this year.

I'm not saying Daniel is not in major decline right now, but I think he's still a better player than 3 in 25.

The hope has to be that if they upgrade Burrows' spot in the lineup they can get 65~ points out of each Sedin next year, and find a way (no idea how) to build a better 2nd unit.

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#15 Omar49
March 03 2014, 03:37PM
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When assessing the Sedin's performance you have to take into consideration the fact that because of Burrows injury they were playing with a different line mate every night. Many times those players were 3rd liners. Then Henrik gets injured and Daniel is now being centered by a 3rd liner (Schroeder). Maybe the reason is right in front of us and has nothing to do with the coach or schemes. I also don't buy they are over the hill. You don't come into camp in the best shape of anyone and if you're over the hill.

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#16 andyg
March 03 2014, 03:44PM
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@Omar49

They were over played and just wore out. This was a very condensed year and they were over used.

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#17 andyg
March 03 2014, 04:01PM
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@NM00

"firegillis"

I was a big Nonis fan. He was building the team in the proper way. With the Moose he started the development of the team that Gillis inherited. The owners were not happy with his approach and brought in Gillis. Fortunately he stayed the coarse and did not blow it up.

I worry that the owners are the trouble and that the next manager will have the win now at all cost agenda.

Gillis may not be the problem.

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#18 Rahim
March 03 2014, 04:37PM
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Mantastic wrote:

what's the point in trading away core key players for 2nd line players? that will not help improve the team in the short term.

and having 4 rookies in the line up means the team would have to be pretty awful.

@Mantastic I feel like Kes + Edler for 2 solid 2nd liners is pretty like-for-like, no?:

-Kes is a VERY good 2nd liner, but there are also a lot of question marks/ risks with him (E.g., injury prone, hasn't had the most consistent season, starting to get old, etc.)

-Edler is also very important to our core, but we have quite a bit of depth on the blue line that should be able to cover... worst case we can sign a FA in the offseason, if needed.

-If we can get 2 50-60 point forwards + picks/prospects for Kes + Edler + roster player (seems reasonably possible) I feel like we're coming out ahead... it would certainly be an upgrade in the points/goals department, considering how we've played this year. I understand it wouldn't make us a cup contender next year, but I think it would put us in a better position to 're-tool on the fly' ~2-3 years down the road (similar to what the Sharks have been able to accomplish).

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#19 Mantastic
March 03 2014, 05:19PM
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@Rahim

so you pretty much want to trade kesler for a younger version of kesler and flip edler for a top line winger and prospects/picks? that's not happening.

hate to break it to you but only top line wingers produce 50-60 pts and i find it hard to believe that edler will bring in anything more than a 1st and a prospect or something of equivalent value.

do not compare the canucks to the sharks, they drafted well to fill in their holes in top 6, or gave up a lot for Burns/Havlat.

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#20 Rahim
March 03 2014, 05:41PM
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@Mantastic

@Mantastic

Fair enough... I suppose I'm just delusional!

However, I still think we need to think about moving some core pieces (whether that's kesler, edler, or others) and look to the future. I feel that, with some smart hockey trades + signings in the off-season, we can inject a bit of offense into the team. With that + assuming our prospects can start making an impact, we could have a decent team (i.e., Top 6 in the conference) with good potential/upside in 2-3 years. That being said, I could just be delusional here as well. If nothing else, doing this would at least put is in a better trajectory than our current one (i.e., a top-15 team with a lot of downside little potential to improve).

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#21 PB
March 03 2014, 06:12PM
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@Rahim

It's highly unlikely that the recently restocked system is going to be able to provide NHL-ready forwards for next year. Maybe Jensen, but Horvat, Gaunce, and Shinkaruk are going to likely need at least a year or two's seasoning in the AHL. By the time they are up here the Sedins are on the downside of their 30s, even if this year is an aberration. I don't have a problem with moving core pieces and I think we should sell high on Kesler. But I think the idea that other teams are just going to give away talented young players under term to us without assessing any of those risks (i.e. Kesler's injury-prone history and style) is unlikely.

Planning for the future should begin with a different management team.

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#22 JFR
March 03 2014, 07:07PM
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Dimitri Filipovic wrote:

I have no idea, but my educated guess would be A accelerating the aging process that was already underway.

My guess is the aging process, but that comes with a solution. The Sedins for as long as they have been playing in Vancouver have tried to find complementary winger from Carter to bernier to Burrows. They used to be able to take any guy and put the puck on his stick and they would score. The tEam needs to find them a tough winger that buries the puck. Someone that can help them elevate their game for a change.

The league has caught up to the Sedins and their cycling tendencies and if there is no threat on the wing or in front of the net, the twins are dead. PPs and 5-5 Burrows is standing at the side of the net waiting for the perfect pass for a tip in. They aren't the Richard / Hart trophy winners of a few years back, but with the proper scorer they could be 75-85 pt guys again.

Don't discount the switch in systems also . Seems like most of the team has had trouble providing O under Torts. That I put the blame squarely on his shoulders

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#23 David
March 03 2014, 07:44PM
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What I don't understand about all this is the fact that Torts was supposed to be one of those guys who was going to let the young guys play. Give them a chance to improve. Nope ... it seems like all the others coaches and management of this organization ... we leave him in the minors until we have completely destroyed their confidence.

Let Jensen play with the big club and see what he can do ... don't put him on the fourth line ... put him on the second and give him some minutes to see what he is all about.

If you bring these guys up and let them play 6 minutes a game, its no wonder that they don't show you anything.

Ugh

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#24 JChecks
March 03 2014, 09:52PM
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Bummer,a hamstring injury is a real bitch to get over.I recall getting back on the ice in a reasonable amount of time.But it took forever to get back in top form. In my case it was about under training. Perhaps, with the Canucks it's about over training.Regardless,there shure seems to be alot of injuries this year. And with over training, it's a safe bet to assume the probability of over coaching, perhaps "The Torts Affect" is going south?

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#25 argoleas
March 03 2014, 11:34PM
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@NM00

>> Of course, that would have precluded the goaltending soap opera and the additions of future checkers Kassian & Horvat...

On what basis do you state that Kassian and Horvat are destined for checking roles? Here I assume you mean a third line ceiling?

Very difficult to state anything about Horvat as to where he will end up. And as for Kassian, his development still makes it uncertain what his ceiling may be.

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#26 argoleas
March 03 2014, 11:36PM
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JFR wrote:

My guess is the aging process, but that comes with a solution. The Sedins for as long as they have been playing in Vancouver have tried to find complementary winger from Carter to bernier to Burrows. They used to be able to take any guy and put the puck on his stick and they would score. The tEam needs to find them a tough winger that buries the puck. Someone that can help them elevate their game for a change.

The league has caught up to the Sedins and their cycling tendencies and if there is no threat on the wing or in front of the net, the twins are dead. PPs and 5-5 Burrows is standing at the side of the net waiting for the perfect pass for a tip in. They aren't the Richard / Hart trophy winners of a few years back, but with the proper scorer they could be 75-85 pt guys again.

Don't discount the switch in systems also . Seems like most of the team has had trouble providing O under Torts. That I put the blame squarely on his shoulders

Maybe AV was right: Only use Sedins in offensive roles. I dont mind them doing some PK, but not at this ridiculous pace. They are the most expensive checking players if that is how JT wants to use them.

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#27 argoleas
March 03 2014, 11:39PM
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With D. Sedin out for over 3 weeks, I assume they can put him on LTIR. That could allow them extra cap space for the deadline, should they choose to go in that direction.

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#28 JFR
March 03 2014, 11:54PM
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argoleas wrote:

Maybe AV was right: Only use Sedins in offensive roles. I dont mind them doing some PK, but not at this ridiculous pace. They are the most expensive checking players if that is how JT wants to use them.

I agree that sometimes using all players in every situation isn't the best idea. Your job as a coach is to put your players in a position to succeed and it seems Torts hasn't done that this season. Playing the heck out of your top guys doesn't work so well when they are the bad side of 30

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#29 Banik
March 04 2014, 03:18AM
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xjasc

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#30 Banik
March 04 2014, 03:21AM
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Sorry about precedent post !

What about a trade: (Edler Booth Hansen Diaz) for (O'Reilly, Parenteau) ? Or something equal. Colorado needs some Defense, we need some offense.

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#31 andyg
March 04 2014, 07:54AM
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@argoleas

The way the nhl is today,everyone is a checker because they don't allow offense.

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#32 Mantastic
March 04 2014, 10:27AM
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@Banik

wow, what a terrible trade for Colorado. Edler and a bunch of dead weight for 1 great young player and a top 6 winger...

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#33 Mantastic
March 04 2014, 10:28AM
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@JFR

imagine how much worse the team would be if Torts played his bottom 6 more...

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#34 5minutesinthebox
March 04 2014, 10:43AM
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@argoleas

I think considering the drop this team has had team wide, the logical answer is Torts and his system. Yes players decline somewhat season to season, but not entire teams. With the team not getting the kind of production you need from their best 2 offensive players, do you not allow them to focus on their strengths?

I did the math, and if this team was even getting production at the same pace as the lockout season (which wasnt great by any stretch) they would be in 7th in goals for...in the NHL.

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#35 Ted
March 04 2014, 01:33PM
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Mantastic wrote:

wow, what a terrible trade for Colorado. Edler and a bunch of dead weight for 1 great young player and a top 6 winger...

I can see that deal work if it was Edler and a Higgins or Hansen. ROR is a FA after the season. I would make any trade contingent on signing ROR to an extension - which may already have been done...who knows.

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#36 Mantastic
March 04 2014, 02:16PM
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@Ted

you're missing 1 important letter in front of FA. the R part. he's an RFA by the summer. why on earth would they trade an amazing young player like ROR that plays defence better than Edler, for Edler and spare parts?

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#37 NM00
March 04 2014, 02:37PM
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Mantastic wrote:

you're missing 1 important letter in front of FA. the R part. he's an RFA by the summer. why on earth would they trade an amazing young player like ROR that plays defence better than Edler, for Edler and spare parts?

Because the world revolves around delusional Canuck fans...

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