Evaluating Vancouver's defense using HERO charts

Thomas Drance
May 20 2015 10:00AM

The Vancouver Canucks defense, long a strength of the club, was something of an issue for the team this season. 

We know all about the club's team level defensive issues, and we all saw the club get tormented by Calgary Flames forecheckers in Vancouver's first-round series loss last month. Canucks defenders also struggled offensively. As a group Vancouver's blue liners combined for 135 total points this season, making them the 26th highest scoring defense corps.

Let's break Vancouver's blue line down to its individual components using Dominic Galamini's HERO charts as an evaluative tool, and see what we can see.

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Are the Canucks Going to Trade Zack Kassian?

Rhys Jessop
May 19 2015 01:00PM

It seems like it's almost impossible to write a Zack Kassian article these days without including the words "mercurial," "enigmatic," or "maligned." Certainly the big-bodied forward has struggled to not only live up to the enormous expectations placed on him when he was drafted 13th overall in 2009 (though had we been doing our draft work back then, we likely would've pointed out that Kassian wasn't exactly on the development path of a future top-6 forward), but to even gain the favour of three NHL head coaches. 

As a right-handed big guy with soft hands and a mean streak in junior, Kassian looked tailor-made to play with the Sedin twins, but questions about his defensive game and a general inclination to board play rather than driving the net have conspired to keep him off of Vancouver's top line.

Not only that, but a crowding depth chart, early season trade rumblings, and a constricting cap situation look like they're all conspiring to push the Big Guy out of town. Will the Canucks trade Zack Kassian this offseason? Let's take a look after the jump.

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Canucks Army Prospect Report - May 19th, 2015

Josh W
May 19 2015 10:00AM

We are back with another edition of the Canucks Weekly Prospect Report, where I dig into all the latest stats, rumours, gossip, news, achievements, and even made up stories from around the different junior hockey leagues. It's been nearly a month since the last report, as seasons have been winding down not too many players are active.  This week, we look into the play of all (non-AHL) Canucks prospects from the CHL and ECHL who have played in the last month.

Without further ado, continue past the jump to see what went down!

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Draft Theory: On Risk and Reward

money puck
May 18 2015 12:34PM

Hockey is full of time honored cliches: "We're going to take it one game at a time" "A two-goal lead is the hardest one to hold on to in hockey" "When you put the puck on net, good things happen" "We need to play a full 60 minutes" "We need to give 110%" "Your goalie has to be your best penalty killer". I'm not sure if it's that we love cliches, or the play-by-play guys and players love to repeat them.

In any case, one of the most overused cliche's as it relates to prospects is "He's a high risk, high reward player", but in many cases this term is pretty inaccurate. 

I'll explore the relationship between risk and reward when evaluating prospects after the jump.

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Does Miles Liberati Deserve an ELC?

Josh W
May 16 2015 02:45PM

The Vancouer Canucks currently have 4 defencemen in their prospect system who have yet to be signed.  Those four skaters are Nikita Tryamkin, Patrick McNally, Mike Williamson, and Miles Liberati. 

Tryamkin will like be signed next summer as he cannot be signed to an NHL contract while he is signed to a KHL contract.  Patrick McNally is rumoured to be attending Harvard for a fifth year, and is applying to the NCAA for another year of eligibility on the basis that he sat out a full year.  Mike Williamson was drafted as part of the 2013 Draft Class, as he is an NCAA player having just completed his sophmore years, the Canucks still have 2 more years to sign him.

The last remaining player is Miles Liberati.  As a Canadian Hockey League player like Jordan Subban, the Canucks have to make a decision to sign him to an Entry-Level Contract (ELC) by June 1st, this year, or else he is returned to the draft.  Is Liberati worth signing?  Let’s take a look at him.

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