It’s going to be a while before we see Raymond doing pre-game stretches.
The question is: Will we see Raymond in a Canucks uniform, or will he be traded?
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Canucks Army continues a series where we look at the depth at each position for the Vancouver Canucks.
In our second installment of our series, we look at the Canucks depth at LEFT WING.
The Vancouver Canucks have solid depth on Left Wing, but only have one true game breaker. And what a game breaker his is. He just happens to be the newly crowned league scoring champion and latest winner of the Ted Lindsey trophy.
Can the Canucks rely on having arguably the best left winger in the NHL today without another game-breaking player on the left side?
Daniel is coming the best year of his career, winning the league scoring title, being named MVP by the NHLPA and making the 1st All-Star Team. After missing 19 games the previous season, Sedin returned to nearly perfect form in 2010-11 and he and brother Henrik show no signs of letting up for the coming season. However, much like Henrik, Daniel’s tendency to take lazy penalties must be improved. Daniel took 11 lazy penalties in the regular season (6 tripping, 1 holding, 1 holding-the-stick, 3 hooking). He must do better with his discipline. But no one doubts that he has another stellar year in store for 2011-12.
Interesting Stat from 2010-11: 30 of Daniel’s 41 goals were scored when the Canucks either trailed by 1 goal, were tied, or were leading by 1 goal. In other words, Daniel scored 30 bloody important goals.
Raymond won’t be seeing any action at the beginning of the season, as he continues to recover from a very serious back injury. Raymond has been much maligned during his time with the Canucks and last season saw a heightened amount of dissent about his game. After season highs in 2009-2010, Raymond saw his numbers drop last season, after playing fewer easy minutes. Raymond has a difficult road ahead of him, not only recovering physically but trying to recover his game and getting it back on track. There are many folks speculating that Raymond may be traded in order to make room for a power winger to play to the left of Ryan Kesler on the second line. With Raymond missing upto two months to start the year, it’s hard to say exactly where or when he’ll play next.
Interesting Stat from 2010-11: Raymond scored 39 points last season, 38 of which were during Canucks wins. He scored only 1 point in games that the Canucks lost.
Chris Higgins’ regular season time with the Canucks was short, but he proved his value in the playoffs. Higgins scored 4 goals in the playoffs, 3 of which were game-winning. The 3-time 20-goal scorer has had a few seasons mired in injury and has seen his per-game stats tumble as a result. Higgins’ strengths are that he is physical, reasonably quick and is quick disciplined (only 7 minor penalties taken all season), but he needs to get his scoring touch back. Playing along side Kesler may just be the tonic he needs, but it’s probably more likely that he will be Malhotra’s left winger on the third line.
Interesting Stat from 2010-11: Of Higgins’ 28 points last season, 26 were at even strength. He scored a single PP goal, and counted 1 SH assist.
Much like Higgins, Marco Sturm has suffered injuires in the past few recent seasons. He did however score 22 goals the season before last, and is a 7-time 20 goal scorer. In other words, the German’s got some finish around the net. He hasn’t had a shooting percentage below 10% since the 2000-01 season. Sturm could be considered a bit of a reclamation project for Gillis – some of whom have worked (Raffi Torres, Higgins, Lapierre) and some haven’t (Demitra, Mathieu Schneider… Sundin). The bottom line is that the lower priced projects have worked out, while the higher priced one have not. A one year, $2.25m deal is low price, low risk.
Interesting Stat from 2010-11: Sturm loved playing on Saturdays last season. It was the only day of the week where he was over a point per game (7 Pts in 5 GP) and he averaged almost 3 more minutes per game on Saturdays than the rest of the week.
In all fairness to Duco, he’s probably not going to see any time on the Canucks this year. If he does, it will be for a handful of games where the Canucks need someone to throw some punches in order to keep other Canucks from doing that. Duco played only 2 NHL games last season and took 2 fighting majors. He’s played 12 total NHL games and has taken 4 fighting majors and 3 10-minute misconducts. He ain’t there to score, kids.
Interesting Stat from 2010-11: He played over 10 minutes in his game against the Leafs. That’s as interesting as I can get with Duco.
** PLEASE NOTE ** – This space is reserved in the event that Brad Winchester actually signs with the Vancouver Canucks.
Interesting Stat from 2010-11: I’ll write one when he signs, goddamnit.