Canucks Army GDT #65 – Canucks @ Stars

The Trade Deadline has come and gone, and Ryan Kesler is still a Canuck. After parting ways with the best goaltender in the franchise’s history the day prior, the team had itself a quiet, underwhelming day, much to its fanbase’s chagrin.

Right now all of talk around these parts is about the move that they didn’t make, rather than the ones that they did. A lot of time and energy has been spent speculating what the package(s) Mike Gillis turned down were, and whether he didn’t make the move because he wasn’t satisfied with the return or because of last minute meddling from the guys above him on the pecking order. 

That’s not a story that’ll die down anytime soon, and if the team continues down the losing path it has been on for weeks now, it’ll more than likely serve as just the tip of the iceberg. When it rains, it pours, and that’s when all of this stuff starts to leak out. 

But for now, they’ve got 18 more games to play before this dreadful 2013-14 season is over with, and they move one step closer to that feat with a match-up against the Stars on Thursday night in Dallas. If Shawn Matthias’ triumphant arrival to the lineup doesn’t exactly peak your interest, maybe local boys Jamie Benn, Brenden Dillon, and The One That Got Away will.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 5:30 PM PST

TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

The Canucks

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As you can tell, Matthias slots in as the 3C in place of Brad Richardson, who left Tuesday’s game against the Coyotes early with some sort of injury. If you’re unfamiliar with his work and would like to belatedly read up on him, we had a good profile on him back in November

He’s youngish (26), he’s big (listed at 6’4”, 225 lbs), and if nothing else he’ll be someone that carries some sort of that the Brad Richardsons of the world don’t; at least you could convince me that he has some semblance of upside. If you can’t tell, I’m reaching for things to be even remotely positive about. 

Anyways, I mentioned above that there’s 18 games left in the campaign. At this point it’s just assumed that the Canucks will almost certainly revisit trading Ryan Kesler at the draft after failing to do so yesterday. I can’t even imagine what the outrage will look like if he goes down with an injury at any point during that time. 

There’s not much else to say about this team at the moment, though. They’re brutally difficult to watch. At this point the only way they could be redeemed is if Roberto Luongo live-tweeted their games.. or we were given a larger dose of Top Sixtito. Feed the people, Tortorella.

The Stars

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The Dallas Stars are probably in my Top 5 GameCenter teams at the moment. They’re fun as hell to watch – due to the young talent they have – and they’re a team that’s trending upwards. Obviously the main guys responsible for that are Jamie Benn (!) and Tyler Seguin, but Valeri Nichushkin is legitimately awesome too. 

Of all of the things people have to gripe about with Mike Gillis and the Canucks these days, the fact that they refused to take him when he was on the board last summer has to be atop the list in my eyes. He’s making sweet, sweet music on the top line in Dallas this year, and based on the WOWYs it certainly doesn’t look like he’s solely benefitting from playing with two great players. Especially since he has a top-10 +15 penalty differential on the year. Let me give you guys a second to wipe your eyes before we continue on with this preview..

One final note before we get to the numbers: since Sportsnet keeps feeling the need to sell its viewers on the Canucks “playing for their playoff lives!”, it’s worth mentioning that they currently sit in that 8th spot in the Western Conference with 68 points. That’s 2 more than the Canucks, and they have a game in hand. There are two teams between them, as well, but forget that for a second. A regulation loss to the Stars tonight would for all intents and purposes be the final nail in the coffin of the 2013-14 season. I’m ready.

The Numbers

5v5 Corsi Close % 51.8 (10th) 52.7 (7th)
5v5 GF/60 2.11 (20th) 2.36 (13th)
5v5 GA/60 2.11 (9th) 2.30 (18th)
5v5 PDO 99.8 (T-16th) 99.8 (T-16th)
5v4 GF/60 4.34 (28th) 5.04 (25th)
5v4 SF/60 57.7 (4th) 55.3 (6th)
4v5 GA/60 4.40 (2nd) 6.40 (22nd)
4v5 SA/60 40.2 (1st) 55.1 (22nd)
    • JD Burke

      I also wonder this!

      It sounds very MoMind00. He’s already declared Nichuskin the clear and better player and deemed Horvat a mistake.Hopefully the bloggers here aren’t falling in line with MentalMidget00.

      Perhaps we should consider things like: Dallas is a far more talented team and has some players that Nichuskin can play with; Horvat isn’t in the NHL yet (develop players properly); and there is a minimal body of work to examine when looking Nichuskin. You won’t know who the better player really is for a few years.

  • andyg

    It’s always interesting to see a new player in the line-up and how he performs. If Matthias decides to throw his body around out there tonight (on a beefy line with Sestito and Booth) that’s your entertainment value right there.

    The Canucks will almost assuredly lose tonight because they can’t score goals and you can’t expect Lack to pitch a shutout every night, but should be a very watchable game.

    • JD Burke

      Honestly, I’d rather see them make a play for Moulson or Vanek. It’d be nice to see them try and deal for Ryan O’Riley. Maybe Kesler gets dealt for something that’s a tad more on the fair side. Hopefully Edler gets moved to Detroit for a package similar to what they were offering last draft day.

      The number one hope? Gillis gets canned or walks away. He has turned a Cup contender into a joke in two years. Those are some ‘mad skillz’.

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    I like that 4th line better than the third. Just swap Booth and Archibald. If the season’s gone, why not give Schroeder, Dalpe, Booth, Archibald and Kassian more ice time. See what they can do – also, tanking. Can’t expect top Sixtito and an Edler-Bieksa pairing to do it all.

    Best thing that can happen for us now is if Philly get swept in the first round. Push the crazy people over the edge