By popular demand, we have moved the player grades feature from a weekly feature to a monthly feature that will run on the first Monday of every month. Since our friend Moneypuck looks at monthly performances in his Deep Dive, these grades will focus on the season-long performance of Canucks defense. The grades for forwards ran earlier this morning.
Let’s get started then. Read past the jump!
- Hamhuis’ play wasn’t exactly spectacular when he went down with a leg injury. Still, he has been a pillar of strength since he signed with the Canucks, and he can’t return to replace Ryan Stanton or Luca Sbisa fast enough.
- Once a stalwart on Vancouver’s blueline, Bieksa’s play looks to have been eroding. Some of this is going from playing with a legitimate first-pairing guy like Dan Hamhuis to playing with pretty marginal players like Luca Sbisa and Ryan Stanton, but his offense has all but vanished too. Not a good sign on a team that already needs blueline help.
- Luca Sbisa has undertaken a very defense-oriented deployment this season, and not fared very well at all. He’s a team-low minus-7 on the year with a pretty poor 46.8% Corsi, and has looked brutal to the eye test too at times. This is pretty much in line with his play through his career where he’s consistently been a poor possession guy that carries a well below average PDO.
- When it comes to Yannick Weber, he’s provided pretty much all you can reasonably ask of him: good offense from a depth guy, but not much else. He’s been able to keep his head above water in terms of possession, but a lot of that has to do with a 58% offensive zone start rate.
- Vancouver would be totally lost this season without the play of Alex Edler and Chris Tanev. While their numbers are modest by top-pairing D standards, they’ve been carrying an exceptionally heavy burden, and getting the Canucks out of tough situations. Without Tanev on the ice, Vancouver is just outside the bottom-5 puck possession teams in the NHL.
- There isn’t much to say about Ryan Stanton’s play this season other than “oh god please make it stop.” One has to think that Bobby Sanguinetti has to be as good or better of an option at this point.
- Alex Edler’s production at even strength has all but dried up this season, but he’s made up for it with strong defense and rock-solid special teams play. He’s playing 24 minutes per game against top competition and coming out ahead. The lack of production is a concern, but he’s still Vancouver’s best defender so far.