Canucks Army Postgame: The Probability of Danish 20 Goal Scorers

The Vancouver Canucks were one of 18 teams that got to shake off the rust on the first day back from the league’s mandatory 3-day Christmas Break. 

Ryan Miller is still injured, so the Canucks ran with a tandem of Jacob Markstrom and call-up Joe Cannata. Both Sedins were back… but why talk about them when the resident Danish speedster stole the show? 

Jannik Hansen

Earlier in the 2015-16 season, I pointed out that this is the first year that all of the NHL’s Danish-born players (other than goaltender Freddie Andersen) were poised to hit 20 goals. 

That’s unique for a couple of reasons. It’s unique primarily because it’s very rare to see a nation’s full list of NHL talent serve as impact players, but it’s also unique because Denmark has only seen one NHL player hit 20 goals in a regular season – and he only did it once. 

Since then, Nikolaj Ehlers has tapered off a bit; understandable, for a rookie, but a tad disappointing nonetheless. The other four active NHL Danes, though, are still on pace for those 20-goal years. 

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Lars Eller is the least likely to reach the milestone, with just seven tallies in 37 games. Mikkel Boedker and Frans Nielsen are on pace for 20+ goals apiece, with 11 goals in 34 contests (Boedker) and 12 goals in 35 appearances (Nielsen, who hit the 20 goal mark once before with 25 goals in 2013-14). 

Then, there’s Jannik Hansen. 

The 29 year old winger has twice hit 16 goals in a single season, but has never quite reached that level of play that 20 goal scorers manage to reach. This season, though, Hansen hit 10 goals ahead of the Christmas break – and his two goals on Saturday night put him on pace for somewhere around 25 or 26 tallies on the year. 

Is that sustainable? Probably not. Nothing in Hansen’s past has suggested that he’ll continue to score at a fast enough clip to be in the top three or four in scoring for Vancouver at any point in his career. 

With both of Vancouver’s goals in tonight’s win, though, it’s worth wondering – exactly how well will Hansen play this year? 

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The Rundown

Edmonton opened up scoring in the first period, with Mark Letestu (yeah, we were surprised too) finding the back of the net on a wrister that was the byproduct of poor puck possession in Vancouver’s zone. 

The game could have gone downhill quickly from there, but the Canucks held on remarkably well. Jannik Hansen scored the equalizer in the second period, and both teams remained at a stalemate until Vancouver bested their divisional rivals in extra minutes.

Jacob Markstrom continued to play an impressive game in Ryan Miller’s absence (if we’re being honest, Markstrom continues to play a more impressive game than Miller, period) and while the Canucks weren’t the offensively dominant team, they kept things from going downhill in the third period despite some ill-timed penalties taken. 

The Oilers have seen some magic from supplementary scorers like Lauri Korpikoski in the extra frame so far this year, but the Canucks turned their overtime luck around with a game winner from none other than Hansen himself. They picked up another marker for the ‘W’ column, and the Pacific Division continued its descent into a closely-fought race of mediocrity and pity points. 

The Stats

chart

We harp on Sven Baertschi a lot, both here at Canucks Army and in the general Canucks Twittersphere. The winger is money in the neutral zone, though; through regulation, he stood out for both teams as a player who understands how to effectively carry the puck into the offensive zone. If his scoring can ultimately hit the point that it was expected to be, there’s a lot to like about his potential longevity as a Canuck.

It’s interesting to look at the shot chart for tonight’s game, though, at least through regulation. The Canucks have historically been a poor third period team, but they went into the final frame and spent the majority of it controlling things offensively. The problem? Those final ten minutes, where Vancouver recorded all of three shots on goal to close out the period. 

Three on three is a different beast, so it’s ill-served to treat the overtime frame as an extension of the game’s possession using comparative stats. The Canucks found the back of the net, though, which they’ve struggled to do in extra minutes this year; that’s an improvement in itself, and that’s all we can ask for. 

Player to Watch

Barely a trade on anyone’s radar at the time, the deal that brought Andrey Pedan to the Canucks in 2014 was a swap of reach prospects with the New York Islanders that didn’t look to be an impact trade at all. 

Just over a year later, though, Pedan has finally found his way onto the blue line for Vancouver – and he looked good. 

A handful of scrapper minutes as a right wing at the start of December saw Pedan make his NHL debut, but the left-shooting defenseman finally got a chance to play his natural position on Saturday night. He played a physical but effective game, using his smarts to his advantage to make up for a slower stride and exercising control when the puck found its way onto his stick. 

Will Pedan ever be a game-changer? Probably not. We aren’t saying he’s the next Alex Edler, by any means. He isn’t even a Ben Hutton – but in a depth role, he’s effective and smart. With guys like Luca Sbisa on the roster and the loss of Frank Corrado still somewhat of a sting, that’s hard to pass up. 

On to the Next Game

Vancouver has one day off before they take on the Los Angeles Kings, who bested the Arizona Coyotes in overtime tonight to pull further ahead in the Pacific Division standings. 

That game is the start of a homestand for the Canucks, who sorely need to see more wins if they want to stay in contention for the post-season. Right now, they’re riding on overtime losses to sit second in the division, but only boast 14 wins overall; both the Coyotes and the Sharks have 16 and 17 wins apiece, respectively. 

For now, though, that’s two in a row. Let’s celebrate. 



  • Canuck4Life20

    Sure there were a couple games played tonight, but the real story, as always, is my legendary career. Yes, 90 points in 442 games, 4 more huge points in the playoffs, and over 500 stitches…

  • Canuck4Life20

    Henrik can’t bend over to take face-offs (much like the Tortorella season where his ironman streak snapped) and he can barely sit on the bench, having to stand the whole game. As much as I appreciate his heart and his desire to lead this team despite no-one else on the team caring, he really needs to take an extended break and let his injury heal.

  • Canuck4Life20

    This was another hard fought, gritty win and it was great to see the Canucks battle it out to get Markstrom another well deserved victory. It’s always fun to beat the Oilers.

    It all starts with the veterans, particularly the Sedins and Hansen, battling through injuries of the own and leading by example on the scoresheet. Vrbata and Edler had good games as well.

    Pedan really played well, looking solid defensively and delivering a few big hits, Biega had another good showing, and Hutton quietly continues to make excellent plays with the puck in his own end.

    It was another good game for Horvat and Baertschi as well and he was unlucky not to extend his goal scoring streak to four games. Vey played decent, but I thought that Kenins looked lost out there. I’m hoping Kenins will head down and we’ll get to see either Shinkaruk, Gaunce, or Grenier for a few more games if the injuries continue.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Thank god we were playing EDM. How are they still such a disaster? The Draisatl line looked decent and I thought Talbot was good and lucky but most of the rest (especially RNH’s line) was terrible. The defense was just awful, especially Nikitin and Fayne.

    The odd opening to this recap I guess is just another paean to the love CA has for Ehlers but you might want to, you know, focus on the game that actually happened, i.e. the weird anti-concussion moves by both teams (though I guess they combined to give us the win), I thought Bartkowski has looked stronger by the game, Horvat was a beast in the face-off dot and had that fantastic dangle by Fayne, his line was great all night, I was pleasantly surprised by how hard Vey battled to get the puck a bunch of times and Edler was great despite playing half the game.

    But what is with keeping Henrik out there? We need to save him from himself. It’s not just that he couldn’t take face-offs, he was noticeably grimacing or unable to stay with the puck. For god’s sakes sit him down if he won’t do it and plug in the other guys.

    Kenins has been really unimpressive since the call-up. If we have the same injuries moving forward I’d call up Jones, Grenier or Gaunce, send down Kenins and sit Henrik. I know he doesn’t seem to want to rest his injury but what the hell?

  • Canuck4Life20

    Let’s play this game again:

    NHL experience (in games) of the defencemen out injured against Edmonton – 1461
    (Hamhuis, Sbisa, Tanev)

    NHL experience (in games) of the defencemen playing against Edmonton – 1079

    Or, to break it down another way:

    NHL experience (in games) of Alex Edler – 604

    NHL experience of the rest of the defence last night – 475
    (Bartkowski, Biega, Hutton, Pedan, Weber)

    Not the preferred way for it to happen but youth is being served on defence.

    And hey, we beat Edmonton. So that’s always fun.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Nice to see players stepping up their game. As a big critic of Yannick Weber, I have to say that is by far the best hockey game I have seen him play. He made several key defensive plays, moved puck out of zone regularly, did nice job on PKU & must have been on ice well over 20 minutes.

  • Ca-nuckle head

    What is the story with all the wingers taking faceoffs? Heard the game on the radio and sounded like Henrik is still injured but wingers were taking draws for others too.

      • Canuck4Life20

        Yeah- it happened on McCann’s line… prob because with the success he’s had, might as well chuck Dorsett in there on occasion… and Cracknell is still injured, so he’s not taking draws, but Vey is a centre (so that might appear like a winger taking a draw). Bottom line: Horvat relied on to win draws.

  • Steampuck

    “We harp on Sven Baertschi a lot, both here at Canucks Army and in the general Canucks Twittersphere. The winger is money in the neutral zone, though; through regulation, he stood out for both teams as a player who understands how to effectively carry the puck into the offensive zone. If his scoring can ultimately hit the point that it was expected to be, there’s a lot to like about his potential longevity as a Canuck.”

    Echoes of David Booth?