How Many Points Will Each Canuck Score in the 2016-17 Season?

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Perry Nelson: USA Today Sports

We’re at a point in the off-season where what you see is what you get with most NHL rosters. That includes the Vancouver Canucks, who in spite of their best efforts have yet to pry that elusive middle six winger from the trade market and don’t seem likely to at any point before the season.

That means we can start to get a sense of how the lineup will shake out and make predictions about individual player production. Now, I haven’t the analytical savvy to come to any sort of conclusions myself, but publications invested in fantasy hockey along with Dom Luszczyszyn are more than capable. And I’m going to lean on their expertise for the purpose of this article and take a gander at what we might expect from the Canucks production wise going into next season.

Forwards

Player Dom THN Dobber Forecast Average
Henrik Sedin 57 55 62 55 57.25
Daniel Sedin 57 59 63 60 59.75
Loui Eriksson 52 52 58 65 56.75
Bo Horvat 43 51 47 53 48.5
Anton Rodin 39 17 36 41 33.25
Jannik Hansen 38 35 38 33 36
Sven Baertschi 36 33 42 46 39.25
Brandon Sutter 35 30 40 34 34.75
Jake Virtanen 27 25 30 30 28
Markus Granlund 24 16 27 30 24.25
Alexandre Burrows 23 22 27 N/A 24
Emerson Etem 23 26 30 20 24.75
Derek Dorsett 21 19 21 17 19.5
Brendan Gaunce N/A 16 35 17 23

Most publications make their point predictions after guessing how many games each player will play. For example, Dobber doesn’t have any Canucks forwards lasting the entire 82 game season. I’ve gone to the liberty of adjusting point totals for every forward to reflect an 82 game season.

The first thing that sticks out is Bo Horvat’s average projected points total of 48.5. Were Horvat to hit that mark, he would be on the fringe of first line production. I was also taken aback by the lofty projections for Anton Rodin. If literally every non-The Hockey News projection holds true, the Canucks have found the second line winger they’ve been chasing and didn’t surrender a single asset for the privilege. 

A few players are in line for a jump in their career highs. Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Jake Virtanen and Emerson Etem are all forecasted to hit career highs in points, assuming an 82 game season. Of that group, Baertschi’s point totals carry the most variability, ranging anywhere from fringe second line player to fringe first line producer.

Hard to believe Hockey Forecaster didn’t even bother with Alex Burrows. Oh, how far he’s fallen. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was a first line fixture alongside the Sedins and producing accordingly. Still, if you’re going to take the time to cover Brendan Gaunce, maybe Burrows is worth the trouble too?

Defencemen

Player Dom THN Dobber Forecast Average
Alexander Edler 31 30 36 36 33.25
Ben Hutton 27 24 31 33 28.75
Christopher Tanev 24 17 27 15 20.75
Nikita Tryamkin 19 10 20 N/A 16.3
Luca Sbisa 16 11 19 N/A 15.3
Erik Gudbranson 16 16 17 22 17.75
Alex Biega 14 9 20 N/A 14.3
Philip Larsen 33 N/A 34 34 33.6
Andrey Pedan N/A 9 12 N/A 10.5

Whereas the Canucks forwards were generally expected to have better seasons than one might reasonably have projected, their teammates on the blue line didn’t fare so well. Which isn’t overly surprising. This club struggled to generate offence from the back-end much of last season and didn’t do an awful lot to address the issue.

They added Philip Larsen at last year’s deadline, and if these numbers are any indicator, that’s going to help a great deal. I spoke to Dom about his methodology for Larsen and Rodin, who come to Vancouver under an unusual set of circumstances, which I imagined would make them difficult players to forecast. Dom put a fair amount of stock into NHLe, which projects Larsen’s last season as a 46 point campaign in a full season of NHL action. That’s likely the driving factor in his high totals.

Conclusion

The range of outcomes for the Canucks season has to be among the largest in the league. If everyone remains healthy and they get lucky as all hell, then yeah, I think they could compete for eighth in the Western Conference. Whether they finish with a playoff spot or not is another story entirely, but I think they can remain competitive to the end.

All it would take, though, is one injury to the wrong player, and I think these projections largely highlight why. Who’s stepping up in Henrik Sedin’s absence should he succumb to injury again? Or age, for that matter. The same is true of the Canucks blue line, where beyond their top pair there are more question marks than answers.

Still, I think these projections offer some level of optimism that otherwise wasn’t there. I’m higher on Rodin than most, and even I didn’t think there was any reason to believe he could produce at a second line level with any certainty. Well, according to those in the know, there is. I also didn’t think Horvat would ever crest 50 points in his career. Here he is on the verge of his third season and projecting to do just that.

Then again, what’s that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? We’ll see how many of these predictions hold true. In the mean time, it sure is fun to wonder. 

Be sure to checkout Dailyfaceoff.com for their projections coming soon and in season updates for all things fantasy Hockey.

  • Bob Long

    Um. If all these predictions come true, Vancouver will, as a team, collect nearly 700 points. Even if every goal gets two assists with it, that’s at least 232 goals next season. Last season, Vancouver scored 191 goals.

    Are we really 40 goals better than last year?

    • Dirty30

      If healthy all year, I’d say that it’s quite possible that we’re significantly better than last year — though it appears these are projections for everyone playing 82 games, which obviously is impossible.

      40 goals better? Probably not. But 20-25 goals more from Eriksson, plus a healthy Sutter, Rodin, Larsen and Gudbranson along with another year of development from Baertschi, Horvat and Virtanen over last year’s version of Vrbata, McCann, Vey, Bartkowski and Hamhuis? I don’t think that’s far-fetched.

    • Dirty30

      The team had two centres, one of whom was an injured Hank.

      There were two healthy D until Tryamkin arrived for the last 13 games.

      Sbisa had a banner season by not playing.

      WD had Vey and Dorsett out in every critical situation.

      Higgins, Prust and Burrows crumbled before our eyes and Vrby just floated past any opportunity to contribute.

      Baer took nearly half the season to figure it out and Etem until the final few games to start scoring.

      So yeah, I think they can score 40 more goals this season.

      It can’t be as bad as last season, and if it is, JB is coming home with a bus load of shiney new centres!

    • Whackanuck

      It is possible:

      +12 Erickson should be 12 goals better than Vrbata’s 13,
      +15 Sutter is probably a 20 goal scorer, over his injured 5,
      +5 Virtanen playing regularly should move up 12 or so,
      +0 Hutton should get more than 1 goal, replaces Hamhuis’ 3,
      +4 Edler, with a better RW on the PP should get 4 more,
      +5 Baertschi, add 5, based on his second half last year,
      +0 Granlund should replace McCann’s 9,
      +0 Gaunce or Mr “?” should replace Cracknell’s 5

      Assuming the rest of the numbers are okay, that’s 41 better.

      I wonder about Rodin and Larsen’s forecast and if Hansen can repeat 20+ goals but there’s probably a couple of guys who will exceed their forecast to compensate. Also the author assumed 82 games played by each forecast player and that’s unlikely so it’s really only a PPG forecast. However, is it likely that the best players will be the ones getting injured again?

    • DJ_44

      I commented on this when similar information was presented for the leafs (thinking that they were apparently going to become an offensive juggernaught).

      However, the big caveat is everyone is prorated for 82 games (which, while it may help the model, does in no way attempt to reconcile predictions with overall team scoring).

      Breaking down the above predictions in the most simplistic way, consider the following:

      Only 18 skaters dress each game, for a total of 1476 man-games. The above totals show so-called 82-game predictions for 23 players or 1886 man-games.

      Further, the NHL average player-points per goal is 2.7.

      So (using the average presented), if we consider the forwards total points of (509/2.7 = 188.5 goals *12/14 (12 forwards per game divided 14 presented) = 161.6 goals.

      Similarly for Defence:

      190.5/2.7 = 70.6 * (6 per game/9 presented) = 47.0

      Total goals for the team predicted ~ 209

      Like I said, any points predictions should start with totals for the team and work back from that.

      Anyway, using similar logic with the predictions for the leafs, they were to score 206 goals (if I recall correctly)……so we got that goin’ for us, which is nice.

      • Dirty30

        Aha! This makes a lot of sense, and looks much more reasonable to me than my 41-new-goals prediction. I can easily believe that the Canucks could score 18 more goals than last year. Though I suppose I could also guess how many assists an average goal gets and pro-rate by that too.

        On the other hand, the people that argue in the abstract about how much more awesome Bo is going to be this year, or what have you, I think are on the wrong track. I mean, 232 goals would be one of the top scoring teams in the league. For instance, the Islanders scored 232 goals last year. Do we really think that the Canucks can score as many goals this year as the Islanders did last year?

    • Dirty30

      there are 14 forwards and 9 defencemen all projected to play 82 games. an actual roster is 18 players

      if you multiply 232 goals by 18/23, it drops down to 182 goals.

      • Whackanuck

        Ooh! Another good point. This suggests that the Canucks will score *fewer* goals next year than last, which sounds … well, to be honest, it sounds depressing.

        But I don’t want to believe that. So I went to sportingcharts.com, and found that the Vancouver Canucks had about 1.7 assists per goal last year, which is not too far off the league average. If we use that to rescale the goals scored for Vancouver based on points, we divide by 2.7 and multiply by 3 to get 202 goals next season. More goals than last year, but not the fairytale 41 being bandied about before.

    • EddyC

      I do believe they are 40 goals better than last year. Ericsson over Verbata should be 15-20 goals.Larssen over Weber is a laugher. Kids will be better. If Rodin can play, add another 10 goals.

  • Dirty30

    Conclusion: THN consistently thinks less of our players than other the publications but they do like Bo Horvat, maybe it’s because his hometown is close to Toronto.

  • Dirty30

    I do not understand why Nucks fan drink the Eastern Canada/Botchford/1040 goofs cool aid that the team can’t score because they are too old and/or suck. The year before, the team scored 236 goals (8th) from relatively healthy team; and last year they scored 186 (29th) when Bartkowski and Biega were in the top 4 and Henrik could not lift his left arm. Yah, the Sedins got older, but the kids are also going to be much better.

    Assuming the team is healthy, the Canucks will surely get the 40 goals they lost to massive injuries, and likely more with the development of Bo, Baer, and JV, and with healthy season from Sutter. Henrik and Daniel have historically been relatively healthy in their careers, and no one will blink an eye if they are in top 20 again in scoring if they are healthy next year.

  • Bob Long

    Hard under on Virtanen and Granlund. If either of those players scores 30 points in a season in their CAREERS, let alone next year, I’ll be stunned. Virtanen is a slow-motion disaster of a draft pick. He’ll finish the season in Utica. Granlund is not an NHL player. This is going to be one of the worst seasons in Canuck history, there’s no doubt in my mind. Kool aid drinkers are counting on players like Brandon Sutter to score goals. Yikes.

  • Bob Long

    The rule of thumb is that three extra goals are worth one point in the standings. So an extra 18 goals (209 vs 191) is good for another six points in the standings. That would put the Canucks at 81 points – pretty definitively out of the playoffs.

    Even an extra 40 goals is only about 13 standings points. That would put the Canucks at 88 – probably in the “close but no cigar” category (although Minnesota made it last year at 87 points) but at least in the conversation.

    So really the question has to be, can the Canucks do a better job keeping the puck out of their own net? I don’t think anyone expects better goaltending next year, so how much better is the Canucks defense?

    If the Canucks can score an extra 18 goals next season, they probably need to reduce their goals against by 20 to 22 goals in order to stay in the playoff conversation. Do we think it’s reasonable to expect that?

    • Dirty30

      Yes — given the age of some players and inexperience of others, likely there will be a stronger, though less exciting, tendency toward one-goal games.

      Markstrom started last season injured so Miller got tired — this year one can plan to ride both hard because they will each play fewer games.

      A better D will help too, in defending and possibly scoring more.

      I don’t expect this team to scare anyone, but they are taking a positive step forward.

  • EddyC

    IT’s to bad you didn’t have goals and assists separated. You should have a contest. With form we fill out that has each player the set up with positions and lines and goals and assists being the variables we can plug in and see who is the most accurate. That would be fun.

  • EddyC

    I did this the other day
    Daniel Sedin 61/28
    Henrik Sedin 55/11
    Jannik Hansen 38/22
    Loui Erikson 63/30
    Sutter 33/21
    Etem 24/14
    Sven 28/13
    Bo 40/16
    Vertanan 28/14
    Rodin 30/20
    Gaunce 10/6
    Burrows 20/10

    They are in the order of the lines I expect them to play. 205 goals. Not including what the D puts in Which was 23 goals last year. Total 228
    That would of been good for 4th in the Pacific Division last year.

  • detox

    Points projections are so ancient. Progressive hockey minds have little interest in surface stats like goals and assists since what really matters are the underlying and deep stats like shot attempts, zone entries, and possession metrics.

    Where are the projections for how far in the red Gudbranson will be for shot attempts or how awesome Baertschi will be at tilting the ice?

    • EddyC

      Here we go again with statistics. What good is a 40-goal scorer if his check scores 50. Zone entries? How about the number of times a stick broke half way through a slapshot during practisie at a friend’s backyard while his buddy was dallying in Mexico with Pancho Villa’s great, great, great granddaughter. OK, its summer … with nothing better to do.

    • Whackanuck

      I assume you jest. When you open the morning paper do you see:
      Canucks Corsi For 47
      Anaheim Corsi For 53

      Few people use analytic data correctly anyway, and a lot of data is fluff and only debatably relevant to winning which is what earns points still.

      • Whackanuck

        The morning paper is for the simple minds.
        Progressive fans demand more than the surface story. I want to see who kicked in whose teeth in the figurative and possession sense of course. I’m completely opposed to violence in hockey like any self-respecting millennial who is a progressive and knowledgeable hockey follower. I don’t want to use the word “fan” because it implies I’m fanatical about hockey. Being labelled fanatical about something other than finding incremental advantages through analyzing large swaths of data in a spreadsheet is contrary to my ethos.