Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting the Canucks Top-10 Scorers

The kids have gone back to school and the NFL started last weekend which means one thing for hockey fans…the NHL is almost back!

We are officially 22 days away from puck-drop on the 2017-18 NHL season and it’s time to look at what you should expect from the Canucks’ top players.

If you are not familiar with me, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the fantasy hockey site DailyFaceoff.com, where I do yearly projections for all players expected to make NHL rosters this fall. My projections hit the web last Tuesday and today we’ll look at who (I think) the Canucks’ top-10 scorers will be during the upcoming season.

1. Daniel Sedin (LW)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 82 15 29 44
2017-18 Projections 82 19 37 56

It’s no secret that Daniel and Henrik’s play is slipping, but Daniel still remains the front runner to lead the team in points in 2017-18. Sedin has not missed a game in three seasons, but is coming off of one of the worst seasons in his career—the 36-year-old recorded 15 goals and 29 assists (44 points).

Entering his 17th NHL season, Daniel’s surrounding cast still isn’t great, but there’s still a chance that the three Swedes (Daniel, Henrik and Loui Eriksson) can re-discover the chemistry that was lacking from opening night last year. Daniel’s 6.9 shooting percentage from last year was the worst of his career, so if it comes back to his career rate of 11.3, he should score at least 20 goals this season.

2. Bo Horvat (C)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 81 20 32 52
2017-18 Projections 82 24 32 56

Horvat is a thick kid that opponents have a tough time taking off of the puck and he used his strong lower-base to get to the crease frequently last season. In his third NHL season, Horvat set career-highs in goals (20), assists (32), points (52) and shots (158).

The 22-year-old looks like the only player who could legitimately challenge the Sedin’s for the team’s point race and if he starts shooting more—tied for 134th in the NHL in shots (134) over the last two years—he could develop into 25-goal, 35-assist player in 2017-18.

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3. Henrik Sedin (C)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 82 15 35 50
2017-18 Projections 77 13 41 54

Henrik never really scored goals, so his 15-goal average over the last three years is no surprise, but he still remains a very good playmaker—he is 15th in the NHL in assists over that same stretch.

His career is certainly on the downswing, but Henrik remains capable of posting 15 goals and 40 assists and being a real force on a Canucks’ power-play that was second worst in the NHL last season—14.1 percent.

4. Brock Boeser (RW)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 9 4 1 5
2017-18 Projections 72 25 27 52

Boeser had a brief nine-game run with the Canucks at the tail-end of last season after posting 34 points (16G / 18A) in 32 games at the University of North Dakota. It was not as impressive as his Freshman year at UND, but the 20-year-old bring bundles of offence to a Canucks team that is starving for goal scorers.

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During his short stay in Vancouver, Boeser was not afraid to shoot the puck, averaging 2.78 shots per game. If you average that out over a full campaign, Boeser would have ranked near the top 30 in shots (228).  If he can continue that pace in his first full campaign, Boeser could be a 20-goal man.

5. Thomas Vanek (LW)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 68 17 31 48
2017-18 Projections 72 18 27 45

Vanek inked a one-year deal with the Red Wings last summer and played very well in Motown, scoring 15 goals with 23 assists (38 points) in 48 games. At the trade deadline he was moved to the Panthers, where he never got comfortable and virtually disappeared offensively.

Vanek isn’t going to help you in your own end of the ice, but he has a fantastic release and can be an asset on the power-play—both things the Canucks are in need of. Vanek went most of the offseason without a contract, but signed on with Vancouver a few weeks ago and should fit in with a veteran group of forwards. On skill alone, Vanek should be able to get near 20 goals with close to 30 assists—a nice signing for the offensive hungry Canucks.

6. Loui Eriksson (RW)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 65 11 13 24
2017-18 Projections 72 19 25 44

Strangely enough, Eriksson went from being one of the most underrated and under appreciated forwards to being one of the most overrated and over paid in a matter of seven or eight years. During his time in Dallas, Eriksson quietly went about his business, rarely missing time and consistently posting 70 points. After a couple of tough years in Boston, he played great in a contract year and the Canucks paid the man only to be sorely disappointed last season.

The Swedish forward was expected to click with the Sedin’s and be a force, but he failed to hit the ground running and never got off of the ground after a sluggish start. The good news is he can’t be worse than he was in his first year in Vancouver, but his days of reliable 30-30 production appear to behind him and 25-25 is a more attainable goal for the 32-year-old.

7. Sam Gagner (RW)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 81 18 32 50
2017-18 Projections 81 16 27 43

Gagner was basically on his way out of the NHL and then a one-year deal in Columbus allowed him to revive his career. On the back of 18 power-play points, Gagner was able to finish 2016-17 with 18 goals and 32 assists (50 points) and landed a three-year, $9.45M deal ($3.15M AAV) in Vancouver this summer.

The real Gagner probably lands somewhere between his disastrous year in Philadelphia and career-year in Columbus. He should help a struggling Canucks’ power-play, but 18 PPP seems a bit unrealistic for the 28-year-old. Look for him to be around 15 goals and 25 assists come season’s end.

8. Sven Baertschi (LW)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 68 18 17 35
2017-18 Projections 70 18 22 40

Baertschi just couldn’t hack it in Calgary, but seems to have found a nice fit in Vancouver. The 24-year-old has collected 33 goals and 30 assists (63 points) in his two full seasons with the Vancouver and seemed really comfortable on Horvat’s wing last year. Look for him to build off of his career-year with a trio of quality wingers (Boeser, Vanek & Gagner) arriving in Vancouver and improving the team’s overall offence.

9. Brandon Sutter (C)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 81 17 17 34
2017-18 Projections 81 20 16 36

After an injury plagued 2015-16 season, Sutter returned with a full bill of health in 2016-17 and only missed one contest en route to a 34-point season (17G / 17A). The Canucks lean heavily on Sutter as a shutdown centre, which limits his offensive upside, but the 28-year-old is a two-time 20-goal scorer and has 20-20 upside in 2017-18.

10. Markus Granlund (C)

Games  Goals Assists  Points 
2016-17 Season Stats 69 19 13 32
2017-18 Projections 72 19 14 33

Markus Granlund has some offensive ability, but nothing like his older broth Mikael, of the Minnesota Wild. The Granlund’s are incredibly creative players, but Markus simply doesn’t have the overall talent to be a regular member of an NHL top-6. He is coming off of the best season of his career—19 goals and 13 assists in 69 games—but he likely doesn’t have too much more to offer in 2017-18. With the arrivals of Boeser, Vanek and Gagner, Granlund will probably find himself slipping down the depth chart.

    • jaybird43

      Most are bounce back, reversion towards the mean. A few more points for a few of the younger players. Typical. Nothing weird to see here people … move along. LOL

    • That's My Point

      The top projected players are only going to get 56 points? TRADE the SEDINS!!! Get some players who can score and get a point a game instead of 0.65 ppg. BRUTAL!!!

      • Eamon

        Agree, if Jagr, one of the greats of all-time can’t get an NHL job despite still putting up better numbers than the twins, these outdated bums should be bought out or asked to retire.

        Seriously, the canucks are going nowhere until the Sedin gong show is put to rest. On any other team they are a fourth line novelty act. Get rid.

  • wojohowitz

    DailyFaceoff? You really want to be associated with dailyfaceoff, the site that brings us the pre game line ups and gets it right maybe once every ten games.

  • apr

    I think all of this will be predicated on how many points we get from the D as well. If Stecher, Hutton, Del Zotto, and Edler can improve their transitions, shots on goals, etc… – then yes, I think those numbers are more than reasonable. If that D group can average about 30 points, then I like the chances.

    • Koolmoedee

      It seems awfully optimistic to expect that group of defencemen to average 30 points considering not one of them hit that mark last season. Edler and Del Zotto last hit 30 points in 2014-15. Stecher and Hutton never have.

      The last time the Canucks had its four top-scoring defencemen average 30 points or better, it was in 2011-12 when they won the President’s Trophy. They didn’t even do that in 2010-11 when they went to the Stanley Cup final.

  • Boeser at 52 pts in 72 games projects out to 59 points over 82 games. So the expectation is for him to be in the Top 50 in goals and points in his rookie season (outpacing Horvat and the Sedins). And he needs to win the Calder too? Is that realistic?

    • truthseeker

      Well…if he’s supposed to be as talented as all the “experts” think then why wouldn’t 20+ goals be achievable? Liane and Matthews each scored over 35 in their rookie years. Is it really that far out of line to think our top goal scoring prospect couldn’t pull off a 20+ goal season? Maybe even up around 30?

      Nothing wrong with hoping for what should be considered a great debut season. Some rookie has to have one right?

      • Winnipeg has vastly superior scorers. When you have Scheifele, Wheeler, Little, Ehlers and Byfuglien, that opens up room on the ice. On Vancouver, the other teams can ignore everyone except Horvat and the Sedins so it’s easier to concentrate your defence on Boeser, if he can sustain last year’s pace.

        • truthseeker

          Sure….which is why I wasn’t predicting 35+ goals for Boeser. I ask again….why isn’t 25 goals an attainable number for Boeser? My argument takes into account what you said. If he were playing on an offensive team I would say he’d be capable of getting over 30.

          He’s considered one of the top contenders for rookie of the year isn’t he?

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I think 20 goals for Sutter is a little farfetched. He managed it early in his career with the Canes and then 3 years ago playing behind Crosby and Malkin. He hit 17 goals last year getting primo ice time including 1st unit power play time (where he sucked, but potted more than he would have without it). This year he’s been pushed down the depth chart on the PP and probably at even strength. I’d be happy if he could get 15.

  • Jabs

    Does this dude watch the Canucks or is he just throwing crap at the wall and seeing what will stick. Big underestimation of Granlund. He was an exciting player last year and is capable of 20-30 goals in a full season and 50-60 points this year imo.

  • Doodly Doot

    Cool, Brock Seguin of Windsor, ON is Senior Analytics Director for Belle River Midget Minor AA. Tie Domi came out of that system! Soooo, how did Brock Seguin acquire his valuable insight into the Canucks Top 10 scorers this year? Yikes Army! Again, c’mon, you can do better.

  • Tennyson Woodcock

    That’s 191 goals from 10 players. Add in the others, and well…I gotta doubt it. Any one of those players may have that type of season. Not each of them. Simply not enough ice to go around, and someone’s gonna get injured. Looking at their previous season, it seems reasonable. The Boeser projection makes us a playoff team. And I truly believe Eriksson will find his way. Let’s hope your right, it will be a very entertaining season if it pans out that way.

  • Cageyvet

    I think this is asking too much of Boeser and underestimates the potential of Baertschi and especially Granlund. Gagner and Vanek could conceivably post those numbers with top unit power play time. I agree with the rest of you overall, there’s zero chance these all pan out. Can’t be worse than last year, though!

    • truthseeker

      I don’t. The kid is supposed to be a rookie of the year candidate/potential. 25 goals is a totally reasonable expectation. Since 2010 only one calder winner (forward) didn’t score more than 20 goals. 25 is not out of line for a potential calder winner.

      I think people are being a little to conservative with their expectations.

      Kid is a goal scorer. I mean…his pace in an admittedly limited 9 games, means 36 goals over an entire year. (on an a worse team wouldn’t you say?). Even with factoring in an 82 game “grind” and tiredness..etc….is over 20 really asking too much?

  • canuckfan

    The past three years under Willy Canucks played defense including on the power play, which is why I think they will improve at least with their offensive output. We will see if going for it will work with the players Canucks have, which I believe will. They have to push the play rather than backup constantly defending. If we are going to be exciting we will need to score watching a 60 minute defense is not pretty.
    Puck possession is the best defense pushing the play and it will be up to our goalies to stop the puck when the other team catches us on the transition.

    • Gerald Diduck

      Two points. First there is no clear first line, so i would expect us to roll four lines evening out the minutes (sound familar). Secondly, no one really knows what system or style Green will employ yet, but from what i have read – wait for it – he is very similar to Willie D…

      • DJ_44

        Don’t know where you heard that. This is not what they have been working on my n camp.

        Want to play an up tempo north south game. That does not sound like Willie.

        Maybe it is from the Twitter douches out of Surrey….anything that does not fit their warped view of hockey or management is labeled as fake. Go watch and make your own decisions.