Photo Credit: Dom Gagne - USA TODAY Sports

Reflecting on the Canucks Recent Run of Injuries

The Canucks received a bit of good news on Monday, as further examination of his foot injury suffered by blocking a Mark Giordano shot in Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames isn’t going to keep him out of the lineup long-term.

Most feared, rightly, that Boeser had broken his foot. A video surfaced showing the trainer telling Canucks head coach Travis Green that Boeser “couldn’t put any weight on [his foot]” or so it seemed. Boeser didn’t return to the game and was spotted with a pair of crutches.

All signs pointed to a break or a fracture and a long-term absence from the lineup. Instead, it’s just a bone contusion, and per Canucks general manager Jim Benning, it’s more of a day-to-day ailment than a week-to-week type of injury.

For now, though, Boeser being on the shelf alongside Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi means the Canucks are without their entire first-line. Add the fact that Green’s favourite match-up pair, Brandon Sutter and Derek Dorsett have been out since about mid-November, and only one of them is expected to return to the lineup, though when that happens is uncertain.

And what of the blue line? It’s no better. Chris Tanev is nursing a groin strain and is out for another two weeks in all likelihood, and Erik Gudbranson’s been on the shelf since about early-November with an upper-body injury of his own.

In essence, the Canucks are without all their most relied upon players to score goals and to keep goals from their own net.

The Canucks as a team have scored 88 goals this season, the 22nd most in the NHL. They’re currently missing the players responsible for more than half of them (46 goals, to be exact). And they don’t have their lowest goals against per hour player (Gudbranson) either.

Fortunately, there’s a website that tracks the impact of injuries on teams from every major sports league, including the NHL. It’s called ManGamesLost (warning, there is a paywall) and they go into major detail.

In their own words, “The Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres have faced the greatest cumulative impact of injured forwards or defensemen by the IIT-skater metric.” The Canucks currently sport a 944.70 mark by that metric, good (or bad?) for first in the entire NHL by a margin of over 20 points.

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ManGamesLost describes IIT as:

IIT (Injury Impact to Team) used to be called TMITT (Time Missed Impact To Team), which frankly was too many letters for some people to handle. Yes, it’s true. So, TMITT was renamed IIT.

IIT is a single-value metric that attempts to quantify the impact of a player not playing for their team due to injury.

Looking strictly at man-games lost, the Canucks are eighth in the league, which isn’t exactly encouraging, but does paint things in a less bleak light, depending on your perspective.

For the Canucks, who lack star power and significant depth behind it, losing their one line that’s been consistently productive offensively is more devastating relative to how other teams would cope with this.

In the nine games the Canucks have played since losing Horvat alone, they’ve scored more than two goals once. They’re averaging 1.5 goals a game in that span. Meanwhile, they’re surrendering six goals a game. Their penalty kill hasn’t blanked the opposition even once since that December 5th game against the Carolina Hurricanes, either.

It’s an ugly way for a season that at one time had so much promise (all things being relative here) to go into the dumps. But what are the Canucks to do? Sometimes, the injury bug hits and keeps hitting, and you just have to roll with the punches.

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The good news is, Benning doesn’t seem wont to part with picks or young players to find a quick fix. That news should be especially comforting to Canucks fans in light of the recent news that the Canucks are in the mix for a top-nine forward.

And hell, maybe this is the opportunity that players like Nikolay Goldobin and Reid Boucher need to cement themselves as full-time NHL’ers. I’m sure they aren’t too thrilled about the circumstances that have facilitated their return trip to the NHL, but now it’s up to them to make the most of it.

It could be worse, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment. Then again, that’s not something Canucks fans need to hear, is it?

  • Dirk22

    “But I’m not trading any of our young players or giving away draft picks, because that’s the future of the organization.” – Benning.


    Better late than never I guess. He should have said this in the Spring of 2014 when he was hired. Instead we gor, “I like this team – I like the core players. This is a team we can turn around in a hurry.”

    • I definitely think the direction the team took in the first couple years under Benning was… misguided, and definitely caused this rebuild to take longer than it should have, but it seems pretty clear that Benning (and Gillis over his last two years, as well) was given impossible orders from ownership – rebuild without missing the playoffs.

      • Dirk22

        Could have been ownership for sure….don’t know how much they actually do/did meddle and probably will never unless we get a tell all from Gillis, or Benning /Linden when they’re through. Or we get a little player revelation like Turris did on Melnyk.

    • North Van Halen

      What seems to get lost in these conversations about lost draft picks & prospects is the 2 facts this site always avoids.
      First, when Benning came along the Sedins just signed shiny new 4 year deals. Tanking wasnt possible, and the 101 point season made it almost impossible to do again.
      Second, (and PQW or Wise Canuck or whatever your nom de plume today is this is not meant as a slight on Gillis just a fact) there was a massive dearth of NHL quality players between 20 – 27. Most of his moves were to improve the depth in this area so when the new crop came there weren’t going to be thrown in. With the addition of Granlund, Sutter, Gudbranson, Baertschi, Stetcher & the emergence of Horvat & Hutton, he can now concentrate on building below.
      You can question the moves or the deals but why he did it was clear.

      • The problem with this argument is that in Benning’s first three years, they had one playoff appearance and two bottom-3 finishes. They ended up tanking anyway, unintentionally. Had they done so intentionally, Benning could have hung on to his draft picks, hung on to some of prospects they gave up on, and leveraged cap space to take on bad contracts in exchange for additional picks and prospects.

        • North Van Halen

          the 1 playoff appearance was the 1st year. The 1st year of the Sedin contract. The moment ink dried on those contracts, year 1 HAD to be about giving them the best chance to suceed possible. Rightly or worngly the 101 point season caused them to do it again.
          But show me one time after year 1 where a draft choice was moved for a player over 26 (besides the payment ot lose Kassian).
          Again you can argue the reasoning and the results but almost every trade or prospect given was to secure assets in the 20 – 26 the team needed desperately.

        • Canuck4Life20

          Benning clearly had a strategy to bring in players in the 22-25 age range who were ready to play in the NHL. The biggest difficulty with that strategy is that the only players available in that range are either not turning into what the teams that drafted them hoped they would be but still costly to acquire (Sutter, Gudbranson) because of their age and remaining potential or players that have fallen out favour with their organization (Vey, Baertschi, Pouliout, Granlund). The top tier players in that age range are simply not available or come at a very high cost of futures, which Benning did not have available to him with the cupboards being left so bare.

          • North Van Halen

            I’m not a bling worshipper ala Bud, love his positivity but I’m more of a realist. You can check my comments from his first year, (Wise Canuck/PQW/whoever you are if you’re bored you can go back and quote mr too). This was a 5 year undertaking and I’ll reserve my judgement until the totality of what he’s done is on display. I’ve liked some moves, disliked others but he’s defintiely built the prospect pipeline better than it’s ever been so I’ll give him a bit more time before I trash him.

        • beers after

          Loss of draft picks over four drafts?
          The second for Baertschi?
          The third for Pedan or Dorsett?
          The Gudbranson second that will bring a return?
          The third for Dorsett?
          Vey was a seecond rounder but the young man is talented.
          Benning has received 10 draft picks.
          Benning has given up 12 draft picks.
          Vey,Dorsett,Bonino,Etem,Sutter,Sbisa,Acton,Pedan,Clendenning,Baertschi,Conacher,Prust,Granlund,Larsen,Dahlen,Goldolbin and Pouliot-17 player trades resulting in a GRANDE TOTAL of two lost draft picks.

          • Canuck4Life20

            And this is the one account that anyone with basic reading comprehension can see has the same style of writing as Bud Poile. It’s a shame that the multi troll is too thick to figure it out.

          • Chuckey

            Everyone knows the ‘beers after’ persona is a Bud Poile account after he laughably gave himself away posting this obscurity in the same thread minutes apart…

            “his new Chuckey Dud act.”. – Bud Poile
            “Chuckey Dud the douche.” – beers after

            That was a lazy effort, but this clown changes his style slightly on other accounts giving himself away by being the only CA user to use obscure words like this…

            “with his douchebaggery” – Bud Poile
            “Your douchebaggery isn’t fooling” – Green Bastard
            “Second paragraph douchebaggery” – Locust

            “Somebody needs a snickers” – Locust
            “Speaking of bums – where’s my Snickers bar?” – Bud Poile

            So don’t be a mug… he is all over this place trolling every day under numerous ids, and as pointed out by wojo has to be a JD plant, otherwise his ip would’ve been banned ages ago.

            This loser is a cancer to the site above all others. As you will soon see with over ten markdowns to follow..

        • Silverback

          Goon…Don’t you think that is “hindsight managerial acumen”? It’s easy to look at the result, and reverse order the decision making process and come up a genius.

        • bobdaley44

          Hung on to what prospects? Shinkaruk? Mcann? What did he give up and what did he get back? The guy got Granlund and Baertschi for Shinkaruk and a second rounder. Nice to keep the extra picks but you gotta give up something to get something and when you don’t have any 22-27 year old in their prime players you need to acquire some and give up a few picks. Bennings done a great job and proven the haters wrong. Look at the Boeser pick. Late first round pick gem and everybody on this site were on him for not taking Pasternak. Who’d you rather have?

      • Dirk22


        Firstly, don’t accuse others of posting under multiple accounts. That’s the second time this week I’ve been given one of these multi-account tags as if I’m posting under more than one name. We know some people do it. We know there are trolls on here who accuse others of doing it. Don’t be one of those people and don’t play the game the trolls want you to play. It’s immature and takes away from any decent discussion on here. It’s also pretty ironic seeing as though that was the MO of the original troll on here.

        Secondly, your argument is tired and stale and I’m both questioning the moves and why he did it. Spending picks and prospects to protect the youngsters from losing, only to be as bad as they have been the last two years was a massive misstep. If he needs space fillers, hit up free agency, waivers for guys who can play for 1,2,3 years…a Gagner, Burmistrov contract for instance. What difference does it make? They were terrible anyway. Even if they were better, (say 10th overall in the conference) that would have actually put the franchise in a worse situation – we’re lucky the moves he made at the expense of young players did NOT work out – it’s absurd. Think about what your saying – a GM inherits an older team devoid of prospects and instead of focusing on getting as many prospects as he can, he instead chooses to get players as ‘insulation.’ I’ll just take the prospects, thanks.

        • Canuck4Life20

          I didn’t think his comment about multiple accounts was directed at you, more just a preamble for whatever name the troll is posting under today. At least that’s how I read it.

        • beers after

          There’s always been one troll here with JD’s blessing.
          Nice try.
          As for your theory at running franchise,it’s infinitely easier to criticise than operate,especially when it’s not your money or career in question.

        • North Van Halen

          Son, I never accused you of being PQW, I just know anyone that that defends Benning in any way gets a dose of Gillis love from whatever his name is today. That was a pre-emptive comment, so don’t get your knickers in a knot.
          So answer this one question. After the Sedins signed those contracts, do you think you could have sold this collect draft picks and not make a run theory you have to A) Aquillini B) Corporate Sponsors C) Season Ticket Holders or D) the Sedins or E) None of the Above, What’s right and what’s reality are 2 different conversations. That’s always been my arguement, not what the right thing was but what was done considering the REALITY of the situation.
          I agree starting the asset accumulation was the right thing to do but my there’s no way it could have happened this way.

          • KCasey

            I think the reality of what most people miss when it comes to a rebuild isnt purely about what it says to players like the Sedins or other vets here on our team but what is percieved by the rest of the NHL. What does it look like when the Sedins sign that new contract and Benning comes in and say something to the tune of ‘oh ya thats awesome you got another contract and you both have an amazing legacy here but I wanna move on from you both ASAP and we will take pennies on the dollar to recoup any value back from you, thanks for every but see ya later’. Do you think the Sedins A) Wanna play ball and void their NTC and B) Go into the next locker room/organization and tell everyone how great a GM Benning is and they loved they way there were ushered out of the organization. Word spreads folks, that can be a blessing or a curse. Your job as an owner and GM should be to build a franchise and its image, not just simply a team. Good teams fade. Good franchises and their recognition among the league can last generations. Should a rebuild have started a year or two early, sure we can have a decent debate on that. The reality is there is more at stake than just simply collecting prospects and deciding that is the be all end all of what makes a professional organization. It doesnt.

        • defenceman factory

          And Dirk I apologize again for a poorly worded response to a Chuckey post where I seemed to imply you were posting under multiple names.

          I don’t apologize for hoping Benning’s contract gets renewed so Chuckey’s head explodes.

          • Dirk22

            Fair enough – misread both your comments. Appreciate the explanation. Now back to what was being said, NVH.
            A) if you sold it to the owners by telling him this is the best way back to a competitive team, which in turn leads to better business. Attendance over the last couple of years has dropped and it probably would have too if they went full rebuild right away but the horizon at this point could have been both greener and closer. Someone with vision could clearly outline that for successful business men like the Aquilinis. B) Same as A C) tickets have taken a nose dive anyways. People want hope and are smarter than buying the garbage they’re trying to sell from 2014-2016. D) as great as the Sedins have been for the franchise, you can’t make decisions simply to appease two players – sorry that’s just not a smart way to build a team. I’m sure every player on the Canucks right now would be thrilled to get some players to help them for prospects such as EP and OJ. That doesn’t make it the smart thing to do.

            So whoever it is to blame, I don’t really care. Aquilini, Gillis, Benning, Linden – it was stupid both from a financial standpoint and a hockey one.

          • North Van Halen

            Gonna agree to disagree on this one. Francesco wasn’t going to give the Sedins $56mil to be good leaders of a rebuild. No chance. Also, I’m sure the Sedins were promised when they signed those ontracts the intent was to compete. If the intent was rebuild, I’m sure the Sedins would have signed elsewhere. So now your not only asking Aquillini to essentially eat $56 mil, you’re asking him to break his word to the Sedins and to screw over the 2 more important players in franchise history.
            Again, although the rebuild should have started then, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that was a realistic option for Benning, Judging his first 2 years this has to be accounted for, anything else just isnt being honest with the situation.

        • truthseeker

          Just shows how stupid you are. What he’s saying is exactly what I’ve been saying in posts on this site since I joined.

          So one more time…..go f….k yourself hollywood

          • truthseeker

            Only scum like you who go around throwing unsupported accusations about who you think people are.

            Why should I show you any respect when the very first response to me was insulting me and claiming I was using different user names?

            I don’t suffer fools like you. You want to throw insults and then you whine like a little baby when they come back at you. Typical bully behavior. Well I bully bullies.

            So again. Go f…k yourself.

  • TD

    Two things I don’t understand with this article as written by JD considering his outspoken dislike for Gudbranson. First, how can JD trash Gudbranson as not deserving to be in the lineup and then point out how badly his injury hurts the team. Second, where was the stat that Gudbranson has the lowest goals against per hour on the team when JD quotes the stats of how bad he is. From that stat, Gudbranson looks like a valuable defence man.

    • Holly Wood

      And yet JD believes Gudbranson is worth a first round pick plus a prospect. You are not the only one that doesn’t understand JD’s assessment of Gudbranson.

      • J.D. Burke

        You either misunderstand what I said or are willfully representing an untrue version of what I’ve said. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s the former of those two. Anyway, it’s not about what I think Gudbranson is worth. I’d have a hard time surrendering a sixth-round pick for Gudbranson, truthfully. But it’s about what the market will bear. And the market like bears far more than that, for better or worse.

        • Holly Wood

          Thanks for clearing up your view a second time. My opinion on Gudbranson s value sits somewhere in between 1st rounder plus a pick(unlikely to happen) and a 5th or 6th. The backbone he provides is immeasurable particularly at playoff time when the whistle disappears. Although I disagree with your opinion on Gudbranson s value, I appreciate your commenting on this subject .

    • J.D. Burke

      That’s not a fair representation of my analysis. Firstly, I have nothing against Gudbranson. He seems like an excellent person, by all accounts.
      In fairness to Gudbranson and the coach’s usage of him, I brought up his low goals against statistic. Shot attempts and expected goals are far more predictive of future goals for or against though so that’s why I wouldn’t play him if the call was mine. And even with the fewest goals against per hour, the Canucks produce so little offensively, that his goal differential isn’t that great, and that’s with a bit of luck and variance boosting it.

      • TD

        JD, my point was this. You have written a lot of articles about how Gudbranson should not be in the line-up as the other defencemen are better. You have cited stats to back up your argument. In this article, you talk about how the significant injuries have affected the team. One of these significant injuries you mentioned was to Gudbranson who you think shouldn’t play even when healthy (other than to increase his trade value). Then, for the first time I can remember reading, you cite a new stat that you never referred to when talking about how bad Gudbranson is, that shows Gudbranson excels in at least one statistical category. I would also say preventing goals is a very important stat for Defensemen. I get that the team may struggle to score with him, but so does the other team. My point was you seem inconsistent saying he shouldn’t play in some articles and then writing about how his injury is contributing to the problem now. My point is the inconsistency.

        I like the statistical analysis and what it may bring both now and in the future. My problem with it is that I believe it is in its infancy and doesn’t yet see the whole picture. You call things luck and speak down to those that don’t see it the same way. I am not sold on Gudbranson, but can see things he does that prevents goals and/or makes scoring chances less dangerous. Gudbranson removes people from the front of the net allowing goalies to make easier saves. That’s not luck or random, it’s a skill that he does well that isn’t measured by the current statistical models. Think of the tying goal that deflected off Biega’s skate the other night. If the larger Gudbranson had removed the player and himself from the front of the net, that goal does not go in and the Canucks win in regulation and prevent an opponent from gaining a point.

        I’m getting side tracked though. I thought you were very classy handling Dorsett after his career ended. You didn’t think he was a good player and probably think the Canucks are better off without him. This is different. You normally use certain stats to prove Gudbranson is bad. Now you were using different stats to say the Canucks miss him. It lacks consistency and therefore credibility.

      • Holly Wood

        The puck is not Guddy’s friend, but nobody wants to be in front when he is on the ice. Can’t measure that with analystics. It takes a lot of balls to go to the net……you know the greasy area where goals are scored.

        • Dirk22

          ………meanwhile Montreal scores two goals that period as a result of going to the net when Gudbranson was on. Backdoor tip from Deslauriers and pp goal with Shaw screening. Think you can measure that.

          • Holly Wood

            Pouliot had the puck carrier, Guddy took the guy in the middle, Daniel missed the scorer is the way I read that one. Would have been nice if Jake, Henrik or Daniel could have done a little more when (Petry? maybe) dangled past each of them. Also would have helped if Gaunce wins that draw. Let’s not forget it’s a team game, lots of blame to go around

          • bobdaley44

            Where was he supposed to go on that play? It was essentially a two on one with the puck carrier walking right in. It’s the back pressure that was the problem. Gotta be a third guy down low there.

          • Dirk22

            ..and again I’m not talking about positioning or who’s to blame for the goal. I’m simply pointing out that the hockeyism of ‘he makes it tough to go to the net’ is complete rubbish in most situations. You have three goals scored..all with Gudbranson on…all with players at the net.

          • TD

            It may not be measurable with the current analytics and that’s part of the problem.

            My point was not to say Gudbranson is good or bad, it was that I was shocked to see JD say the Canucks missed Gudbranson after he has consistently said he is not good and shouldn’t be in the lineup when the team is healthy. Lots of people both agree and disagree with him. Today he went the opposite way and said Gudbranson’s injury was hurting the Canucks and used a stat to back up his argument. People often talk about how you can find a stat to support any argument and that appears to have been demonstrated by JD today.

  • Wise Canuck

    For whatever reason, the Canucks have always suffered injury problems but under the astute Gillis/Gilman regime we always found a way to overcome it with solid depth throughout the glory years. Benning has had four years to add to this but after inheriting a 101 point NHL team and a Calder Cup finalist farm team, the whole franchise has gone backwards, as the standings and no playoff failures have proven.

    The team was crying out for NHL ready talent from the draft and the picks were there for the taking… players like Larkin, Sergachev, Tkachuk, Ehlers, Nylander, Tuch and Keller were ALL passed on and that has cost us dearly as we are now seeing with yet another injury crisis that finds the likes of Chaput, Boucher and Sautner called up to ‘replace’ Boeser, Horvat and Tanev… HELLO.

    Benning must pay for this ineptitude with his job and anyone who cannot see this is either a complete idiot or a troll… or both. The facts simply DO NOT lie. Do they?

      • Wide Awake in Ubud

        Still waiting for an explanation on these DUD comments from you fella…

        “Juolevi, Gaudette, Brisebois, Rodin, McEneny, Demko and Subban will all push for jobs this season and Green has the mandate to integrate them.” – Bud Poile

        “Over working veterans and risking injuries has now passed with Willie D moving on”. – Bud Poile

        “The Canucks won’t do anything until they get a QB on the PP” – Bud Poile

        Explain then go back to CDC with the rest of the windowlickers fella, because as in life, the game has passed you by.

  • Burnabybob

    I never thought the Canucks were a playoff team, and always saw this as another rebuilding year. Every good game they play is gravy,

    I just hope Goldobin, Virtanen, Stecher, Hutton and others can take another step forward.

  • Rodeobill

    All acts point to wanting a renovate rather than tank/rebuild until this last year or so, and from ownership’s perspective it makes sense. The greatest maximize whatever profit is left to gain from the last years of the 2 greatest Canucks in history a short time after they were arguably the reigning best team in the league for a stretch of years (and fan interest is still high) and see if you can transition the core while remaining exciting enough to sell seats. Didn’t work out, losing gamble, fans cry for a rebuild, now we get it. I hope JB gets at least a few more years contract to see the plan through. It’s working, we just need a little patience.

  • Wise Canuck

    … and let the whining for no post-game commence… wah wah wah “I want my MTV and I want my CA post-game” wahhhh.

    It was another pathetic loss with 7 goals against. end of… great to see Guddy back ‘protecting’ the net and ‘putting fear’ into the opposition though, yeah.

  • Fred-65

    After choosing Gudbranson over Hutton for last nights game any one has to ask how come Gudbranson literally sat for the third period. The good news for EG is modern rinks use glass around the boards.
    After moving Gaunce to centre ( he was darfted as a centre) Green apparently over looked the fact that Gaunces F/O percentage is probably the worse of all the centres and yet put him out for a crucial F/O in his own end on the PK. Gaunce was schooled it was like a drill for Mtl just like they draw it up on the board. The little details count and both Gaunce and Green failed the test IMO.

    Once Nilsson goes down you need a crane to get him up again