Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

WWYDW: The Canucks Need a Save

These are trying times in Canucks-land. The Canucks took what their head coach described as a step forward last night, in a loss to the Montreal Canadiens in which they surrendered seven goals. And if you watched the game or looked at the underlying data, you’d find that it isn’t such a far-fetched notion.

Sure, the Habs scored seven goals, but Corsica.Hockey’s expected goal model suggests they should have barely potted two in all situations play last night. The obvious inference then is that the Canucks just needed a save. That’s been a running theme of late. Neither one of Jacob Markstrom or Anders Nilsson seems interested in taking the starting job and running with it. Both have had a hand in helping the Canucks surrender an average of over five goals a game in their last seven, and are both on their way to sub-league average save percentages. It’s getting ugly.

Canucks head coach Travis Green doesn’t have an obvious answer to this problem, and his options aren’t plentiful. I certainly wouldn’t want to throw Thatcher Demko into this mess, and I bet the Canucks share that sentiment up and down the organization. For better or worse, Green has to find a way to make it work with Markstrom and Nilsson. At least, that’s what I think.

What about you?! What do you think the Canucks best course of action is to fix their goaltending woes before this season veers into disrepair if it’s not already at that point.

Last week I askedAssuming you can only play three of Burmistrov, Dowd, Chaput or Goldobin, who do you play and where do you play them in the Canucks lineup? Or, alternatively, do you look to the Utica Comets for reinforcements. Hell, if you want to get really creative, Ryan Carpenter is on waivers today, so that’s an option, too.

Rusty bucket:

I thought Chaput played better against Calgary then he did against Winnipeg, but so did most players. I’d leave him with Jake and Brenden as the fourth line. Dowd as 13th forward because has not come as advertised. Poor in the dot, taking penalties, crushed in possession stats, but albeit only two games with a new team…



Boucher and Goldobin had some success in Utica, so call him up, and put Granlund on that line.

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Sit Gagner and his three year contract.

Send Dowd to the pressbox or Utica. He will clear waivers.


Other than your fourth line, you have a decent balance of vets with younger players.

The fourth line should be let loose to find their game. Sure, might be a gong show, might be something interesting.

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Watching Gagner out there makes me nostalgic for the Linden ‘double-shift’ Vey glory days … isn’t Mason ’20 goals a season’ Raymond available? Right now I’d offer Kyle Wellwood a Mats Sundin contract just to keep Gagner off the ice!


For sure, I’d play Burmitsov in a top 6 role and hopefully he proves something so he can fetch a 4th round pick that we gave up for Pouliot. The same thing can be said for Dowd if he plays like he did last year and become flappable. Clearly, there is no market for Chaput. And I am a firm believer if that Green says Goldobin is not ready – then he is not ready. My gawd, its like this market has not learned a thing with throwing McCann and Jake out there for the sake of seeing them out there when they were clearly not ready.

defenceman factory:

Any way you slice it, it’s gonna be thin. I’m encouraged Canucks haven’t made significant moves to stay in the playoff hunt.
Vanek Granlund Eriksson
Sedin Sedin Boeser
Goldy Granlund Virtanen
Burmistrov Chaput Gagner

Dowd to the press box. When Sutter returns Chaput back to Utica. Gotta get Goldy figured out. He needs to play so if he isn’t ready get him back to Utica as soon as possible.

  • Markstrom and Nilsson both started the season strong, and have had bad stretches recently. I don’t think it’s too much to expect them both to return to roughly league-average over the longer term.

    What’s causing consternation is that they’ve both hit a rough patch at the same time, which is just bad luck. If Markstrom had been struggling and Nilsson had been playing well, or vice-versa, we wouldn’t be talking about this.

    They’re both competent goalies and they’ll both return to form. No need to freak out and ship one of them off for nothing, call up Demko before he’s ready, and cause a real mess.

  • Mathematically, the Canucks are now apparently at a 1% shot of making the playoffs. So I don’t think shoring up the goaltending should really matter all that much for this season, and certainly wouldn’t be worth surrendering any assets. Both guys have looked stellar at times this year – I think these blowouts have more to do with team weakness in their current battered state than they do goaltending as such.

  • Locust

    Decent effort from a totally depleted lineup.
    I don’t blame the goalies as much as the five skaters that are giving away open uncontested shots as well as breakouts with speed. Semi breakaways and two on ones with speed are really tough for goalies. The shootouts are much easier to handle as there is no pass/rebound opportunity.
    We got hammered by injuries, that’s the way it is. Under the circumstances, scoring 5 is amazing.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I think the Canucks missed having Hutton and Tanev take the puck out of their end zone. The Canucks defense were turn-stiled too often. That said, Nillson let in a lot of garbage goals that game that should not have gone in. I’m talking about all those point shots that had no business of going in. Canucks should have won that game but could not get a timely save at all. I would put Hutton back in and sit Del Zotto, and play Gubrandson until he can be traded.

    • J.D. Burke

      There is one on the way, fret not. On a lot of Nation Networks blogs, you don’t get one until the next day, so bear with me here, we’re usually ahead of the curve. Should be live by about noon.

  • NeverWas

    Canucks score 5 goals but let in 7 plus Boeser comes back after that scare and beats price clean with 1 foot. Plus vanek hat trick. There’s so much to talk about… Where is the post game?!?!? This is the 2nd time!!

  • Holly Wood

    I wouldn’t bring Thatcher up until next year. Markstrom and Nilsson have both shown to be capable when the roster has been healthy so It’s a little unfair to throw them under the bus at this time. The one problem they both seem to own is the early goal. Off the top of my head maybe 4-6 times so far. That suggests more mental than physical. Maybe their preparation needs to be overhauled. Goalies can be quirky at the best of times, especially when things are going bad. Nilsson had a good stretch when he was distracted when his wife had the baby, so he routine, prep etc was different that normal. Maybe not announcing the starter until 3 hours before game time would work for at least one of them. Most of us over think a lot of things so give it a shot, got nothing to lose by trying it.

  • ned

    Im not usually an advocate for tanking, but I feel like we should trade some of our better vets for futures and just continue to tank for a high draft pick, because I think this team can contend in 2 more years when we have Petterson, Dahlen, Gaudette, Juolevi, ect. on the team, maybe even Tryamkin too.
    So I am on Team tank if we’re not going to make the playoffs which seems highly unlikely at this point, so trade Tanev, Edler, Sutter, Guddy and whoever else and make sure we come in 28th or worse this year and hopefully we won’t have so many injuries next year.

    • bobdaley44

      You realize theres a draft lottery? You think tanking and creating a losing culture is a good idea? So we should lose so we get a 5% better chance of getting a higher pick but we ‘re gonna pass this losing culture on to our young players who’ve never had to earn their ice time. Thats a recipe for success. Edmonton Oiler blueprint. Bring it on. Lets trade all those guys you’ve mentioned and see where this goes.

        • Bud Poile

          Chicago and T.O.,both original 6 teams had ZERO financial issues associated with DECADES of tanking and losing.
          Pittsburgh came within two Mario Lemieux miracles from bankruptcy.
          Not one of these team’s epic failures are a “blueprint” for reality,let alone success.

          • jaybird43

            Plus Pittsburg was helped enormously by getting to draft Malkin and then Crosby. That type of lucky sequence is only going to happen very very rarely. Especially since the NHL has made tanking less and less determinative of getting the crucial #1 pick.

        • The issue is depth. Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Toronto post-Nonis all knew it wasn’t enough to just get a high pick – you have to get lots of picks and hit on a number of them, and make smart moves to acquire depth. Edmonton and Buffalo took the route of “just be bad year after year and get three or four top-end players” and failed at surrounding those players with complementary pieces.

          Like it or not, the Canucks have been bad the past few years, and are probably going to be near the bottom of the league again this year (though there is *no way* they’re finishing below Arizona or Buffalo). If “losing culture” is a thing, Vancouver’s getting it regardless.

        • bobdaley44

          You mean these teams didn’t have lottery luck? Let me see Kane, Toews, Crosby, Marner, Mathews, Malkin all gains from tanking? You play to win and deal with the hand thats dealt and draft smart. If you’re not playing to win get out of the game.

        • jaybird43

          And let’s point out it also hasn’t worked either quickly or well for: Arizona, Colorado, Philly, Florida Canes, and maybe a few others. High picks of itself won’t solve a teams issues if they don’t also draft well, steal some players in trades, fill holes with some value guys, and develop their prospects. So, because the Canucks appear to be doing most of those things well, I think hope is reasonably placed. They’ve got some serious short term injuries, so the team results are gonna suck for a while. Stay with the plan …

    • What about next year and beyond? We still need to field a competitive team so trading away non-pending UFA’s like Tanev or Sutter doesn’t make sense. Otherwise we’re throwing blue-chip players like Horvat and Boeser under the bus and wasting their prime years. We can look to trade vets like Tanev and Sutter as their contracts come close to expiry and prospects like Gaudette and Juolevi can take their place.

  • The blowouts are a function of the team strategy. Green is having his team play a high-risk/reward aggressive game which means odd man rushes. Since the Canucks are mostly comprised of bottom 6 / AHL players who can’t score, I’m not surprised at the results. But then again, the alternative is to play a boring, destined-to-lose-anyways defensive game – I’m glad we’re not seeing that. Doesn’t help that Nilsson gives up a 50 footer or Boucher flubs the 6-on-5 at the offensive blue line but stuff happens. When we get regulars like Horvat/Baertschi/Sutter back this season and start injecting more Top 6 scoring talent over the next 2 years (e.g. Pettersson, Dahlen, Gaudette and possibly Gadjovich and Lind), this season will be a distant memory. Too bad we’re not seeing veterans like Eriksson or Gagner step up or getting more consistent production from veterans like Vanek in the meantime.

  • myshkin

    a few weeks ago we were boasting of our goaltending and celebrating the sedins resurgence and now we’re complaining that the sedins can’t skate for sour apples and talking about bring up demko.

    wwyd? enjoy the holidays and rest up for the stress of the trade deadline. (and cheer for jv18)

  • defenceman factory

    Management should do nothing. Now is not the time to spend assets to try and upgrade goaltending.

    The coaching staff however, should be working hard. I don’t know how to coach a goalie but these two guys need some. There is also work to be done with the forwards.I’m sure game tape from the Montreal game produces some prime coaching opportunities. Too many missed assignments and too many high risk passes in the offensive zone.

    • On Halford and Brough, they mentioned that Markstrom has better lateral movement while Nilsson is better when he’s square. So they said the Canucks should be matching the goaltender to the opposition’s expected attack strategy. Had they known the Habs would engage in a lot of cross-ice passing, they would have started Markstrom. So it sounds like the goalies know where they are weak, it’s up to them to figure it out and keep refining their craft.

  • truthseeker

    Yeah, non issue. I think the general assessment in one of those province articles was pretty good. Could they be playing better and coming up with some bigger saves to help the team a times? Yes. But are they losing games because of the goal tending. No.