Photo Credit: NHL.com

Canucks Army Game Day 49 – Canucks Vs. Sabres (Slug Edition)


The anticipation for the return of Elias Pettersson is almost unbearable but here we are yet again. Tonight the Canucks welcome the Sabres to Vancouver and it’s the first visit for elite rookie Rasmus Dahlin. The Sabres beat the Flames in impressive fashion a few nights ago while the Canucks are trying to rebound from a rather mediocre outing against the Oilers.

Vancouver will have to push the envelope a lot sooner if they want to have a shot in any of their games going forward because their shot totals in the first periods have been disgusting. Buffalo is completely healthy so anything less than 100% will result in a loss.

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Travis Green needs to decide if he’s going for wins or ties because the final results are proving the rebuild is still right in the thick of things.

Let’s Do This!™


SNP / SN 650 / 7:00 PM


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It’s going to take a minute to get caught up with all the news and notes for tonight’s lineup. Michael Del Zotto was traded to the Ducks mid-game on Wednesday, Tanner Kero was recalled as Bo Horvat got a charley horse and may not be able to go tonight, Elias Pettersson is most likely doubtful but the Kero move and MDZ getting dealt keeps the numbers game at bay.

Nikolay Goldobin hopefully gets another shot tonight which would mean Tim Schaller would sit but again, who knows what’s up with that situation?

As far as goaltending goes, might we see Thatcher Demko’s first start of the 2019 season? Stay tuned.

Canucks lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW Forwards
Sven Baertschi

Rating: 74.9#34 LW

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Bo Horvat

Rating: 75.5#47 C

Brock Boeser

Rating: 81.6#6 RW

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FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.34#19 FL1
Antoine Roussel

Rating: 71.3#88 LW

Brandon Sutter

Rating: 71.1#137 C

Jake Virtanen

Rating: 71.4#88 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 71.25#28 FL2
Tim Schaller

Rating: 68.8#125 LW

Markus Granlund

Rating: 70.8#147 C

Josh Leivo

Rating: 72.7#60 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.78#26 FL3
Loui Eriksson

Rating: 71.8#74 LW

Jay Beagle

Rating: 68.2#191 C

Tyler Motte

Rating: 69.4#116 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 69.79#24 FL4
Alexander Edler

Rating: 75.8#21 LD

Chris Tanev

Rating: 71.9#56 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.85#21 DL1
Ben Hutton

Rating: 70.8#99 LD

Troy Stecher

Rating: 73.3#38 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.06#23 DL2
Derrick Pouliot

Rating: 70.8#100 LD

Erik Gudbranson

Rating: 68.1#104 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 69.47#29 DL3


Nathan Beaulieu will be a healthy scratch and rumors are swirly he would like to be traded so he can play, similar to the MDZ situation. No injuries to report for the Sabres so the Canucks will face everything Buffalo has to offer.

Carter Hutton seems like the way to go in net tonight but this could be a Linus Ullmark game.

Sabres lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW Forwards
Jeff Skinner

Rating: 80.8#9 LW

Jack Eichel

Rating: 79.9#17 C

Sam Reinhart

Rating: 76.2#31 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 79.00#11 FL1
Conor Sheary

Rating: 72.3#65 LW

Casey Mittelstadt

Rating: 70.7#151 C

Tage Thompson

Rating: 69.5#176 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 70.81#29 FL2
Vladimir Sobotka

Rating: 68.3#188 LW

Evan Rodrigues

Rating: 71.6#124 C

Jason Pominville

Rating: 73.9#45 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.27#23 FL3
Zemgus Girgensons

Rating: 70.0#163 LW

Johan Larsson

Rating: 69.0#122 C

Kyle Okposo

Rating: 71.5#83 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.16#18 FL4
Rasmus Dahlin

Rating: 74.2#35 LD

Zach Bogosian

Rating: 70.8#77 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 72.50#26 DL1
Lawrence Pilut

Rating: 73.3#53 LD

Rasmus Ristolainen

Rating: 76.6#23 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.96#8 DL2
Marco Scandella

Rating: 72.0#68 LD

Jake McCabe

Rating: 71.6#84 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.81#12 DL3



  • Casey Mittelstadt has one of the highest zone-start ratios in the NHL with a whopping 72.18%, at 5v5. Conor Sheary isn’t far behind with a 71.33% rating. Their point totals don’t exactly reflect this but they’re being utilized to the point where the numbers have to start mirroring the effort, then again, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are clearly Vancouver’s workhorses and they haven’t had much go their way lately.
  • Bo Horvat needs a break. He’s third in the league in Shifts/GP with 27.5, 0.8 off the league-leader Alexander Barkov. He’s playing over 20 minutes a game and everyone knows his faceoff stats. The lack of depth at the center position should be a wakeup call for Jim Benning. He needs to give Horvat some help and Elias Pettersson can’t be the only answer even if he is the only answer.
  • On the off-chance Pettersson plays this evening he would have a chance to be the outright leader in GWG in the NHL. Currently, Jeff Skinner is also tied for the top spot with seven game-winning goals. If this one is close late, get the iso-cam out on #53 in white.
  • The Canucks haven’t been able to figure out the Sabres since both team’s initial meeting a season ago. Vancouver is in a two-game slump against the Sabres and a win against their expansion cousins would even things up going into next year.
  • Here’s the thing: if the Canucks win tonight, they’re in one of the final wild-card spots. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but it’s the reality. Cheer for the goals and a hard-fought game but this team could really use a high pick, case in point, the current state of the team.


There have been games where I almost wish Sportsnet lost their feed again. Hoping the Canucks will hang on in the first period lately has become quite mentally taxing. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat are visibly frustrated with how snake-bitten they have been in the last while and even though hockey is a game of bounces and eventually, they’ll start connecting again, they really need something big to happen.

The rest of the team has been treading water and it can’t be all about the return of EP40. A season ago, Vancouver still had the Sedins but they weren’t carrying the offensive load. The defense is the same and it appears there are no plans to change anything up.

Vancouver needs a miracle.


Someone needs to have the same talk with the in-arena DJ.

  • Killer Marmot

    Here’s the thing: if the Canucks win tonight, they’re in one of the final wild-card spots. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but it’s the reality.

    I like it. Getting into the playoffs would be awesome. Sure they would likely lose in the first round, but who knows?

    • Yeah but that’s only temporal because we are a few games further in the schedule than other teams. If they post wins in the 1-2 games that they’re behind, we fall down the standings significantly. If Minnesota and Edmonton post a win, we’re 3 points out of a wildcard spot. St. Louis and Arizona can leapfrog us if they post 2 wins too. We need to look at points per game rather than total points to figure out where we are in the wild card race.

    • Nuck16

      I can go either way on the playoffs. If they make it because our young core is further along and/or better than we thought which is a good thing…plus we’d have the excitement of a potential 1st round upset.
      If we don’t make the playoffs, well, we get a nice draft pick which is great too.

  • Smyl and Snepsts

    Hope Benning gets a wake up call? You are implying he needs to wave his magic wand and produce another top line center out of the air? When they are all healthy there aren’t that many teams with a more solid top 4 than we have with Pete, Bo, Sutter and Beagle. Also cheering for the team to lose?
    Might as well write for Oilers nation

  • NeverWas

    Why is everyone against making the playoffs??? Once your in.. anything can happen!! Look at Vegas last year, look at some of the canucks previous Stanley cup appearances when they squeaked in as the 16th team when combining the conferences… if a team can get on a roll and players have career months (possible in short term but not sustainable long term) plus a little luck… anything could happen. I would be super excited to see some playoff hockey and as Benning has proven, high picks dont always mean getting the best player… ala petey at 5, Hughes at 7, brock at 23, gaudy at 48384th overall, “thebigfella” mac as a chl grad free agent… plus actual free agency pick-ups that could make an impact.

    Sure it help to finish low but the Oilers are a prime example that its not a guarantee. Learning to win, team culture and the “sum of the parts theory” are more important than high draft picks.

    • Kanucked

      Obviously all Canucks fans want them to win the Stanley Cup and you have to be in the playoffs to do this. But this team is no where near competing for the cup. Who cares if they get into the playoffs and even win a round? Will that help them more than getting another impact player in the draft?

      What do you mean high picks don’t matter? Pettersson and Hughes are lottery picks. In fact, both are in the top 10. Take a look at their progression compared to the others. Pettersson made his NHL debut when he was 19. Gaudette when was 22. There are no guarantees with any picks, but the likelihood of higher picks making the NHL, having an impact is greater.

          • Killer Marmot

            The Canucks will probably be picking between 10th and 15th unless they go on a major winning or losing streak. “The next Pettersson” will not be available.

          • Kanucked

            Well if they trade Edler, they get another first.

            Also there’s a better chance of getting an impact player at 10 vs. 16 or later. Hughes went at 7 last year and this is a good draft. Sorry KM I don’t agree with you here.

          • Killer Marmot

            I doubt that the Canucks would get a first-round draft pick for a few months of Edler’s services, even if Edler agreed to be traded. Teams are pretty tight fisted about their first-round picks.

          • Killer Marmot

            We got Pettersson without the #1 overall pick.

            The Canucks will not likely be picking #5 this year. And even if they were, it’s even more unlikely another Pettersson would land on their lap.

          • Kanucked

            “I doubt that the Canucks would get a first-round draft pick for a few months of Edler’s services, even if Edler agreed to be traded. Teams are pretty tight fisted about their first-round picks.”

            Both Bob McKenzie and Elliot Friedman said that Edler would get a 1st round pick PLUS a prospect.

          • What I meant is that elite talent can be found outside of the higher rounds like Pastrnak (#25, 2014), Ratanen (#10, 2015), Barzal (#16, 2015). Conversely, top 5 picks can easily underperform expectations like Patrick (#2, 2017), Puljujari (#4, 2016), Strome (#3, 2015), and Dal Colle (#5, 2014).

          • TheMoustacheofDaveBabych

            They could also get the next Brian Lawton, Alexander Daigle, or Patrick Stefan. I’d rather the players actually try to win and not emulate the decade-long dumpster fire raging in Edmonton.

          • Killer Marmot

            Both Bob McKenzie and Elliot Friedman said that Edler would get a 1st round pick PLUS a prospect.

            I listened to a Bob McKenzie podcast from 9 days ago where he talked about what Edler might be worth. He threw out a bunch of scenarios where a 1st round pick plus a prospect was but one possibility of many. He did not say that that was what the Canucks should get for Edler.

            You just told a fib.

          • truthseeker

            That may have been a fib….but you’re still ignoring trade precedent and D man value.

            GM’s have for at least the past 5 to 10 years, shown that they will pay a lot and demand a lot for D.

            In the past two years…you had a pure rental in Shattenkirk, bring back one of the cap’s top prospects who was at one point ranked top 20 of all NHL prospects, plus a first rounder, plus a conditional second rounder, plus a minor league depth guy.

            Ryan McDonagh, with a year left on his contract, got the rangers, if we ignore the forward swap of Miller for Namestnikov, a first round center prospect in Brett Howden, a 2nd round D prospect in Hajek, 2018 first round pick and 2019 first round pick (conditional).

            Given those kinds of returns for those guys, a first round pick is way more than reasonable for Edler. In fact, that could probably be considered a poor return given precedent. A first rounder and a prospect of some sort is not unreasonable at all considering guys a bit younger and a bit better are bringing back more than double that.

        • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

          How are the Devils doing this year? Remember when Aquaman pointed to them and the Avs as examples of why the playoffs are always his asparation… Remember COL 3 yrs ago when Roy led them to that remarkable season? Sometimes having mediocre aspirations in not a good thing.

      • bobdaley44

        The playoff educational experience can’t be underestimated. The earlier a player experiences it in his career the better for their development. They learn what it takes. Another level of intensity.

    • kermit

      Karlsson was a 15th. Barzal was 16th. There are still elite level players available, even after the first round, but overall, there is a correlation between where you pick and what you get. Benning could still find another Petterssen, although I think there is an element of luck involved.

        • kermit

          I am of the same mind as a lot of people here who are thinking more long term. I would prefer they not make the playoffs this year, which is not the same as wanting them to do the full tank for Jack Hughes. But there isn’t a lot of difference between being the worst team making the playoffs and the best team not making the playoffs, if you’re just going to be eliminated in the first round. It’s one draft position, 18th versus 17th. It could be a difference of 2 positions, maybe 3, if you make the playoffs with fewer points than 1 or 2 teams in the other conference. Right now Buffalo, who is outside the playoffs, has more points than both of the wildcard teams in the west. So given where the Canucks are likely to finish the season, in or out of the playoffs, I don’t think it’s going to make much difference in where they wind up drafting. This all assumes it’s business as usual with respect to our lottery luck.

          • Kanucked

            I understand your point. From my perspective, I think they are still in the phase to acquire as many assets as possible. So if they trade Edler and still make the playoffs, I’m okay with that. I don’t think keeping potential UFAs to try to make the playoffs is the right move right now.

            Next year, I hope the team has enough young impact players so that we can all hope that the team makes the playoffs.

          • kermit

            I agree that what Benning does at the trade deadline is going to be very telling wrt their thinking on where they are in the rebuild. Or maybe I should say Aqualini’s thinking.

  • Bendervîlle Tîgres

    Just a heads up that the criteria for winning the Calder is NOT based on points but contribution to your TEAM as a rookie, and on that basis the Sabres Rasmus Dahlin should win it over Petey.

    With the blueline phenom Dahlin on board, Buffalo has utterly transformed itself from worst team in the league in half a season, while in reality with Petey, we are still a bottomfeeder – six games below .500 with loser point OT losses.

    Watch Rasmus tonight and remind yourselves this kid is just 18 years old! Truly outstanding and everything Oli Juolevi will never be in this league I’m afraid. Looking forward to this game.Cheers.

      • bobbert

        More ridiculous fairytales from the laugher who told us

        “Benning should claim Ville Pokka if Sakic doesn’t first. Then pair Pokka and Pedan.” – Forever 1915 (both are now in the K lol!)

        FFS give it a rest fella. First you write utter drivel about Gaudette being a top 2 centre and now EP is exceeding Ovie, Crosby and McDavid… you are out of your tree. Seriously.

        Anyone actually posting about the GAME today. You know, on the GAME THREAD?!

    • truthseeker

      So wait…cockroach….did you steal that loser’s profile from over on the province message boards or are you that loser and you’ve run out of ideas for user names here so you’ve resorted to using your name from there? I’ll admit, through no intelligent thought of your own, you’ve actually thrown me off juuuuuust a tiny bit here. Either that, or you really are that loser from over at the province, you’re not the cockroach, and you’re just a f…king idiot. hmmm….so many cockroach possibilities.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    The in-arena DJ absolutely sucks! Playing remixes of old familiar classics like the Beatles, AC/DC, and 80s hair bands is just awful. Witnessed the pure horrendous essentially of this DJ live last month during the TB game.

    However much like JB addressing (or not addressing I should say) the defence and doubling down on lost opportunities/mistakes, I don’t imagine the arena music will be addressed anytime soon (look how long it took of people complaining about the in-arena experience before it was acknowledged even…5-6 years

  • Holly Wood

    These pre game write up would be a lot more relevant if posted after the morning skate. Injury updates, lineups and goaltender wouldn’t be a mystery by then.

  • Nuck16

    That was a dirty hit by Kassian…when you make a hit you lead with your upper body, you don’t ram the opponent with your your lower body unless you’re attempting to injure. I recall him making similar hit when he was a Canuck and causing an injury in the process.