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2018/19 Vancouver Canucks 50-Game Report Card

Sunday’s matinee matchup against the Detroit Red Wings marked the 50th game of the 2018/19 season for the Vancouver Canucks, and just like high school students across British Columbia, it’s time for the team to receive their report card.

As a whole, the team has already outperformed expectations this season. Most pundits—and even a large percentage of dedicated fans—did not foresee the Canucks holding down a playoff spot at the All-Star break, but that’s exactly where they are.

At the season’s outset, the Canucks had one of the weakest rosters in the league on paper—and their position in the playoff hunt is definitely an occurrence of the “sum being greater than its parts” variety. Still, a cursory look at which Canucks are performing above, at, or below expectations shows that most of the team is doing quite well on an individual basis—and that the organization is getting about as much out of this roster as it could have reasonably hoped for.

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Exceeding Expectations 

Elias Pettersson

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
39 23 21 44 6 17:58

Pettersson is in the midst of the greatest rookie season in franchise history, and all of the ways in which he’s outperformed realistic expectations on a statistical basis have already been discussed ad nauseum. Instead, let’s talk about another category in which Pettersson has exceeded expectations—durability.

Pettersson has missed 11 total games with an injury, but any other player would have also been injured by having their head smashed into the ice or their leg contorted in three different directions. On both occasions, Pettersson returned to the ice with minimal downtime, proving that he’s far from fragile.


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Bo Horvat

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
50 18 22 40 23 20:52


Horvat just keeps getting better. Despite a recent cold snap, he’s still on pace to demolish his previous career highs in all offensive categories. That’s on top of Horvat carrying an ever-increasing defensive load and juggling a decidedly unimpressive rotation of wingers. With everything that Elias Pettersson has accomplished, it says a lot that Horvat still probably deserves the title of “most valuable player.”


Nikolay Goldobin

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
44 5 18 23 14 14:57

Goldobin is a difficult player to place on this report card. On the one hand, he’s already shattered his previous offensive totals and sits fourth on the team in scoring. On the other hand, he remains in Travis Green’s dog house for his perceived lack of effort away from the puck. Defensive shortcomings have always been a factor in his game, so it’s fair to say that Goldobin is exceeding expectations offensively and meeting them defensively—and that he’s thus Exceeding Expectations overall.

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Alex Edler

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
35 5 15 20 36 23:22

At age 32, Edler is having perhaps the best season of his career—and the calls for him to be moved at the Trade Deadline have subsequently died down. He leads the team in average icetime by more than two minutes per game, and his defensive numbers remain strong despite consistently going up against the opponents’ best players. Edler has also chipped in an inordinate amount of offense, ranking fourth on the entire team in points-per-game.


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Antoine Roussel

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
45 5 14 19 98 13:58

Roussel is looking like he’s worth every penny of his heavily-criticized UFA contract. Not only has Roussel come as advertised as an agitator extraordinaire—drawing more penalties than the team’s top offensive talents—he’s also contributing more offense than anyone could have expected and sits second on the team in primary assists.


Ben Hutton

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
48 5 12 17 31 21:14

Alex Edler has undoubtedly been the Canucks’ best blueliner in the 2018/19 season, but second place probably goes to Hutton. His two-way game has improved by leaps and bounds as the year has progressed, and Travis Green obviously recognizes the progression as he’s given Hutton the second-most minutes on the team. The fact that Hutton is also on pace to surpass his previous offensive bests is just a nice bonus on top of it all.


Jacob Markstrom

Record Goals Against Average Save Percentage
18-12-5 2.80 .908

Markstrom was expected to share the crease with either Anders Nilsson or Thatcher Demko this season, but he’s been dominant enough over the last two months to solidify himself as the team’s definitive starting netminder. For the first time in his career, Markstrom is playing with consistency, and he’s giving the Canucks a chance to win on most nights—even when they don’t deserve to.



Tyler Motte

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
48 6 7 13 4 13:01

There isn’t a single measure by which Motte is not currently drastically exceeding expectations this year. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the NHL in 2018/19, yet he’s become perhaps the most consistent and reliable component of the Canucks’ bottom-six forward corps. Motte has nearly as many points this season as he did in the first three seasons of his career combined.


Alex Biega

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
14 0 4 4 8 15:17

Biega still can’t get into the lineup consistently, but maybe coach Travis Green should start calling his name more frequently. Biega has performed relatively well in each of his 14 games, and his underlying stats say that he’s one of the Canucks’ top-six options on the backend—and not the kind of player the Canucks should risk losing on waivers. To wit—Biega has as many shots on goal in 14 games as Tim Schaller has in 32.



Meeting Expectations

Brock Boeser

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
37 16 17 33 12 18:58

After a scintillating rookie season, Boeser was expected by many to suffer a sophomore slump. Instead, Boeser is scoring at a more-or-less equal pace to last year, and his version of a “slump” is apparently just failing to take a significant step forward. He still looks like a player who can reach another level of production—perhaps consistent point-per-game status—but that sort of offensive progression may have to wait until his third NHL season.



Jake Virtanen

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
50 11 8 19 30 15:03

On the one hand, Virtanen has clearly established himself as a genuine NHL talent in 2018/19. On the other, his production has come back down to Earth as the season has progressed and any hopes of him putting up a true “breakout” campaign are quickly fading. Virtanen was on a 12-game pointless streak before his assist against the Red Wings, and he will now be lucky to reach 20 goals on the season—but did anyone really expect him to maintain his early-season pace? This still qualifies as a good year for Virtanen.


Sven Baertschi

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
20 7 5 12 6 15:46

Baertschi’s story in 2018/19 has been dominated by his injury woes, but he’s continued to perform as a valid top-six winger whenever he’s actually been in the lineup. At this point in his career, it’s probably too late to expect Baertschi to take another step forward, but he looks to have settled in as a consistent 50ish point producer. He is what he is, and that’s something that the Canucks don’t have a lot of on their roster.


Troy Stecher

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
46 1 13 14 20 17:12

Stecher has yet to take the next step forward in his career, but that’s alright. As a player who started his NHL career later than most, Stecher’s upside was always going to be limited—but he’s already developed into a solid bottom-four blueliner, and that’s quite an accomplishment for an undrafted NCAA signee.


Erik Gudbranson

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
45 2 6 8 56 18:45

The debate about whether or not Gudbranson is actually playing competent hockey right now is ongoing, but it’s hard to argue that he isn’t currently having his best season as a Vancouver Canuck. Whatever your opinion of the attributes Gudbranson brings to the ice—physicality, crease-clearing, and uppercutting fools—you have to admit that he’s at the very least bringing them consistently in 2018/19.


Markus Granlund

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
50 8 9 17 16 15:45

Granlund has been much-maligned this season due to Travis Green’s insistence on keeping him on the powerplay’s second unit, but he’s remained a steady presence in the bottom-six and is one of only four Canucks to play in all 50 games thus far. His lofty 2016/17 totals were probably an anomaly, and Granlund is currently playing about as well as can reasonably be expected of him for the remainder of his career.


Jay Beagle

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
26 2 5 7 6 13:54

Beagle has come exactly as advertised. He’s a heart-and-soul player that dominates the faceoff circle and brings an incredibly consistent effort level. Beagle was signed to be a premium option at the fourth-line center position, and he’s certainly been that.


Below Expectations 

Chris Tanev

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
45 2 8 10 14 20:35

It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore that Tanev is having a tougher season than usual, despite being unusually healthy. Once a fancy stats darling, his advanced numbers are down across the board and—though fans will attest that the “eye test” isn’t quite so unforgiving—he’s not shutting down the opponent’s best players with the same efficiency as in prior seasons. Tanev remains a competent shutdown defender, but he isn’t the shot-suppressing machine that he’s been in the past—and that could scuttle any chances of trading him for a massive return at the deadline.


Brandon Sutter

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
20 4 1 5 4 17:42

Sutter has struggled with injuries, but he’s also scoring at the lowest rate of his NHL career—aside from the rookie season in which he scored six points. With Bo Horvat taking on much greater defensive responsibilities, Sutter’s role on the team is quickly becoming redundant, and he’s become an obvious candidate for a trade out of town—if the Canucks can find any takers.


Loui Eriksson

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
50 9 11 20 12 14:44

Eriksson remains a valuable depth winger and a reliable defensive presence, but any reports of him “bouncing back” in 2018/19 are greatly exaggerated. Despite a recent stretch of hot play, Eriksson is actually scoring at a slower pace this year than he did in 2017/18—and any hopes of him stepping into the void left by the Sedins’ retirement were clearly misplaced.


Josh Leivo

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
18 4 2 6 16 12:56

Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs once told anyone who would listen that Leivo could be a legitimate top-six talent in the NHL if he was only given a chance—but that doesn’t seem to be the case. After a red-hot start riding shotgun with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, Leivo has cooled considerably and—although there are still occasional flashes of brilliance—he doesn’t look to be anything other than the complementary player the Leafs were willing to jettison.


Tim Schaller

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
34 0 5 5 7 11:18

After signing a rich UFA contract and proceeding to contribute a miniscule amount on the ice, Schaller has become the undisputed whipping boy of the 2018/19 season. Touted as a fan favourite in Boston with limitless energy, Schaller has arrived in Vancouver as a nearly-invisible presence and nothing short of a disappointment.


Derrick Pouliot

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
44 2 6 8 18 17:32

Pouliot is a mercurial player. Every so often, he’ll bust out some moves that remind you of why he was drafted eighth overall—his assist against Buffalo on Friday being a prime example. Still, Pouliot just doesn’t do anything consistently enough to justify the opportunities he continues to receive from coach Travis Green.


Adam Gaudette

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI
32 3 4 7 10 10:10

As an NHL rookie fresh out of college, it’s not entirely unexpected that Gaudette has failed to stick in the lineup and is currently re-establishing his game in Utica. Most probably expected his production to be a little bit higher than a 20-point pace, but it’s hard to call Gaudette’s performance in 2018/19 a true disappointment—just slightly below expectations.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Agreed about Tanev’s play this season, and thats why they should trade him now if the return is high. But Leivo? C’mon, they got him for a minor leaguer, and he looks good on the second line. And Gaudette? No one expected him to play much this year in the NHL, and he has suited up 32 times. That has to be good for at least a break even.

    • I definitely knew those two would be controversial (honestly, I expect Tanev to be, too).

      For Leivo, I think the expectations were raised after his early success, but he got five points in his first two weeks with the team and has just a single assist since Christmas. I think many expected him to be a legitimate top-six option, and I don’t think he is, so he’s Below Expectations for me. Still, well worth the price that the Canucks paid for him.

      As for Gaudette, chalk that up to the bar for rookies being raised to ridiculous heights by Boeser and Pettersson. Other Hobey Baker winners have come in and performed better than Gaudette, too. Again, I don’t consider him to be a disappointment, but he’s currently performing a bit below where I expected him to be.

      Both reasonable criticisms, by the way. I appreciate it, Boyd!

      • DJ_44

        Gaudette was not expected to be with the big club, let alone play as well as he has. He is above (last I checked) a PPG pace in the AHL. Other Hobey Baker winners were not two-way centers, Eichel (2nd overall, Vessey, etc). I think that Gaudette has matched or exceeded expectations given pretty large responsibilities.

        As for Leivo, he also was out with injury for 5 games, and the team missed him. He is a winger who can play up and down the lineup, contribute on the score sheet, and help defensively. Think of him as a bigger and much better version of Goldobin (1G/18GP vs.5 G/44GP).

        • I think you’re probably right as far as Gaudette is concerned. I just expected more offensive pop out of him.

          I still disagree on Leivo though. I don’t think of him as a better version of Goldobin, quite the opposite. I think Goldobin brings a lot more to the lineup, and goal totals aren’t the best way to measure their contributions as both are primarily set-up guys.

          • Nuck16

            For most of the season I agree, but he’s come on strong lately both in terms of production and eye test, and as a rookie that’s all you can really hope for is some form of break-out during their rookie season.

        • timmay

          Oh dear another, ‘kiss-of-death’ endorsement from the same laugher who told us…

          “… and Holm, who I like way more than Hutton will be a solid bottom pair guy with ability and upside.” – DJ_44

          “I have been luke warm on Baertschi from the beginning. I far would prefer Boucher on Horvat’s wing” – DJ_44

          “Leipsic is a decent playmaker/passer. Something needed.” – DJ_44

          “I also shake my head regarding the lack of respect Loui receives. If you watch the game, he is easily a top six on any team in league.” – DJ_44

          Give it up andy, your player evaluations are beyond bad!!!!

        • It is arguable that Leivo’s sample is too small to conclude. For example, here’s his scoring log for his 6 Canuck points over 18 Canuck games from hockey-reference.com:

          G: Leivo A: Pettersson, Boeser
          G: Leivo A: Tanev, Pettersson
          G: Petterson A: Leivo, Elder
          G: Leivo, A: Boeser, Stecher
          G: Leivo A: Granlund
          G: Eriksson A: Leivo, Beagle

          3 scoring plays with Pettersson, 3 scoring plays without Pettersson; all at even strength. With the information presented, can you still conclude that he is unable to produce away from Pettersson?

          • To be pedantic, I’m pretty sure Pettersson was involved in the fourth goal. But you’re right that it is a small sample size. Unfortunately, a small sample size is all we’ve got. We’ll agree to disagree on Leivo, but I don’t think he’s a permanent fixture in the lineup moving forward. I see him as a Leipsic type, whereas Goldobin may have more staying power.

    • Puck Viking

      Beer Can agree 100%.. The Maple Leafs are desperate now is the time to try and grab Liljegrin and a 1st for him. Liljegrin isnt projecting to be much of anything at this time but at least fills a depth need.

  • Killer Marmot

    He’s never going to be a scoring juggernaut, but Stecher is having an excellent year. His even-strength goal differential of +10 is second on the team behind Pettersson, and he may have earned a full-time berth on the second defensive pairing (belatedly, IMO). He also looks good on the penalty kill, although for some reason he doesn’t get much ice time there.

    Definitely in the “exceeding expectations” category.

    • This is a good take. I agree that Stecher has solidified his role in the lineup and made himself a valuable part of the team’s future–that’s just exactly what I expected out of him. After a sophomore slump, he’s building on the success of his rookie season but his numbers remain relatively consistent. A nice, steady development path.

  • Horvat leads the league in face-offs with 1,233, talk about the definition of a workhorse. With all of the injuries, he has taken more face-offs than Pettersson (408), Sutter (375), and Beagle (346) combined. Granlund (295) and Gaudette (203) round out the list of players who regularly take draws, everyone else is less than 30.

  • Holly Wood

    I might have Goldobin and Biega down to the met expectations level, Both can not stay in the lineup and in Goldie’s case I don’t see him back in barring an injury

  • Bud Poile

    Eriksson is on a .40 PPG pace playing playing third/ fourth line minutes and is in line to beat his total points scored in both of his first two years as a Canuck.His defensive game has not wavered and he is playing to- if not above – expectations,IMO.
    Boeser appears to be mitigated without Pettersson and has clearly benefited when Petey is in the lineup.

    • He’s only in line to beat his total points scored because he’s been healthy. He’s actually scoring at a slower pace than last year and is just barely above his pace from his first year in Vancouver.

      I guess it depends what you define as expectations. In terms of Loui’s career in Vancouver thus far, he’s playing alright. In terms of his career as a whole, he’s well below expectations.

      • Bud Poile

        True,and he underachieved in his first two seasons here because the team had excessive injuries and Ericsson played mostly defensive roles leading to injuries of his own.
        Lack of NHL depth hampered his offensive role and production. His work ethic and skills are still on display.
        Now he has aged as most NHL forwards are gone by 30 years of age.Loui is now going on 34 putting up .40 PPG plugging third/fourth line minutes.
        The man is a freaking hockey god.

  • FairPM

    I still don’t understand the love affair with goldobin. If his name was Gudbranson, CA would be all over him. Goldy hasn’t done the ONE thing he was asked to do/develop. His defense continues to suck. Seems like Leivo is getting trashed for not continuing to be a top 6 (which he wasn’t expected to be, based on the trade to get him), but Goldy is getting exceeding expectations because… he did well in the first month of the season and was already known to suck defensively? At some point, the love affair has to end. Take off the rose coloured glasses already.

    • Goldobin might not be good defensively, but he’s proven himself to be one of the top offensive talents on the team–which wasn’t apparent at the start of the year. Goldy is exceeding expectations because his primary job is to put up points and he’s doing that at a much higher rate than expected.

      • TD

        You looked a Lievo with and without Pettersson. What does Goldobin look like under that lens? He produced a lot with Pettersson, has he proven he can generate offence without him? Lievo is a lesser offensive player, but plays with way more of an edge and works hard on both sides of the puck. I hope Goldobin has an aha moment because he has the talent, but his development seems to have stagnated.

        • TD

          I looked at Goldobin’s scoring this year:
          Petterson from Eriksson and Goldobin
          Goldobin from Petterson and Eriksson
          Petterson from Goldobin and Eriksson
          Petterson from MDZ and Goldobin
          Boeser from Pettersson and Goldobin
          PP Goal: Granlund from Goldobin and Hutton
          Pettersson from Eriksson and Goldobin
          PP Goal: Hutton from Horvat and Goldobin
          Virtanen from Goldobin and Pettersson
          *** Goldobin from Motte and Hutton
          PP Goal: Pettersson from Hutton and Goldobin
          PP Goal: Pettersson from Hutton and Goldobin
          *** Goldobin unassisted
          *** Goldobin from Virtanen
          PP Goal: Horvat from Goldobin and Hutton
          *** Gaudette from Virtanen and Goldobin
          PP Goal: Edler from Goldobin and Pettersson
          Goldobin from Pettersson and Gudbranson
          *** Horvat from Goldobin and Hutton
          *** Tanev from Goldobin and Horvat
          PP Goal: Pettersson from Goldobin and Boeser
          Boeser from Pettersson and Goldobin
          Pettersson from Goldobin and Pouliot

          That added up to 10 points 5on5 with Pettersson, 6 points 5on5 without Petterson (although he may have been on the ice and didn’t factor into the scoring) and 7 PP points (4 of which Petterson was part of the scoring play and two others involved Horvat which was probably PP1). 9 of points were second assists. Of his 16 even strength points, 6 were second assists giving him 10 primary points 5 on 5 this year.

  • Killer Marmot

    Pouliot is meeting expectations. In fact, he’s an improvement over last year’s version.

    A while ago I was thinking he should be let go at the end of this season, but I’m warming up to him as 3rd or 4th left defenseman, especially if Edler is gone.

    • jaybird43

      I think Pouliot has been pretty bad most of the year. He’s improved IMHO, since paired with Guddy, and I attribute that to him realizing that with Guddy, he’s got zero margin of error. Hence, a more straightforward simple, and quicker game has been forthcoming.

      • Killer Marmot

        He’s certainly no worse than last year, and that’s all takes to “meet expectations”.

        And for all the abuse he takes, his stats are solid and he’s a good skater, twice as agile as his linemate. A team could do worse than him at the bottom of the lineup.

        • jaybird43

          His problem isn’t with his agility, nor skating. It’s how long he takes to make decisions sometimes. As to his stats being “solid”, I’ll assume that’s correct, but ask how much was attributable to his prior partner, and if it’s so solid, why is he now on the bottom pairing?

          • Killer Marmot

            if it’s so solid, why is he now on the bottom pairing?

            Because he’s gone from a poor defensemen to an adequate one. Bottom pairing is where he should be.

            I suspect that one of the reasons for the improvement is that he’s playing on the left side. He spent much of last year on the right side because of injuries, and that just didn’t work for him.

  • FairPM

    based on performance and CA vitriol on the signings…

    BEAGLE – Exceeded expectations. Canucks performance with him in vs out of the lineup is significant.
    ERICKSSON – has exceeded previous seasons expectations but CA continues to want him to perform based on his contract. that ship has sailed. performance should be based on what he did last season vs this season, if this is a ‘report card’, not his performance vs his contract. That would be an entirely different set of grades.

  • Puck Viking

    They should offer sheet Kapanen in the summer. Offer 4 million at 7 years and maybe he bites. Compensation is only a 2nd rounder. He would look good on Horvats wing.

      • Puck Viking

        He wont be able to match with mathews and marner due. Only so much money to go around. Plus hes the same age as the core. There will be many offer sheets this year. You might see a team like Arizona go for Point.

        • TD

          Dubas can be over the cap all summer which means he can sign and trade if the Canucks offered Kapanen 4 million. As long as the signing isn’t ridiculous, any GM should match any offer sheet where the compensation is less than the value of the player. Kapanen is worth more than a second round pick, so Dubas would likely match the offer and then recoup more by trading him.

        • Puck Viking

          Not worried. If your cap is managed correctly teams wont be able to make an offer. With Jets, Tampa, Leafs etc in cap hell teams will start to pick off players. The middle range players will be the ones worth grabbing. Not many teams will want to give up 4 1st rounders unless they are desperate.

  • TheRealPB

    I agree with a lot of the rankings but I think you’ve rated Goldobin, Gubranson and Biega too high and Gaudette, Stetcher and Leivo too low. If you’re judging on the basis of contract then Gudbranson is as disappointing as Eriksson. Biega is no different than he’s ever been here — a great energy guy who hustles but is in over his head as a very good AHL defender in the NHL. Goldobin has been supplanted by Leivo in the top-six and has looked far better in the role. The bulk of Goldobin’s points came I think during the long winless streak, when Horvat was playing center on basically all four lines and everyone with any skill seemed to be out. I’ve seen lazy defensive plays by every single player (I’d even say that two of the goals last night were at least in part EP’s fault) but the only one who has consistently been so poor defensively is Goldobin. I honestly don’t know how you can call him meeting expectations defensively. And I also think context is key for so much of these ratings; Gaudette has done all that’s been asked of him as an injury fill-in and yet you see him as not meeting expectations. I think there’s more nuance to some of these performances. Completely agree about Motte and Hutton though.

  • Dirty30

    Leivo came in about as cold as any player could, having few games with TO at any level over the past two years.

    Not surprised he was hot, got injured and is now a bit cold. A player can’t develop not playing and Leivo will need to figure things out faster than he might have imagined.

    Having said that, he does still have some deficiencies that will develop as he plays and practices for games. How many players mentioned learning from Petey the n games and in practice? Leivo just needs a bit more time before getting a report card.

    On the positive, decent speed, uses his size, goes to the net and has an okay shot. Needs to stop dumping the puck.

    Oh, and he’s still outscoring Nylander! Chew on that for a while!

  • Gino über alles

    Much thanks to the author for taking the time to engage with the fans in the comment section, that’s a much better back and forth we like to see take place here rather than the same online pundits taking shots at each other. This site needs more of this and less of the people that should be banned for making taking part in a comment section incredibly tedious and irritating, so thanks again for your time and effort.

  • Kanuckhotep

    I have nothing negative to say about Stephan’s assessments or the Canucks as a whole. When you’ve watched these guys every year of their NHL existence you come to appreciate a team who give it every night, unlike recent seasons. However… 1) Would like Goldy to bring his 200’ game to go with his offensive skill if he’s gonna stick. 2) Edler is going to be re- signed and has played great. 3)Give Petey and Brock a full season to play together and we might have another McKinnon and Rantinen on our hands. Finally I know Tanev has lost a step but him and Eddie have been a great pair and I wonder if they’ll keep him around. Benning already got rid of 3 guys I would’ve. This year has been fun to watch though.

  • rediiis

    I would not aggressively seek trades although I would be open for business. Other than Horvat, Pettersson, Hughes, Demko and DiPietro. I think anything could work if it favors the Canucks. Report cards are funny. Suck it up kid, this is your grade.

  • It’s a bit unfair to criticize Gaudette’s offensive output when he’s typically been skating 8-10 minutes on the 3rd/4th line when he can get into the lineup.

    If he was being given 15 minutes a night with decent support he’d likely have 15-20 points in 32 games, which is a very respectable number for a rookie centre.

  • Robby-D

    I’ve been waiting for some report cards, but not sure I’m watching the same team as you (or perhaps my expectations were different):
    – Like others, I completely disagree on Leivo. We took another team’s cast-off that couldn’t stay in their line-up, and he’s playing up and down ours and producing, defending, hitting, and generally looking good. Seems like he’s exceeding expectations.
    – Boeser is not meeting my expectations this year – he’s missing the net A LOT, he struggles to get open this year vs. last, and his back-checking, defense, and generally his skating without the puck are all not up to what I expected from him this year. He’s still getting the points, but not like I’d expect given his performance at the all-star game. And honestly, I don’t see how Goldy is getting benched all the time while Boeser is doing pretty much the same thing and can do no wrong. (to be clear, I like both players and want to see them both in the line-up and getting healthy minutes ever night, but even with that I feel Boeser isn’t meeting expectations).
    – I feel like Tanev is meeting expectations, as is Gaudette. Anyone who had higher expectations for them this year than what they’re seeing was likely overly-optimistic and not paying attention to comparables.

  • McDale

    Hmm, good article overall but there are a couple that I just plain don’t agree with on here:
    -Goldobin: No way he is exceeding expectations. He was given a lot of rope and just hasn’t drastically changed his game from a peripheral player. Yes he’s creating but so has everyone else around Pettersson. His play away from the puck and positioning sometimes just makes me yell “what are you thinking” at the screen. Met Expectations is more appropriate for me. I knew he could probably put up points but figured he would stuggle with consistency and details.
    -Alex Biega is just a “met” for met too. He has provided good play whenever hes in the lineup. Something he has always done.
    -Troy Stetcher is an above expectations for me. He is showing with his numbers that as a lower pairing D he is ready for more. He’s the best D in goals for/aginst (and expected goals I think too) by quite a bit. I like that they have picked up on that recently and put him together with Hutton. They should be able to get more out of that pair as a #2 behind Eagle/Tanev taking the hard matchups.
    -Gudbranson – Should be below and always stay below expectations. There is just so many ways (including the all important actual goals for and against) that he is just by far the worst D on the Canucks, if not the league. The Canucks keep expecting more of him, and he continually proves them wrong.
    -Tanev is a met for me. He’s pretty much done what has been expected and plays against the top all the time. Has he remained a stats darling, while aging, and still facing the top competition? No, which really if he was would make him exceeding to me.
    -Loui Eriksson – I could almost put him in the Met category, but if you are comparing to contract, sure, I can be on board with this one.
    -Leivo – This one I am totally opposite from you. I feel like he has done so much better than expected coming as a 4th line player from TO. His numbers are up, and he has really good underlying stats, as well as plays hard and is in the right position more often than not. I like PITB’s take as others have mentioned, and this one and Goldobin are by far the ones I see in a totally different light.
    -Pouliot – I would probably put him as met due to him numbers going up a bit from last year with the switch in sides. Does he have flaws, yes, but no one should be expecting him to be a perfect player. He’s a good depth D.
    -Gaudette – This season has pretty much met expectations for me. I knew he would be in tough to score right away in the NHL, despite all the optimism that I wanted him to perform. He has played way more games in the NHL than I though… success to me would have been being a solid AHL player and he’s done that, so he’s a met for me.

    Everyone else, I like your takes. 😉

  • oldman

    I went to my first game of the year vs Buffalo last Friday. Was looking forward to the opportunity of a live “eye test”. Couldn’t believe EP40 didn’t play, was crossing fingers for a miracle. No Goldy either. Schaller and Leivo were toughest to watch. Leivo has great hands, but looked uninterested and was not skating hard. The team skated hard in general, and I agree with your grades from my small sample size. 9 rows from ice, couldn’t afford to sit there on my own. Work perks rule!!

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Jay Beagle “dominates the faceoff circle”???

    Beagle is 91st amongst all NHL forwards that have played 20 or more games and sits at 52.6%. In what realm does that qualify as being “dominant”? Exaggerate much? Also, Guddy sucks no matter how much you fluff up his writeup.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      Outside of those comments, I also very much enjoyed the read and the comments posted. You’re back and forth as mentioned above with several posters was also very nice to see. Keep up the good work. Hopefully JB can fleece Chiarelli before he gets fired in the next day or so for Puljujarvi.

  • sloth

    Really cool to see the author of this piece engaging with thoughtful posts in the comments. Subjective and judgmental articles like this are always going to draw debate, and it’s refreshing to have his ongoing input as his conclusions are discussed. I haven’t been coming to this site as much this season as in the past, but this type of thing is a good sign for me as a reader.

    Re: Goldobin, I don’t think it’s fair to say that he’s meeting expectations defensively when he’s been scratched multiple times because he’s playing at a sub-NHL level away from the puck… The Canucks clearly expected him to take a significant step towards becoming a 200ft NHL player this year, and he has come up demonstrably short. And while he’s put up decent points, I also don’t really see how he’s exceeded expectations on offence. This team was expected to struggle mightily replacing the offence of the Sedins, and without adding any firepower over the summer it was clear they were expecting a number of the younger players to elevate their production. Goldobin was obviously the prime candidate with his pedigree and performance in the AHL and NHL at the end of the season. Currently, he’s 40th among RWs in both points and points/game, 49th in TOI/game, so based on his scoring boxcars he’s looking like an average top-6 winger. But his scoring has been inflated by playing with Pettersson, while the desperate need for his scoring has been reduced by EP arriving as roughly double the player anyone could have expected, and Horvat taking another inordinately large step forward. I’d say that Goldobin is meeting high expectations on offence, but coming up short on low expectations on defence. Difficult to judge.

    I think that point can be expanded to say that Pettersson, Horvat, and Markstrom are all exceeding expectations by such a huge margin that they provide insulation for the rest of the team, and that noise makes it tough to evaluate who’s actually performing. I would defend Leivo on sample size and Gaudette on principle that there were virtually no expectations for him at the NHL level this year. I don’t think that Boeser has elevated his game to the degree the Canucks would have expected if not for the circumstances around his back injury and summer recovery, so it’s hard to pass judgment there. Other than that I can’t really argue with any of the assessments.

    The only other thing I would add is Gagner, Del Zotto, Leipsic, and probably Nilsson have also been below expectations this year, and Jim Benning has been above expectations as he’s trimming dead weight in-season and flipping marginal assets for decent returns when possible, decisively moving on from some bad FAs while his new ones look mostly good. And Travis Green has been as good as anyone could have hoped and better than anyone should have expected.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Gaudette has matched or exceeded expectations in my opinion, 1st time ever playing at the NHL level and Avg TOI only 10:10. He has played well for a raw rookie.