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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks’ November Report Card

When last we met, the Vancouver Canucks were coming off an October to remember, but as we once again gather to assess the team top-to-bottom the situation looks a little less rosy. As of the end of November, the Canucks had slipped out of the top-three in the Pacific Division – albeit with games in hand on all three clubs currently ranked ahead of them – and several members of the organization had begun to feel the inevitable sting of inconsistency.

That means we at CanucksArmy will be taking a bit more of a critical eye for this edition of the Monthly Report Card than we did at Halloween – within reason, of course. With that being said, the Canucks are clinging to a playoff position heading into a favourably-scheduled December, and that means there’s plenty of reason for optimism on a squad that still very much deserves a passing grade.

Before we get going, please consider the following notes:

1) Players are once again ordered based on their point totals for November.

2) Last month’s method of grading players against their own individual expectations proved a bit confusing. Instead, we’ll be grading players as per their position in the lineup. Meaning Elias Pettersson will be graded against relative expectations for a first line center, and Jay Beagle will be graded much more generously given his lower ranking on the depth chart.

3) All grades and stats are for the month of November only, not the entirety of the season.

4) Feedback is both welcome and appreciated!

 

Forward

Elias Pettersson

B+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 7 6 13 8 19:27 54.38

There’s at least one person who believes that Pettersson had a disappointing November – Pettersson himself. On the whole, a month in which the Canucks’ top offensive star scored at a near-point-per-game pace and had some of the best possession stats on the team can’t really be considered a letdown – but perhaps a slight step back.

 

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JT Miller

A

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 6 7 13 10 21:17 53.57

Miller continues to assuage the fears of those who thought the price to acquire him was too steep. He tied for the team lead in scoring for the month while pulling down nearly as many minutes as Bo Horvat. No Canuck was more important to the club’s special teams in November than Miller.

 

Tanner Pearson

B

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 5 7 12 4 16:30 46.31

Pearson is that kid you hated in high school who always handed their work in at the last minute and still got better grades than you. Pearson’ four-point effort on November 30 greatly boosted his statline and his overall mark for the month, but that doesn’t change the fact that he only looked like a valid top-six option for limited stretches and continues to frequently hamper Bo Horvat’s performance.

 

Bo Horvat

C+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 2 10 12 4 21:37 48.11

Horvat continues to be on pace for another career season, but only on the strength of a three-point effort against the Oilers in the last game of the month – and he’s clearly struggling in several other areas. Horvat has been hindered by inconsistent linemates and excessive minutes throughout November, but he’s also yet to play his personal best in the 2019/20 season.

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Adam Gaudette

A+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
14 6 4 10 6 12:35 48.75

Gaudette seemingly earned his spot in the lineup during the preseason, but he was eventually sent back to Utica anyway – so he came back up and made it even more apparent that he belonged. Not only was Gaudette tied for sixth in team scoring in November, he did so with relatively limited ice-time – and displayed a penchant for scoring clutch goals. He’s here to stay.

 

Brock Boeser

C+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 3 7 10 4 20:15 53.60

On the one hand, Boeser continues to look vastly improved in the 2019/20 season compared to his last two seasons – especially when it comes to two-way play and possession. With that being said, Boeser also struggled to consistently produce throughout November and needs to start scoring goals again – though that seems likely to happen sooner rather than later.

 

Jake Virtanen

B-

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 4 3 7 6 12:25 50.00

Virtanen’s impact through November wasn’t entirely reflected by his statline, though he still produced at a fairly impressive rate. Virtanen created chances, meshed well with teammates, and upped his physicality throughout the month – though the Canucks would like to see him earn at least a few more points when given a top-six opportunity.

 

Josh Leivo

B

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 1 6 7 0 14:30 55.07

Leivo was once again the team’s best possession player in November, and once again his contributions didn’t show up on the scoresheet as much as some fans would have liked. He continues to play well wherever he’s placed in the lineup, which is extremely valuable on a roster that seems to be perpetually in flux.

 

Brandon Sutter

C+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
7 2 0 2 0 13:29 54.76

Sutter’s season-opening offensive spurt seems to have dried up, but his strong two-way play remained in place – until yet another injury struck. On the one hand, Sutter’s role in the lineup was further usurped by Adam Gaudette in November – but on the other hand, his grade here is increased by the fact that the team noticeably struggled in his absence.

 

Tyler Graovac

B+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
7 2 0 2 2 6:45 48.44

Graovac has proven an excellent replacement center, and even proved surprisingly capable of chipping in on the powerplay in November. He didn’t play well enough to steal anyone’s spot in the lineup, but the Canucks probably feel a lot more comfortable about their depth now that they’ve seen what he can contribute.

 

Sven Baertschi

C

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
6 0 2 2 4 11:49 64.46

After a controversial preseason cut, Baertschi finally got another opportunity with the Canucks in November – and the results were decidedly mixed. Baertschi notched a couple points and dominated possession in limited minutes, but he also didn’t do anything to stand out from the rest of the middle-six pack – and was ultimately consigned back to Utica with considerably less protest than his previous demotion.

 

Loui Eriksson

D

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
12 1 0 1 4 8:56 50.00

Yes, the sheer exuberance of Eriksson’s goal against the Oilers likely boosted his grade a little bit, but that’s not the only thing saving him from a failing grade. Eriksson performed about as well as any of the Canucks’ other bottom-line wingers in November, and his shortcomings were less noticeable with fewer minutes.

 

Zack MacEwen

C-

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
5 0 1 1 2 10:23 30.21

MacEwen obviously showed enough in his limited November stint to earn a brief cameo on Bo Horvat’s line, but he also looked overwhelmed with the speed of the NHL game and struggled to bring his usual physicality on a consistent basis. He’s likely headed back to Utica upon Antoine Roussel’s return.

 

Tim Schaller

D-

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 0 0 0 2 11:37 39.75

The Schallerevolution is over. Schaller is back to largely pointless play, and he was arguably the worst individual Canuck throughout November despite dressing in every single game. His contributions to the penalty kill are the only thing saving him from an “F.”

 

Jay Beagle

D

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
8 0 0 0 6 13:00 39.07

Beagle was the team’s worst possession player in November before being injured, and Tyler Graovac has outperformed him as a replacement. With that being said, Beagle’s absence – and the absence of his ability to eat difficult minutes – was definitely felt in the latter half of the month.

 

Nikolay Goldobin

Incomplete

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
1 0 0 0 0 8:37 7.69

Goldobin didn’t receive nearly enough of an opportunity to generate a valid score on this Report Card – and that eyebrow-raising Corsi column might mean he won’t receive one anytime soon.

 

Defense

Quinn Hughes

A+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
14 1 11 12 2 20:21 54.70

Sometimes, it’s tempting to underrate Hughes because of how his performance compares to another rookie defenseman in the Western Conference. Cale Makar’s excellence, however, shouldn’t take anything away from Hughes’ – who continues to be the Canucks’ best defenseman by leaps and bounds.

 

Alexander Edler

B

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 1 5 6 18 23:03 49.71

On the one hand, Edler is handling obscene minutes with aplomb – and continued his roughly 30-point pace through November. That’s a perfectly fine performance from a top-pairing defenseman – but the cracks are also starting to show. Edler’s PIM totals show a player who is occasionally overwhelmed by his excessive responsibilities, and his month ended with an injury – something that most considered inevitable unless his TOI was reduced.

 

Troy Stecher

B-

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 1 2 3 4 14:54 51.59

Stecher has been performing more-or-less the same all season – excellent for a bottom-pairing defender, but still not fantastic enough to convince Travis Green to give him more minutes. His ice-time is up slightly from October – but he doesn’t quite look like the Stecher of seasons past quite yet.

 

Tyler Myers

C-

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 0 1 1 6 21:09 49.71

Myers is probably playing a little bit more than a player of his skillset – and shortcomings – reasonably should be, and it’s starting to show. Myers’ offense has dried up and those infamous gaffes have become more frequent and more noticeable – though he is still moving the puck with decent efficiency.

 

Jordie Benn

C+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 0 1 1 9 17:19 43.64

Slow and steady wins the race as far as Benn is concerned. He had another solid month on the defensive end and is a more-than-competent bottom-pairing defender – with noticeably more physicality on display than in October. His complete and total lack of offense remains a concern.

 

Chris Tanev

B+

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
15 0 1 1 6 19:33 49.12

Tanev continues to be everything the Canucks could ask for – even if his October offensive renaissance is now over and done with. Tanev’s steadiness and reliability has allowed Quinn Hughes to fully establish himself as a dynamic force on the blueline, and he’s done it while showing an uncharacteristic durability, even under heavy minutes.

 

Ashton Sautner

Incomplete

Games Goals Assists Points PIM Average TOI Corsi For %
1 0 0 0 0 2:49 40.00

Poor Sautner only got a couple shifts in before being injured on a brutal – and unsuspended – late hit by Brendan Dillon. As such, it’s impossible to give him a grade – but we still wanted to give the guy a shout-out and share some sympathy.

 

Goaltending

Jacob Markstrom

A-

Record Save % GAA
3-4-2 .913 2.75

Markstrom went through an emotionally tumultuous month and still came out of it looking like the Canucks’ MVP on most nights. November represented a small step back from Markstrom’s performance in October, but nowhere near enough to question his overall excellence or continued viability as a starting goaltender.

 

Thatcher Demko

B-

Record Save % GAA
2-3-1 .886 3.73

Whenever one of your six games in a month features eight goals against, it’s going to do a number on your stats – and that’s exactly what happened to Demko in November, courtesy of Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins. On the whole, however, Demko still had a great month full of highlight-reel stops – especially given his role as a the team’s backup, and the fact that backups can reasonably be expected to be ventilated every now and then.