As the resident stat-head at Canucks Army, I pride myself in digging deep and finding the numbers that matter. This piece is no different. The Canucks have impressed early on this season and are making a convincing push towards entering the playoffs for the first time since 2015. They’re scoring goals at a pace that hasn’t been seen since their impressive 2009/10 season when they tallied 268 goals. But how will they get there?
There won’t be any mention of 43 reasons they’ll sneak in or 51 times Troy Stecher factored in on a scoring chance or literally any mention of Nikolay Goldobin aside from right now. This is just goals-based insight from an industry pro.
This season, Vancouver is on pace for 269 goals, one better than the fabled run which the Chicago Blackhawks eventually squashed. That Canucks team had a lot to brag about; there were six players with 25 goals or more, and two with 30+. As great as the Canucks goal scoring has been so far, it might not be enough to make the playoffs even if it’s a weaker conference in the West.
Based on their current point pace, prior to the Senators game, the Canucks were on pace to earn 88 points, just shy of the 90 points that would occupy the eighth and final spot in the West. Vancouver’s current pace factors only their average points earned per game. But, if we take a look at a few other factors, it’s hard to argue that Elias Pettersson and company won’t finally make their way back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs come April.
The Canucks have been just as likely to score bunches of goals as they have let them in this season. The 269 goals would be better than seven of eight teams to qualify for the playoffs in the West this season and would also be 21 goals above the average amount scored of those same teams. Add to that, the Canucks would have 23 more goals-for than the eighth seed however, they would have allowed 14 more goals as well.
Falling two points short of the playoffs would sting if Vancouver does indeed live up to their impressive output and breaking down their contributions further should distinguish it would be unlikely they do in fact miss out. The Edmonton Oilers would be the only team to outscore the Canucks averaging 3.73 G/GP while the Canucks would be a half goal behind at 3.28. No one is going to catch the Oilers in that regard but it’s possible the Oilers would have the most to lose if they somehow missed the postseason.
It has been a long time since the Canucks were able to play past the 82nd game of the year, 2014/15 to be exact. That year, the Canucks hit similar totals en route to a playoff berth. The Canucks scored 242 goals that year, more than six of the eight playoff teams in the West, and again the second-seed had the most goals that year.
Coincidence? I think not!
Add to all of this, Vancouver is straight-up owning the power-play this season in the high-20’s and teams that score a lot on the power play usually have more than just goal scoring going for them, they’re closing on every chance they get.
Vancouver is on pace to miss the playoffs by one win but they’ll have more goals than almost every team that is in line to make it ahead of them. Correlating those two things just doesn’t seem possible and if the Canucks continue on this run, the goals will put them ahead of the last seeded team and back into the post-season for the first time since 2015.
Now, if they can somehow employ the “French Press“.