Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Snap Shots: Breaking down the primary points of the Canucks’ forwards

To make big impacts on games, you need to score goals and set them up as well.

This is something that Elias Pettersson has been so good at since coming into the National Hockey League.

His primary points percentage has been 79.7% over his first two seasons. That means that he is either scoring goals or making the primary assist on goals much more than he isn’t. Primary points is a great measure of how effective a player is at directly contributing to goals.

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Pettersson’s primary points percentage puts him in some elite company for players who have scored over 100 points in their first two seasons. Here’s how he matches up against some of the young talent across the NHL in primary point percentage through their first two seasons.

Even just looking at Pettersson’s first assists to his second assists it is an impressive number. Through 139 games, Pettersson has 50 primary assists and 27 secondary assists — almost two-thirds of Pettersson’s assists are directly set up from him making plays.

Elias Pettersson may be one of the best in the NHL at producing primary points, but he did not have the highest primary points percentage on the Vancouver Canucks this season.

That man was actually Jake Virtanen. Yes, you read that right.

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Virtanen had 36 points this season, so it’s nowhere near as close to Pettersson’s 66 but Virtanen did secure a primary point on 80.6% of his 36 points this season. That includes 18 goals, 11 primary assists and seven secondary assists.

Here’s how the top Canucks forwards ranked this season when it comes to primary points percentage.

On the power play, there were two players whose numbers stuck out for primary points: Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen.

Horvat had a power play primary points percentage of 80% or as I like to call it his PPPP%.

This is now up there with Emergency Back Up Goalie (EBUG) as my favourite abbreviations in hockey.

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Horvat scored 12 powerplay goals this season, the first assists on those goals broke down like this: Elias Pettersson (5), Quinn Hughes (3), J.T. Miller (2), Brandon Sutter (1) and Tyler Toffoli (1).

Virtanen had a team-high 88.9 PPPP%. He was involved in fewer goals but he was effective at creating scoring on the second unit. The combination of him on the right side and Gaudette on the left side should excite Canucks fans for the years to come. With players like Vasili Podkolzin, Kole Lind and Nils Höglander coming soon, the Canucks have nothing to worry about with the future of their powerplay.

During the limited minutes that Virtanen played on the power play (61:01) he scored six goals, the first assists on those goals broke down like this: Tyler Myers (4), Quinn Hughes (1) and Tanner Pearson (1).

Not all the Canucks had such a high primary points percentage. One player’s number that pops off the page is Adam Gaudette. The Hockey Gaud’s primary points percentage was only 57.6% this season. Only six of his 20 assists were primaries this year.

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This could be an interesting bargaining chip in Gaudette’s upcoming contract negotiations.

He proved this season that he can score goals at both even strength and on the powerplay but his playmaking may be the offensive skill that is lacking. It doesn’t take much video work to see that Gaudette needs to improve on his defensive game. His primary points dropped even more on the powerplay as eight of his nine powerplay assists were secondary.

It’s not something to be horribly worried about but the numbers do really pop off the screen.

The last interesting primary points stat I wanted to explore was J.T. Miller.

Here’s a breakdown of where Miller’s 45 assists went to this season.

Assists stats provided by NaturalStatTrick

Miller had instant chemistry with Elias Pettersson. This is not news to anyone. The cool stat that I see here is how he had three primary assists to Tyler Toffoli in the short stint of them being linemates.

I’ve been in the camp of seeing Toffoli with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. That line brings more of the two-way game that Travis Green wants. But to see that Toffoli had immediate success with Miller while Brock Boeser didn’t was an interesting stat that I may have overlooked.

On the other side of the argument, Boeser was primarily assisted by Elias Pettersson seven times. Pettersson did not have more primary assists to any other player this season.
He had six to Miller and five to Horvat.

All in all, these are just a bunch of stats that I found interesting and those who have enjoyed the Snap Shots series know that sometimes I just find stats that I want to expand on. This article is exactly that. Do what you will with this information and form your own opinions!