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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Roundtable: Who has been the Vancouver Canucks’ MVP this season: Brock Boeser, or Thatcher Demko?

It’s time for another CanucksArmy roundtable! We have asked our team to answer the question that seems to be on everyone’s minds: Who has been the Vancouver Canucks’ MVP so far this season?

There are two popular candidates who have emerged at the forefront of this debate: Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko. Let’s see what our staff had to say!

Stephan Roget

The honour of Canucks’ MVP thus far in 2021 could easily go to either Brock Boeser or Thatcher Demko. Together, they’re probably responsible for about as much of the team’s success as the rest of the roster combined. Between the two, there’s no wrong answer, but since you asked for a right answer…

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It’s got to be Boeser. He’s scoring goals at as high a rate as he ever has, producing points like never before, and his two-way play has continued its constant progression toward notable. More than that, Boeser has elevated the games of his linemates, which is not something that is typically in the wheelhouse of a sniper-type.

For his positive impact on the scoreboard, his teammates, and presumably team morale, this one goes to Boeser, while taking absolutely nothing away from Demko.

Josh Elliott-Wolfe

It has to be Thatcher Demko. While Brock Boeser has obviously had a great season, the Canucks would be nowhere near where they are now without the play of Demko. Boeser’s resurgence has been huge for the team and it’s crazy to think about his name being in trade rumours just this past offseason. I do hope he can carry it over to next season and push the 35-40 goal mark on the season.

That being said, Demko’s emergence has changed this team. They now know that barring any major setbacks they have the goalie of the future, a position that can be tough to fill for even the most elite teams. This season may be lost for the Canucks but the only reason they even have a shred of a chance at making the postseason is due to the play of Demko and how many games he’s won almost singlehandedly.

What makes it even more impressive is that he’s doing it all behind a Canucks’ defence that’s given up the high danger chances of any team in the NHL. Demko’s play also nullifies the loss of last year’s MVP in Jacob Markstrom.

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Noah Strang

While both Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko have been two of the Canucks’ best players so far this season, it’s Boeser who deserves the nod as MVP. He has been the Canucks’ most dangerous forward since opening night, and has continued to score at a career-best pace even though he’s had to play with a rotating cast of linemates.

Don’t get me wrong, Demko has been exceptional and a major reason why the Canucks still have a slim shot at the post-season, but he hasn’t had the consistent impact from opening night until now that Boeser has had. Both are great young players that should play major roles for years to come, but the fact that Boeser has managed to score a ton of goals in all situations means that he deserves the MVP award at this point in time.

Clarissa Sabile

All the 2021 Canucks MVP arguments for both Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko are fair. Both brought wins to the table, earned first star of the game on several occasions, and overall redeemed themselves from previous years of decent play.

Personally, at this point of the season, I believe Thatcher Demko deserves the honour. He sat in Jacob Markstrom’s shadow for some time — the Canucks’ previous MVP, if you didn’t know already — and is finally getting the starter role and acknowledgement he worked so hard for. He made sure to turn heads with statement victories in the past few months, rewriting the ‘temporary’ “Bubble Demko” nickname that he was praised for last year as a permanent, continuous act.

No, really. He faced the most shots in the North Divisi–*checks notes* in the entire league, with 772 shots against and 711 saves according to hockey-reference.com. According to JFreshHockey on Twitter with data from TopDownHockey, Demko has the third-highest starting goalie above-expected save percentage in the league as of March 20 with 1.5%, just trailing prestigious company of Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL). Is that good? I think it is.

Anyways, a team could (ahem… should) produce offence from the top to bottom line every night. I can’t take away from Boeser’s redemption arc and goal leader streak. I just think Demko’s performance should be appreciated more (this is directed to NHL.com writers because we all saw that Vezina vote list) and he has proven himself to give the Canucks that opportunity every time he stands between the posts.

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David Quadrelli

This is a question that if you asked me a month ago, I wouldn’t even have to think twice before giving you the obvious answer: Brock Boeser. And as this site’s resident “goalie guy”, it pains me to say that the MVP honours still belong with Boeser, even after Thatcher Demko’s remarkable run over the past month makes it a lot closer than some seem to think.

As I wrote in an article a couple of weeks back, Boeser is scoring goals and producing points near the same rate that he did in his rookie season, and he’s doing it while matching up against the opposition’s best. He’s also scored timely goals. Boeser leads the league in third-period goals and has opened the scoring for the Canucks six times this season.

I have little doubt that Demko won’t be able to keep this up long-term, but until he does, the MVP nod goes to Boeser.

For now…

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Chris Faber

To me, the most valuable player should be the person who brings your team the most wins or is consistently bringing win value to every game. Thatcher Demko is a no-brainer for MVP this season.

Through the Canucks’ best month of the season, Demko has by far been the best Canuck and that consistent top-of-the-league goaltending we saw in the bubble has become the norm instead of an outlier.

Demko’s MVP season has propelled him into the conversation as one of the core pieces to this Canucks young core. Night in and night out, he steals wins in games that the Canucks have no business winning and to me, that’s their MVP.

Shu Lei Wu

Boeser’s resurgence has been great to witness. He looks like a threat every time he has the puck and he’s finally healthy enough to create that extra bit of separation he needs to release his shot. However, I have to go with Demko for MVP.

He has almost singlehandedly brought stability to our defensive game and has “revived” our playoff hopes. If the Canucks make the playoffs, Demko will have to be their most important player down the stretch, just like he has been so far. If you think about it from a replaceability perspective, it’s basically impossible to outscore your problems in this league, but it’s far easier for extremely solid goaltending to alter the course of a season than goal-scoring, as Demko has shown. Boeser has been the more consistent contributor so far, but the value of Demko’s contributions is higher and he probably has a higher WAR value.