Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that comes with its own unique scent. (Feature not available on all browsers)
Speaking of smells, it’s September, and the tantalizing fragrance of training camp is in the air. By the time you read these words, the Vancouver Canucks will be a week out from the opening of their 2021/22 camp in Abbotsford and, with all the roster turnover of the summer, this one promises to have even more anticipatory eyes on it than usual.
In years past, Canucks training camp has been chock-full of hard-fought battles over multiple spots, but that’s not really the case this season. Aside from the 13th and 14th forward positions, along with perhaps one or two spots on the left side of the blueline, the roster is pretty much set.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be multiple players at camp with something to prove.
Some of the new additions are hoping to forge a brave new start with their latest organization.
Some rookies and sophomores are hoping to burst onto the scene with gusto.
And anyone unfortunate enough to be part of this franchise last season is no doubt looking to put it behind them as quickly as possible.
This week, however, we’re asking you to narrow it down to one, because we’re asking you:
Which Vancouver Canuck has the most to prove in Training Camp 2021?
Which Vancouver Canuck will increase their scoring the most in 2021/22?
Which Vancouver Canuck will decrease their scoring the most in 2021/22?
Your predictions are below!
Biggest increase in scoring: Elias Pettersson. Even before he got injured last year, he looked out of sync and generally not himself. With a full training camp, he will have a big bounce-back season and score 80+ points.
Biggest decrease in scoring: Tyler Myers. Age will start to creep up on him.
Increase-Bo Horvat, now that he will have two decent linemates.
All will increase as they will be playing an 82-game schedule.
Given most of the Canucks under performed last season there won’t be any significant regression in scoring from any players. OEL’s points will slip somewhat as he won’t get much, if any, first unit PP time. Podkolzin and Pearson point production could be disappointing because of playing on a match-up line with Dickinson.
A second line of Horvat, Höglander, and Garland will see an increase in points for all three. The Lotto Line will also have an increase in points, although not as dramatic.
Last season the Canucks had a goal differential of -28, the year before +10. Next season I predict it will be at least +25.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
I’m going to ignore Pettersson, who will benefit from many more games than last year. Too easy.
The biggest increase will be Podkolzin, who got a measly 11 points last year in the KHL. The biggest decrease will be Pearson, who will be pushed off the top two lines, at least to start the year.
Biggest decrease is Miller who will centre the third line…but by biggest, I only mean a few points. Overall, the line will score lots
Biggest increase is Hughes who will learn that better defence means more offence.
And with OEL taking his spot on PP1, Hughes will lead a revitalized and surprisingly effective PP2. Okay, that last part is a stretch.
Biggest increase at 100% will be Eriksson… wait, does it count when he scores an own goal?
Ignoring the difference in schedule lengths, the obvious answer is Elias Pettersson. His season last year was miserable in every way, and even when he was healthy, he looked all out of sorts and wasn’t producing. Even though every player will see an increase, I think the biggest increase will be from Petey.
Pettersson will increase his scoring the most simply because he will be healthy, the schedule will be greatly better than last year, and last year was a forgettable season. I predict Pearson’s scoring will drop the most simply because he will be dropped to the third line in favour of Garland, who will move to the second line. Pearson will be given more defensive responsibilities on the third line at the expense of offence.
I liked what Nils Höglander showed last year and won’t be surprised if he’s able to score more this year, especially if he can get on PP1 a bit. OEL will continue his downward slide, having peaked five years ago.
The upcoming season is going to be much better than last year. As much as others believe Pearson will decrease, I see him increasing his production no matter what line he is on. If he plays with Bo likely will have the benefit of a much more offence-minded new linemate on the other wing. If he plays on the third line, he will benefit from not getting the matchups he would have with Bo.
Juolevi will surprise, but not hard to beat his production from last year.
Miller, EP, and Brock will be one of the top lines in the league, with each of them increasing production. OEL will get his form back and be considered one of the league’s top defenders.
No one will go backwards, as last year was a disaster for all, plus there will be a lot more games to be played.