Four bizarre player stats from the Vancouver Canucks’ 2022-23 season

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
With the nightmare of the Canucks’ 2022-23 season being over, the lead-up to the draft lottery brings about plenty of discussion about what the future holds in Vancouver. Discussions on which players to move on from, where the draft pick will land, who the Canucks should pick, and all sorts of front-office noise.
In this piece though, we’ll be taking a look at some anomalies in the player stats, 4 numbers that stood out over the course of the season. Perhaps they aren’t exactly surprising to hear, but the extent of them certainly is eye-catching.

Elias Pettersson and JT Miller had more shorthanded goals than Washington, San Jose, and Anaheim combined.

Despite the 10th worst penalty kill in a season of all time (71.6%), the Vancouver Canucks were really good at scoring with a man down. A lot of that came from Elias Pettersson and JT Miller, with the pair tallying 5 shorthanded goals apiece. That doesn’t sound like much but put it into the context of the league, and it becomes pretty impressive.
Both Pettersson and Miller had more shorthanded goals than the Anaheim Ducks (1), Washington Capitals (4), and San Jose Sharks (4) individually. Putting them together, the two Canucks outscored those three teams combined when on the penalty kill. Pettersson and Miller would’ve finished tied 5th in the entire league alongside the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights for shorthanded tallies with 10 total goals.
Shorthanded goals are by no means a good measure of how good a penalty kill is. But, it’s a nice bonus to have especially with how bleak the special teams were this year for the Canucks.

Tyler Myers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave up more goals against than the entire Boston Bruins team.

Considering how porous the Canucks were and how solid the Bruins are this year, it might not be a big surprise to see something like this. Vancouver conceded the 8th most goals against (296) of any team this season, while the Bruins conceded the least (174). But what might be most surprising is that Tyler Myers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson combined to post 200 GA, making them worse than an entire NHL team.
Even taking away the 33 GA that the pair of them shared together on the same pairing, the total still comes out to 167 GA which is uncomfortably close to Boston’s total. Individually, Myers’ 118 GA accounted for most of the damage, somehow only 56 goals less than an entire NHL team. Keep in mind that OEL was only limited to 54 games this season and could’ve had the potential to add more to the pile.
In the exit interviews, OEL spoke about the broken foot that he suffered over the summer and how it impacted his play this season. Hopefully, that was the case this year and he’ll see a small bounceback in 2023-24. Otherwise, with Myers more than likely returning for his final year in Vancouver, it might be a long season defensively.

Elias Pettersson, Andrei Kuzmenko, and Quinn Hughes conceded more short-handed goals against than Montreal and Minnesota combined.

Vancouver had a penchant for giving up shorthanded goals against this year. They actually led the league with the most shorthanded goals conceded (14). Now, the trio of Pettersson, Kuzmenko, and Hughes were featured on the first powerplay unit together more often than not, so there is some overlap in their numbers. Together, they conceded 4 SHGA together, with Kuzmenko posting another 2 SHGA while on the second unit, Pettersson-Kuzmenko added 1 SHGA without Hughes, and Kuzmenko-Hughes added 2 more SHGA without Pettersson.
What that means is that with their 9 combined SHGA, Pettersson, Kuzmenko and Hughes ended the season giving up more SHGA than the Montreal Canadiens (3) and Minnesota Wild (3) combined. In fact, they would’ve tied for 8th worst in the entire NHL alongside the likes of the Seattle Kraken, Los Angeles Kings, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Only 6 NHL teams would have posted more SHGA than this trio alone.
Again, this sort of thing happens. Heck, the Tampa Bay Lightning finished with 11 SHGA this season, putting them as the 5th worst team in that category. But with how the Canucks season went, it’s just another little wart along with way.

Spencer Martin saved fewer expected goals than 30 other NHL teams.

When Thatcher Demko went down with an injury in 2022, Spencer Martin was thrust into the limelight as the fill-in starting netminder. Until that point, he arguably was Vancouver’s better goalie, putting up stronger goals-saved-above-expected numbers than Demko through pretty much every start that he was in. Unfortunately, when put into a larger role, Martin’s magic ran out.
In total, Martin recorded -26.1 GSAx during his run as Vancouver’s starting goalie. That number made him the worst goalie in the entire league by that metric, as well as putting Martin below a number of NHL teams. In fact, he recorded a worse GSAx than 30 of 32 teams, with only Columbus (-40.91) and San Jose (-58.37) recording worse expected goals saved numbers.
Again, it wasn’t exactly a situation where Martin was given a good opportunity to succeed. He was put into an elevated role that he wasn’t ready for, behind one of the most porous team defences and worst penalty kills in the entire league. At least Martin has been doing much better for himself as of late in Abbotsford.

These are just a couple of the more eye-catching numbers from a season full of suffering. While they probably make sense when you think about them, the extent of how bad they were can only be realized when the metrics are put up against the rest of the league. Vancouver had some brilliant individual season, with four 30-goal scorers and Elias Pettersson cracking 100 points. But, as a team, there was still a long way to go to be even on the bubble for the playoffs.
At least the AHL Abbotsford Canucks are currently in the postseason. Plus, John and John are a treat to listen to when they’re calling NHL playoff games.

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