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Harman Dayal explains why Nils Aman is playing over Sam Lafferty: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
4 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed Nils Aman moving ahead of Sam Lafferty in the lineup, as well as the status of some other rotational forwards.
“Early in the season, Lafferty was playing at centre, whereas Aman was in Abbotsford. Clearly, there’s been a shift in the totem pole there,” said Harm. “Of course, Lafferty — we can all see he hasn’t been as impactful; his minutes have been declining for a bit even before the All-Star break.”
Lafferty came out hot to start the year, earning himself a role in the top 6 often playing with Pettersson and Mikheyev. He went from averaging almost 13 minutes of ice time per game in December, down to a little over 10 minutes per game in his last 10 games. 
“What stood out about Aman’s game and why I think he’s stuck in the lineup ahead of Lafferty is his impact on the penalty kill,” continued Harm. “He’s third among Canucks forwards in shorthanded minutes since the All-Star break, and he hasn’t surrendered a single goal against in over seven minutes on the PK in that stretch. I imagine Rick Tocchet and the coaching staff were looking at who they want to take out to insert Di Giuseppe back in, and they’re thinking Lafferty’s speed and physicality haven’t been as noticeable lately. They’re probably relatively similar in terms of even-strength impacts, especially because Lafferty would have to shift over if you’re pulling Aman out, so the PK impact is a significant difference. Lafferty doesn’t place much emphasis on the PK, and Aman has clearly found a home there.”
The guys then moved on to Lafferty’s teammates – those in the forward group who have shifted between lines regularly.
“Are we going to see Nils Hoglander back on the fourth line at any point? Or is this going to be like a, okay, Ilya Mikheyev needs to figure it out, and he needs to figure it out on the fourth line?” asked Quads.
“Hoglander — as long as he’s producing — and not even just producing, as long as he’s playing well, driving positive results, helping the top 6 control possession; he should stick there,” answered Harm. “Mikheyev, I don’t like the idea of, ‘okay, if he continues to struggle let’s just shuttle him back into the top 6, whether it’s at the expense of Hoglander or Suter’. At some point, you have to earn your opportunity. This isn’t a bottom-feeder team anymore. This is a team that is competing to win every single night, to finish as high as possible in the standings, so Mikheyev needs to figure it out on the 4th line. As JPat mentioned, Hoglander was crushing it in a 4th line role playing 11 minutes a night. Playing in a 4th line role isn’t an excuse for making a negligible impact.”
You can watch the full segment below:

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