How Tanner Pearson proved everyone wrong this season and what that means for the Canucks
Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
By Noah Strang11 months ago
When Tanner Pearson was inked to an extension just about a year ago today, the overall reaction was far from ecstatic. The deal was for 3 years with an AAV of $3.25 million and contained a slightly different no-trade clause in each year. The contract was dragged by many including here on Canucks Army, Twitter, and on other news outlets across the internet. It was difficult to find anyone who thought the deal was great news for the Canucks.
Now just one year later, Pearson has outperformed expectations and outplayed his contract. He’s been a reliable contributor for the Canucks this season, one of only a few on the team, and has silenced many of the doubters who believed his contract would be a massive burden for the organization.
His strong play this season has led many to believe that he can continue to provide a middle-six impact for the Canucks over the remainder of his contract. Considering his play this season, that’s not out of the question and it would be great news for the Canucks who cannot afford for this contract to become an overpay.
Pearson’s individual play this season
Pearson’s raw stat totals don’t jump off the page but it’s important to understand the context that he rarely gets meaningful power play time. At 5-on-5, Pearson has been one of the team’s most consistent scoring threats. His 1.74 5-on-5 points per sixty minutes rank third on the team of skaters with more than 15 games played, just behind Conor Garland and J.T. Miller.
His 11 5-on-5 goals rank sixth on the Canucks as he’s provided a secondary scoring threat. While Pearson isn’t a game-breaker, he is the type of player that helps teams win. He ranks third out of regular skaters on the team with a Corsi For % of 52.92% and the Canucks have outscored their opposition 41-29 with him on the ice at 5-on-5.
His analytics compare well to players on the team that are more highly regarded like Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser. While none of this is to say that Pearson is the same quality player as those three, he has been driving play in the Canucks’ direction and fulfilled his role very well.
Pearson’s fit on the Canucks this season
While Pearson has been stapled to Bo Horvat’s wing for the past few seasons, seemingly the only duo that former head coach Travis Green refused to break up, this season he’s had the chance to play with some new linemates. This has been an interesting experiment that has yielded some very positive results.
Tanner Pearson Stats (Natural Stat Trick)
Pearson with Miller has been the most interesting new duo and the two have produced some great results. They’ve been heavy on the forecheck and able to create turnovers in the offensive zone. Boudreau has played the two players together lots and they’ve put up results over a large sample size.
In the future, it’s encouraging that Pearson has shown the ability to play with different centres on the Canucks roster. His versatility is an asset that Boudreau can utilize to give opponents different looks. This bodes well for the rest of his contract as he can move up and down the lineup and make an impact in different areas.
Pearson’s future with the Canucks
Pearson proved a lot of Canucks fans and media members wrong this season. He’s been an important player for the organization and has been well worth his contract. He will turn 30 years old just before next season starts and will likely start the decline of his career soon. However, the fact that he thrived this season despite the team’s horrid start is encouraging.
A more complete effort from the Canucks from the start to the end of next season should result in more production from many players. Pearson could be a beneficiary of this bump and get back over that 20 goals marker. That would be huge for a Canucks team that won’t have spare cap space to spend on experienced depth pieces.
What do you think about Tanner Pearson? What do you think of his future with the Canucks?
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