The Statsies: Cole McWard shows well on the stat sheet against Oilers

Photo credit:© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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It’s the preseason, which means that the stat sheets are cooking once more!
Welcome back to the Statsies here on CanucksArmy— the analytics-based day-after recap of Canucks games that you never knew you needed. Here we take a look at some of the best and worst performers by the advanced stats and some interesting trends in the numbers.
During the regular season, Wyatt Arndt will be manning The Stanchies, the long-form humor recap that has been his staple. Think of this as the numbers perspective of the game, another piece in viewing the game from a different angle.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the Canucks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Though the game flow isn’t the prettiest to look at from first glance, generally speaking the Canucks were in a pretty even battle with the Oilers when it came to puck possession. Edmonton got themselves a big advantage in puck possession thanks to their second powerplay of the first period, but it should be encouraging to Canucks fans that not only did they prevent a powerplay goal, but were also able to bring the CF% differential back in their favour throughout the second and third periods. Overall, across all situations, Edmonton had a narrow 51.82 CF% to Vancouver’s 48.18 CF%.

Heat Map

What was neat about this preseason game was that the Canucks looked more defensively organized – and they were. The numbers back up the eye test as over the course of the game, Vancouver only gave up 11 high-danger chances on 25 total scoring chances, while they themselves put up 10 high-danger scoring chances on 30 total scoring chances. The Canucks actually had the better xGF% share throughout the 2nd and 3rd periods, all the while limiting the Oilers to just 4 HDC in total across those periods.
Another encouraging sign defensively was the 5v5 defence. There, Vancouver only conceded 5 HDCA on 17 SCA, essentially halving the total amount of high-danger opportunities that Edmonton was able to generate. It speaks to some early promise of Tocchet’s systems getting implemented, which hopefully bodes well for the regular season.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Stick taps to Cole McWard for being the best Corsi man the Canucks had last night. The former Ohio State Buckeye tallied a team-best 65.52 CF% riding alongside Quinn Hughes the majority of the night. McWard also had the 4th best xGF% (73.07) on the Canucks while being on ice for a 9-5 scoring chance differential. If there was one knock on his game last night, it was the fact that McWard conceded 2 HDCA with just 1 HDCF to his credit. Still, that’s nitpicking in an overall solid performance by the young defenceman.
Special shoutout to Christian Wolanin as the runner-up in the Corsi department. The AHL all-star shouldn’t be counted out as a depth contributor to this Canucks team should injuries hit again.
Corsi Chump: Unfortunately, Guillaume Brisebois did not make a good case for himself in this game against the Oilers. Paired up with Carson Soucy, Brisebois posted a team-low 27.78 CF% along with teams-lows in xGF% (21.95), SCA (13), and HDCA (6). To be entirely fair, it wasn’t as if he was particularly sheltered with the majority of forward matchup competition being the McDavid line. It’s hard to stop the best player in the world even on your best day, and Brisebois shouldn’t be expected to be a long-term NHL solution anyway.


xGF: Talking about improvements in players, it was Nils Höglander who sported the best xGF% (84.03) last night. The Swede looked engaged last night offensively and defensively, helping keep the Oilers to just 0.19 xGA last night, the best of any player on the Canucks roster. Höglander was on ice for 11 scoring chances for and 2 scoring chances against, with an impressive 7 HDCF and 0 HDCA to his name as well. In terms of raw xGF, Elias Pettersson led the way with a 1.18.
GSAx: Casey DeSmith was pretty darn solid last night. He racked up a 0.931 SV% against some of the more potent offensive players in the league, with the only two goals that he gave up being high-danger shots. DeSmith saw 2.56 expected goals against him, meaning that his GSAx stands at a solid 0.56, saving just over half a goal for the Canucks. Not bad at all – and what’s nice to see is that the team in front of him is keeping that expected goals against on the lower side as well. Obviously, it is the preseason, but there are promising signs all around.

Statistical Musings

A checking line in the making?: The only line that recorded an even CF% last night against the Oilers was, surprisingly, the Nils Åman – Teddy Blueger – Jack Studnicka combination. The trio broke even with 3 scoring chances for and 3 scoring chances against, eating up minutes and making sure the game was low-event. In fact, no high-danger chances were recorded going either way, which is usually what you want out of your defensively-oriented line. It wasn’t as if they were being protected – Studnicka spent the most time facing off against Connor McDavid during his time on ice.
Bains’ audition: Arshdeep Bains is probably a name that many didn’t expect to be in the conversation to crack this roster, and yet, it’s looking like the kid might just be a dark horse to do so. His game against the Oilers showed a lot of qualities that Tocchet was looking for, hustling on plays and never giving up on pucks. Bains recorded the second-best CF% on the Canucks lineup at 5v5 play, and though he was kept to only 8:08 TOI, don’t be surprised if Tocchet wants to see more of Bains before the preseason ends.

As a team

CF% – 48.18% HDCF% – 47.62% xGF% – 47.34%
The Canucks got slightly edged out on the stat sheet, and that much was reflected in a tight 2-1 overtime loss against a mostly-NHL team in Edmonton. It isn’t bad, especially at this stage of the preseason, and it’s a hell of a lot better than the 10-0 loss against the Flames the other night. There is a lot to look at from this game, with interesting trends emerging and players that are rising to the challenge to make roster decisions interesting come October 12th.
Next up, the Canucks head down to Seattle on tomorrow to take on the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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