The Statsies: Canucks’ honeymoon phase with Rick Tocchet ends in jarring fashion

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
Be sure to check out NHL betting odds site Betway for all the latest Canucks game day odds!
Wow. There’s exiting the honeymoon period, and then there’s this.
The Vancouver Canucks lose their first game against the Seattle Kraken, this time by a thumping margin of 6-1. The analytics show that the loss was just as ugly on paper as it was on the eyes. Vancouver simply just got outplayed against an expansion team they were supposed to be competing against for a playoff position. Obviously, it will take time for Tocchet to implement his systems and for the changes to show on the ice, but this one was a dud of a result.
Here’s the loss by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

There aren’t any surprises in this game flow chart. The Kraken took the wheel early and steered this one home without any trouble at all, taking the puck possession advantage along with the expected goals. In fact, the first period was so dominant that Seattle held a 71.43 CF% edge, a 90.48 SCF% share, and a 92.00% xGF% rating. These are numbers that would send any coach apoplectic with rage, and set the tone for the rest of the game.
There wasn’t much promise through the other two periods either. The second was marginally better than the first period, and the third saw an inflation of the Canucks’ stats thanks to three powerplays in a single frame, driving their xGF up to 1.25. Even then, Vancouver was still giving up 4 high-danger chances while only recording 2 of their own.

Heat Map

The picture doesn’t get any better when looking at the heat map. Starting in their own end, the Canucks gave up a pretty large patch in front of their own net, par for the course so far this season. It might not be as concentrated as previous games, but it still is a glaring issue for this defence to address. As well, the fact that there was a hot spot from inside the left faceoff circle, as well as from the right point, suggested that the Kraken were able to exploit missed coverages by the forwards to get shots on net. These areas are normally picked up by wingers, which has been a struggle for Vancouver this year.
Offensively, there’s not much to talk about. That’s not an exaggeration, as the Canucks literally didn’t even have a single hot spot to talk about. Vancouver got out-chanced 40-15, an 18-4 differential in high-danger chances. It sucks, considering how they have beaten this team in the past and shown that they can win these games. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of change behind the scenes, and the chaos is translating heavily into the on-ice product.

Individual Advanced Stats 

Corsi Champ: Andrei Kuzmenko finished as the leading Corsi man on the Canucks yet again, his 61.76 CF% easily in front with a 28.01 CF% rel to the team average. He did see some favourable deployment to get these results — 8 of his faceoff starts being in the offensive zone — but credit to the Russian for constantly being a consistent, good option on the flank for this Vancouver team. Whether you agree with extending him or not, Kuzmenko has not been bad for the Canucks this year often.
Corsi Chump: Holy crap. I didn’t expect it to be this bad, but it was a lot worse than I anticipated. Travis Dermott brought up the rear in the Corsi department with a 16.67 CF%, good enough to give him a -34.52 CF% rel. Yes, this Canucks team got out-possessed, which makes this number look all the worse. His xGF% rel wasn’t awful, due mainly to the fact that the entire team’s average was horrific, but a 0.31 xGF and a 0.76 xGA won’t cut it. Paired with Kyle Burroughs, Dermott gave up 13 scoring chances against while only directing 3 the other way.


xGF: Surprise, surprise. Though it wasn’t him breaking Martin Jones’ shutout, it was Andrei Kuzmenko who generated the best xGF% of any Canuck, a 63.77, putting him 12 percent ahead of second place. In fact, he was one of only three players to have a positive xGF% share, implying that Vancouver was more likely to score when he was on ice than concede. Kuzmenko had 7 scoring chances for and 6 against, but only one scoring chance for was high-danger and three were high-danger chances against.
GSAx: This one sucks for Spencer Martin. His team left him out to dry, though the Kraken weren’t able to pump up his numbers either. With 6 goals conceded on 3.11 xGA, Martin’s GSAx finishes the night at a -2.89, meaning that Vancouver essentially had three goals that didn’t deserve to be tallied up. A lot of this is probably because of the 2 low-danger and 2 middle-danger goals that Martin gave up, outweighing the 2 high-danger goals that went past him. The model shows that he simply wasn’t good enough, with teams knowing which spots to pick.

Statistical Musings

Trying things out: Tocchet threw the lines in a blender again to see if he could get a spark going against Seattle. Unfortunately, out of the 8 combinations that he tried, none of them really worked. The Joshua-Lazar-Garland line did grab the Canucks a goal in this one, but only spent 2:42 together for the entire game. Only two combinations posted over 50.00 CF% through their time together, and the two that did saw less than three minutes of ice time. It can’t be expected that the forward lines would have the same chemistry playing under Tocchet as Boudreau – but when even Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Mikheyev starts throwing up 35.71 CF% and 22.40 xGF%, it’s not good.
Missing Bear: The lack of Ethan Bear in this Canucks lineup has been jarring. With Kyle Burroughs back in the lineup, the combinations are not working out, especially in this game. Burroughs and Dermott finished as the lowest CF% holders, while OEL-Myers posted a putrid 17.98 xGF% together, giving up 5 high-danger chances together at 5v5 play without anything going the other way. The only pairing that didn’t have issues was Hughes-Schenn, mostly thanks to Hughes’ contributions. Bear’s presence and puck retrieval abilities are a key component to making this back end look decent, and his absence is sorely costing the Vancouver team.
Boeser’s defence: Was not every good against the Kraken. Granted, every other player didn’t do their greatest work, but this one was of particular note. Boeser conceded a team-high 17 scoring chances against, a staggering 10 of them considered high-danger. His performance could actually explain why there was a hot patch in the right faceoff circle, an area of the ice that Boeser should’ve been covering. Meanwhile, offensively, the winger only managed to direct 2 scoring chances towards the net, none of them recorded as high-danger.

As a team

CF% – 42.11% HDCF% – 27.27% xGF% – 18.18%
The Canucks simply got outplayed. Seattle came into this game ready to get a win over their I5 neighbours and dominated them from beginning to end. There was nothing good about this game. There wasn’t much positives to take away, the lack of pushback, team defence, patterns and habits that have been ingrained in this team. Truly, it is the best reflection of their play all year, and one that the new head coach will have to endeavor to correct.
Vancouver returns home, getting ready to face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Arena on Friday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

Check out these posts...