Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Tocchet hopes to use Elias Pettersson and other stars less on Canucks penalty kill next season
7 months ago
Elias Pettersson emerged as one of the Canucks’ best penalty killers last season, but fans shouldn’t expect to see him there as much next season.
In an interview on noted National radio program Halford and Brough on the Sportsnet radio network, Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet spoke about the team’s penalty kill.
The Canucks’ penalty kill was historically bad last season, and while most of that came under the watch of Bruce Boudreau, it didn’t improve much under Tocchet and his staff, either. Of course, this has been an issue for a while and doesn’t seem like much of a coaching issue. The Canucks seemingly addressed this issue by targeting proficient penalty killers with their three NHL free agency signings of Carson Soucy, Ian Cole, and Teddy Blueger.
Despite Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, and Quinn Hughes both emerging as some of the Canucks’ best penalty killers this past season, Tocchet is clearly hoping that the team’s offseason additions allow he and his staff to push the Canucks’ two star players down the pecking order.
“It’s hard to keep them off,” Tocchet said when asked about the penalty kill. “Obviously, acquiring the three guys we did, there’s a couple [of] other guys on our team I think that will take a little bit more of a bigger bite on the penalty kill. We’ll save those guys. Save some miles on Petey, save some miles on J.T. and Quinn… I can sporadically put them out there, obviously situational. But I’d be crazy not to use [them]. You saw those guys when I put them together, J.T. and Elias.”
So while the Canucks will still use those players — as Tocchet said, they’d be crazy not to — they are certainly going to be hoping that they can be less reliant on their top guns to play shorthanded.
That being said, the Canucks were at times more dangerous shorthanded than they were while they were on the power play. Pettersson and Miller led the NHL in both shorthanded goals with five, and points with nine each last season. That being said, ice time for Hughes, Miller, and Pettersson was a hot-button topic last season, so any method of bringing down their ice time while not hurting the team should certainly be explored.
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