Tocchet’s top-DAWGs: The Vancouver Canucks’ DAWG ratings under head coach Rick Tocchet

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber
1 year ago
The DAWG ratings went into hiding in the second half of the season but we kept track and we have run all the calculations through the DAWG-rating formula.
We have the results and we are ready to share them.
There were certainly some impressive stats from the final 36 games of the year under contemporaneous head coach Rick Tocchet.
Elias Pettersson’s 48 points, his five shorthanded goals, Andrei Kuzmenko’s 20 goals, J.T. Miller’s 54.8% Corsi, Quinn Hughes’ 57.6% control of the goal share, Dakota Joshua’s 121 hits, or the team’s 20-12-4 record are a handful to name off the top.
But above it all, Tocchet wants north-south players, and he wants his team to play with grit and structure.
In other words, Tocchet wants some DAWGs.
And we have the numbers to tell you who the top-DAWGs were for the Canucks in the final 36 games of the season.
The DAWG rating is something I began working on in 2018 and it took a lot of tweaking to get to where we are today. For a more detailed explanation of the DAWG rating, check out this article from December.
To streamline the DAWG rating, it measures a player’s willingness to do the most for the team to win.
All (to)
The DAWG rating ultimately measures players being physically involved, their ability to set up offensive chances for their linemates, play in the first two-thirds of the ice in regards to moving the puck in the right direction, and also the ability of a player getting to the net for high-danger scoring chances. Statistics are weighed differently and the balance of scoring chances and physicality is both tracked from the six publicly available statistics as well as the manually tracked plays that weigh in on the equation.

The Formula

It’s a formula that tells us who has got that DAWG in them.
We still have work to do but after five years of on-and-off work, we feel pretty good about the results.
As for results, 100 is considered incredible for a season-long DAWG rating. You can surpass 100 and it often happens in one game samples but we only saw one player from the NHL be over 100 last season. (That player was Michael Pezzetta)
When it comes to a weak DAWG rating, 0 is horrendously poor but we saw a handful of occurrences this season where players like Riley Stillman and Oliver Ekman-Larsson would finish games with a negative DAWG rating.
An average DAWG rating seems to be around 44-48.
So, with that, I feel like we’ve covered the basics.
Without further ado, let’s see who Tocchet’s Top DAWGs were in his 36 games as the head coach.
We will first list off the top-five players, and then go through the forwards and defenceman in order of who ranked the highest.
Must have 50+ minutes of ice time with Rick Tocchet as the head coach to qualify.


Kyle Burroughs — 92.64
It didn’t come as a surprise to see Kyle Burroughs as the Canucks’ top-DAWG in the final 36 games of the season.
Burroughs sticks up for his teammates and had 12.32 hits per 60 minutes. He may not have added a ton of offence but played his role extremely well this year. Burroughs’ most consistent partner was Quinn Hughes over the final 36 games of the season. He played 160 minutes with Hughes and his second most consistent partner was Christian Wolanin, who he played 136:29 with.
The DAWG rating takes into account when a player sticks up for a teammate and nobody did that better than Burroughs this season. He’s a heart and soul type of player and clearly has that DAWG in him.
Dakota Joshua — 92.03
Through the final 36 games of the season, Dakota Joshua was a player who Tocchet seemed to praise but also challenge.
His combination of physicality and scoring chances created was a big reason why he came in as the number two on the team in the rankings.
Joshua is the type of player that Tocchet really likes and we won’t be surprised to see the Canucks target some other players for their bottom-six who have the type of DAWG in them that is similar to Joshua.
J.T. Miller — 85.00
A nice round number for J.T. Miller, who had 14 goals and 27 assists over his final 35 games of the season. He created a ton of scoring chances and was an important piece to the power play that saw some changes with Tocchet’s arrival.
Miller was a middle-of-the-pack DAWG when calculated his season numbers at Christmas. Miller had a 43.04 DAWG rating after the first 33 games of the season, so, seeing him come in with almost double the rating under Tocchet certainly bodes well for next season.
Nobody saw their DAWG rating rise higher under Tocchet than Miller. That’s good news.
Luke Schenn — 84.13
There’s a plain and simple explanation here, Luke Schenn is a DAWG.
Always sticking up for his teammates and he loves throwing hits.
He only played nine games for Tocchet.
Will the Canucks circle back on him in the summer?
Curtis Lazar — 80.39
Curtis Lazar threw a lot of hits but didn’t seem to work as a centre for the Canucks.
They ended up getting a fourth-round pick for Lazar at the deadline. That’s pretty rad.


Elias Pettersson — 72.53
Driving play, being physical, creating scoring chances. That’s what the DAWG rating is all about.
Elias Pettersson saw a slight jump from his time with Boudreau and we imagine he will be even higher next season.
He does well in the formula from the combination of his offensive play to go with his shot-blocking. No forward blocked more shots than Pettersson during Tocchet time.
Phil Di Giuseppe — 69.53
A nice opportunity came to Phil Di Giuseppe with the coaching change. PDG got a chance to play more power play time and spend the majority of his second half in the top-six.
The coach likes the way he plays and the
Aidan McDonough — 67.48
It’s a little bit of a surprise to see Aidan McDonough come in with a very solid rating. He was quite the scorer in the NCAA but seems to understand what he needs to do in the NHL to be successful. A big reason for the high rating is his play around the net in the offensive zone.
He may not have been on the ice that much this season but in a bottom-six role, McDonough was able to be involved in a lot of scoring chances.
We wonder how many NHL games he will play next season.
Sheldon Dries — 65.53
One thing about Sheldon Dries is that he is often involved in a lot of scoring chances. He may not have the finish but the chances per 60 are high with him on the ice.
Dries also throws a good amount of hits. He was fifth in hits on the Canucks under Tocchet. Dries was second out of all the forwards when it came to blocked shots.
We’re not sure about Dries’ NHL future as management has made it clear they are looking for a 3C to upgrade this roster. Dries will be a nice call-up option next season and call-up guys seem to have strong DAWG ratings.
Jack Studnicka — 59.11
Good hustle. He also shot the puck a lot. If he blocked more shots, he would probably be in the 70s.
Nils Åman — 58.43
It was a pretty impressive rookie season for Nils Åman. He didn’t throw a lot of hits but he was very good with body positioning in both ends of the ice.
We’re curious to see how he looks after an offseason of preparing for his sophomore season.
Vasily Podkolzin — 56.73
When Vasily Podkolzin is playing his best hockey, he is typically in the 80s or 90s in terms of his DAWG rating.
There just happened to be too many games where he came in with a 20-40 rating. Consistency is key when it comes to you end of season DAWG rating. We hope to see better from Podkolzin next season. He’s got that DAWG in him — he just needs to let the dog out.
Anthony Beauvillier — 47.20
He’s not very physical and missed the net on a lot of his shots.
Anthony Beauvillier was given a good run in the Canucks top-six and finished seventh in points through the final 36 games of the season.
He just lacks the physicality to have a high rating.
Conor Garland — 42.84
We think that Conor Garland gives off the vibe of playing like a DAWG but his numbers just don’t translate well through the formula. You want to see more offence and more consistent intensity. He has some games where he gets into the 80s but it’s not consistent at all.
Garland is more consistently in the 20-30 range and that heavily drops his season rating.
Vitali Kravtsov — 42.75
After coming in hot for a couple of games, the DAWG in Vitali Kravtsov ended up looking pretty average with some games where he was below 20.
In the first few games, Kravtsov gave some good ratings alongside his buddy Podkolzin. It just was not sustainable and Kravtsov slipped down into the 40s. You need to see a lot more from him if he wants to stay in the NHL and not end up in Arizona or even head back to the KHL.
Andrei Kuzmenko — 39.70
There’s obviously a ton of offence there but the DAWG rating needs to have some physicality, strong play in the defence zone during breakouts, and better decision-making in the neutral zone.
Andrei Kuzmenko has the offence but he lacks the rest that the formula craves.
Brock Boeser — 34.13
He may be the biggest lover of dogs on the Canucks but the DAWG rating formula is not the biggest lover of Brock Boeser.
He doesn’t hit, he doesn’t block shots, and though his offensive creation numbers are pretty good, it’s not good enough to bring him over a 34.13.
Bo Horvat — 30.66
A section of the fanbase is going to like this one.
Bo Horvat scored the lowest DAWG rating out of forwards who played for Rick Tocchet.
Maybe he will find that DAWG on the island. He’s got eight more years and 68 million dollars to figure it out


Cole McWard — 72.53
How about the kid showing that he’s got that DAWG in him as a 21-year-old?
Cole McWard was involved physically, even though he was on the receiving end of a lot of hits. He moved the puck well in the offensive half of the ice and looked like he’s an exciting project for the development team to work with in Abbotsford next season.
He had a good showing in the DAWG rating for his five games. Let’s see where this kid goes.
Noah Juulsen — 66.82
He there a lot of hits. No defenceman threw more hits per minute than Noah Juulsen.
Juulsen may get himself out of position due to some of those hits but the dude sure enjoys banging bodies by the boards.
There was just no offence there.
Ethan Bear — 64.36
A DAWG rating gets a nice bump when a defenceman can move the puck well and that’s why Ethan Bear comes in with a 64.36 rating.
He doesn’t throw a lot of hits but he defends the rush well and he earned some points from that.
Akito Hirose — 54.98
Calm, cool, and decent in the DAWG rating. Akito Hirose was impressive enough to earn a chance to battle for an NHL spot next season.
Changes in the offseason and the return of Oliver Ekman-Larsson likely pushes Hirose into the AHL to begin the year.
Guillaume Brisebois — 46.02
Good for Guillaume Brisebois to get some games. In terms of having that DAWG in him, he’s the definition of meh.
We will probably see him get NHL games in the future. Injuries always happen.
Quinn Hughes — 40.90
This is why we say that the formula isn’t perfected.
Quinn Hughes certainly has that DAWG in him. He played an average of 26:14 in the 36 games under Tocchet and unfortunately, the formula doesn’t love his stat line but the manually-tracked numbers we have to get to finish the formula loves Hughes’ play.
He’s a DAWG and one of the reasons why we will continue to tweak the formula through the offseason.
Christian Wolanin — 38.12
We like the way that Christian Wolanin moves the puck and think he might be a good option as the 6/7 defenceman on the NHL roster next season.
He is just not physical at all. And you need that to be a DAWG.
Jack Rathbone — 36.94
Basically, exactly what we said about Wolanin but Jack Rathbone blocks almost twice as many shots, so that’s good for the formula.
Filip Hronek — 34.74
He didn’t play many games but he played a lot of minutes in those games.
We’re very curious to see where Hronek ranks next season.
Just for fun, we ran his numbers from the last three seasons. His DAWG rating from the last three seasons is 44.91. We will have to see what the numbers turn into as his Canucks career continues.
Tyler Myers — 33.82
He actually had some pretty good games in terms of his DAWG rating this season but Tyler Myers also has quite a few no-shows when it comes to physicality.
He does block a lot of shots, though — more shots than any Canucks defenceman at five-on-five. The formula likes that.
Riley Stillman — 19.67
There were three or four games this season where Riley Stillman was in the negatives. He had a couple of games where he scored fine on the formula but most nights, he was a liability in his own zone and it showed in his DAWG rating.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — 6.91
It’s not nice to be the low man on most nights, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the hissing cat to the DAWG rating formula. The two do not get along.
OEL played in nine games for Tocchet, he had 171:45 of ice time and threw a total of three hits.
That’s not good for the formula.
On top of that, nobody blocked fewer shots than OEL. In 139 minutes of five-on-five with Tocchet as his coach, OEL blocked one shot. There were 117 shot attempts against him during that aforementioned timeline.
He also missed the net a lot and simply did not have that DAWG in him.
That’s all we got! We will continue to tweak the DAWG rating through the offseason but we feel pretty confident about the results this season.
Tocchet definitely had that DAWG in him when he played and with a full offseason and training camp, we expect to see some higher ratings during the 2023-24 season.

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