WWYDW Preseason Predictions: Which Canuck will have the hottest start to the season?
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1 month ago
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Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet for which the soundtrack is always Earth, Wind, and Fire.
Speaking of the end of September, it’s already come and gone, and we’re officially into October and, more importantly, officially on the cusp of the NHL regular season.
This is that brief, narrow window between the offseason and the onseason in which anything is possible, hopes and dreams run wild, and the predictions come out to play.
And what better place for it than our newly-minted series, Preseason Predictions?
In case you missed last episode, we’re taking these last couple of weeks before the action really gets going to make some last-minute prognostications about the Vancouver Canucks season to come.
We’re trying to avoid those one-note answers that might leave us short on word-count, like “who’s going to score the first goal?” or “who’s the first to hit the LTIR?” Instead, we’re looking for predictions with a little more meat on them, and so today we’re talking streaking.
Every team, every year, has a Mr. October. That player who peaks early and has a red-hot start to the regular season that may or may not continue into the rest of the season.
Sometimes, it’s the player that you’d most suspect. Other times, it’s some dude you’ve barely heard of.
In any case, it’s gotta be someone.
In any case, it’s gotta be someone.
So, this week, we’re asking you to predict:
Which Canuck will get off to the hottest start to the 2023/24 season?
Let it be known in the comment section.
Who will be the Canucks’ SECOND-leading scorer in 2023/24?
You predicted below!
Can Andrei Kuzmenko who benefits from being on the Pettey line edge out JT Miller for #2 on team scoring? Might be tough. I like JT, and Boeser might actually help him this season, so I’ll say … no. JT Miller #2.
I think, much like EP is an obvious guess for the team’s leader in scoring, I think Miller is the easy pick for the second-leading scorer on the Canucks.
Quinn Hughes will come in second on points for the Canucks this year. It is his first year as Captain and he will take it seriously by never taking a shift off and leading by example. I think Miller and Kuzmenko are obvious choices for second, but I think Hughes will outpace them.
Elias Pettersson will crack 100 points again this year.
Miller is going to have his best year as a Canuck and will come in second.
The Canucks with the second-most points is Miller. It has to be, for the Canucks to have much success this season.
Kuzmenko will be in the running, but the top line needs a more balanced attack using both wingers. Hughes will be right up there. Hughes will get close if he carries the puck in deep more often. He distributes well and his shots, from the hash marks in, actually go in with some regularity. More movement on the PP really plays to his strengths.
Horvat’s PP shots will be distributed between the other PP forwards. Miller should get a few more points there. He will also have a better start to the season and begin putting up points right away. If Miller isn’t the second-highest point guy, it means the second line isn’t producing and Miller or his wingers aren’t performing.
Kuzmenko, Hughes, Miller.
Miller got paid, let the regression begin.
Quinn Hughes will be second-leading point scorer.
Assuming he’s in better shape to start the season, I’d say it’s Miller. If he was better prepared last year, I think he would have been in the 90-100 point range, again. By scoring, I’m assuming the author is referring to points and not goals.
J.T. Miller. I predict he will play as well under Tocchet as he did after Tocchet came on board last year. It’s possible he will be the top scorer if Petey wavers. I don’t think Quinn will score enough goals to be #2. I don’t think Kuzmenko will get enough assists to be #2.
Without a doubt, THE KUZ will be the second leading scorer: 90 points!
You can take that to the bank.
Honorable mention for Tyler Myers if you include his assists on the other team’s goals.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Barring injuries, I think that JT Miller will be the Canucks second leading scorer in 2023/24. Despite struggling defensively for the first part of last season, Miller managed to be very consistent in his offensive production throughout the season, with his production increasing after Tocchet came aboard, along with the Horvat trade.
Since the Horvat trade and Miller being moved to full time centre, Miller had 38 points in 32 games (+7), well ahead of Kuzmenko and Hughes (31 points in 33 games), who are the only two other players likely with the potential to finish second in Canucks scoring. While it’s certainly possible, and perhaps even likely, that Hughes and Kuzmenko increase their point totals next season from last, the same can be said of Miller, too. Miller has already shown he can be a 100-point player, and with Mikheyev returning (hopefully) full-time, he could have a more offensive linemate to play with than Di Giuseppe, whom was his primary left winger after moving to center.
Stepping in both to pad the word-count and to inject one more vote in favour of captain Quinn Hughes.
There’s little doubt that Hughes is going to continue to carry the puck and set up plays in much the same way that saw him rack up the fifth-most(!) assists in the entire NHL last season.
Then there’s the advent of Hughes, the goal-scorer. He’s going to score more in 2023/24, and more goals means more points. But just by shooting more, in general, Hughes is bound to also create a lot of rebounds, and those rebounds can be converted into…you guessed it, even more assists.
Point-per-game status seems almost in-the-bag for Hughes. We don’t even want to speculate as to where the ceiling might be, because there ain’t one.
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