What would each Canucks’ statline look like if they had played a whole season under Bruce Boudreau?
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
After going 9-15-2 through 26 games under coach Travis Green to start the 2021/22 season, the Vancouver Canucks have gone 20-8-4 since Bruce Boudreau took over. That gives them the ninth-best record in the entire NHL over that same period of time, and that’s allowed them to rise from the dregs of the Pacific Division into genuine playoff contention.
It’s not just the team as a whole that’s performing dramatically better under Boudreau’s guidance. Most, if not all, individual players also seem to have a lot more to give for their new coach than they did for the old one.
Which is why all those in the Canucks fanbase and mediasphere can’t help but wonder what the 2021/22 season could have looked like if Boudreau were at the helm for the entirety of it.
Which is also what we’re here to figure out today.
We’ll begin with a caveat, because this is far more of a thought experiment than any sort of true scientific measure. We’re just going to take each notable skater’s production pace since Boudreau took over, and extrapolate it over 82 games.
Obviously, in any real season, it wouldn’t be quite so simple. Some players’ production will drop off, injuries and illnesses will occur, and nothing ever works out the way it is mathematically projected to. Some players, like Brock Boeser and Tyler Motte, couldn’t have played a full 82-game schedule, and we’ve got more than a full roster’s worth listed, but you’re just going to have to ignore all that.
We’re also leaving the goalies out of this, because this was enough math for one night.
Think of this as a fun, not-entirely-accurate, purely-hypothetical glimpse of what might have been if it were “Bruce, There It Was!” in addition to being “Bruce, There It Is!”
We’re heading into the Boudreau-Verse.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||15||22||37|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||34||29||63|
Under Boudreau, Boeser is scoring goals at a rate just shy of his torrid rookie pace. At this rate of production, he looks worthy of a contract in the range of that qualifying offer — which looked pretty daunting a few months ago.
Boudreau has brought out the sniper in Boeser again, and restored his value as a genuine top line winger.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||4||4||8|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||0||16||16|
We can’t really make too much of Burroughs’ smallish sample size here, but it probably suffices to say that he gave Boudreau no reason not to trust him in the lineup before going down with an injury. Both Green and Boudreau gave Burroughs about the same amount of opportunity, so clearly he’s doing something right.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||12||12||24|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||10||7||17|
Chiasson has received a fair bit less opportunity from Boudreau as he did from Green, and his rate of scoring has ticked down a notch, too. Laying the numbers out like this makes it rather obvious that Chiasson doesn’t have much business in the top-six or on the power play, and it’s definitely a positive that Boudreau seems to mostly feel the same way.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||3||7||10|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||7||3||10|
Whether under Green or under Boudreau, Dickinson has an equally miniscule amount of offense to offer. No other Canuck has had a more miserable season, and the coaching change has had little, if any, positive impact on Dickinson’s performance.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||7||10||17|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||5||26||31|
The days of OEL potting 50 points from the blueline are almost certainly over. But with Boudreau behind the bench, Ekman-Larsson is once again putting up respectable numbers for a top-four defenseman. This production is still way out of line with Ekman-Larsson’s salary, but combined with his strong defensive play, it does make it more palatable.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||23||36||59|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||20||17||37|
Garland is one player that has taken a noticeable step back under Boudreau. Part of this is slightly reduced opportunity, as well as a continued lack of a shot on the power play. But Garland’s performance is also a factor. He needs a hot streak to get his numbers back on track, and he might just get one soon, as he’s still generating chances on a nightly basis.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||0||11||11|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||19||19||38|
Hamonic has quietly returned to Boudreau’s lineup and put up some rather sturdy play. His offensive pace is probably out of whack due to the sample size, but it stands as evidence as to how involved Hamonic is in the play — more reminiscent of his time on Long Island than his performance in recent years. He’s looking fine as Hughes’ partner for now.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||0||21||21|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||11||14||25|
Highmore barely played under Green this season, and his success on the fourth line under Boudreau is well-documented. This sort of production pace is just excellent for a player as far down the depth chart as Highmore, and that will be especially true if they can get him signed to an extension somewhere in the range of $1 million.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||16||16||32|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||10||7||17|
If there’s one player who has struggled to jive with the Boudreau system, it’s Höglander. Boudreau has gone as far as to criticize the young winger publicly, and Höglander has endured a couple of nasty skids under Boudreau’s critical eye. Höglander was having a bit of a down season under Green, but now it’s a full-on sophomore slump.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||23||20||43|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||37||31||68|
Horvat wasn’t having a bad season for Green — especially not given the context of his defensive responsibilities — but it was well below his own standard. Since Boudreau took over, Horvat is scoring goals as frequently as he ever has and clipping near a 40-goal pace, with several of those goals being of the clutch variety. A full season like this would constitute a career year across the board for the Canucks captain, who is stepping up right when his team needs him to most.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||7||62||69|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||8||66||74|
Hughes was having a great bounceback season under Green, and it’s only gotten better under Boudreau. Hughes is still on pace to break the Canucks’ single season scoring record for a defender, and he’s within the top-ten in leaguewide blueline scoring. Since Boudreau was hired, only four other NHL defenders have scored more points than Hughes.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||0||21||21|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||3||27||30|
Boudreau arrived with a reputation as a veteran-friendly coach, and that’s obviously worked wonders for the journeyman Hunt. Anytime Hunt hit the ice for Green, he struggled, but Hunt has carved out a regular role in the lineup for Boudreau, and is putting up some of the best numbers of his well-traveled career, albeit in a sheltered role.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||0||4||4|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||16||13||29|
Lammikko looked lost on the ice during the early stages of the season, but he’s fully blossomed under the guidance of Boudreau. Lammikko has been the centerpiece of the Canucks’ famed energy line, and in addition to all that forechecking and turnover-forcing, he’s been putting up what would constitute strong production for a third line center. Few, if any, other players have responded as well to the coaching change.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||26||49||75|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||39||80||119|
Unlike most Canucks, Miller was having a good season under Green. Since Boudreau took over, however, it’s been something else entirely. He’s scoring goals at a nearly 40-goal clip, and he’s potting nearly an assist-a-game. Had Miller played at his Boudreau pace for an entire 82-game season, he’d beat Henrik Sedin’s single season scoring record of 112 points. Before Boudreau, Miller was in the running for Team MVP. Post-Boudreau, Miller has been playing like a Hart Trophy candidate.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||16||8||24|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||12||15||27|
Motte, like Highmore and Lammikko, has earned heaps of praise for his performance as part of the Canucks’ hard-skating fourth line. The only real difference between he and his linemates is that Motte was already scoring at a rate like this for a while before the unit came together. His production has seen a minor uptick under Boudreau, but really Motte is the same ol’ Motte he’s been for the past few seasons — and that’s a good thing.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||0||20||20|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||2||17||19|
Myers has undoubtedly played better for Boudreau than he did for Green this season, and he’s performing admirably as a top-four defender in a semi-shutdown role. But the offense still isn’t coming for the once-potent giant. If Myers could figure out how to add a little more scoring to his game, it would go a long way toward making the Canucks a more dangerous team, because he’s pulling down some huge minutes.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||13||13||26|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||22||33||55|
Pearson hasn’t earned a lot of press for his performance in the Boudreau Era, but that’s probably due to his reserved professionalism. The reality is that Pearson has been scoring at a career pace since Boudreau took over, and doing the bulk of it at even-strength, to boot. Folks keep waiting for the bottom to fall out on Pearson, and it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Maybe he’ll make that contract extension worthwhile, after all.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||13||26||39|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||34||39||73|
The word is out. Pettersson is back, and Boudreau’s the one who brought him back. While a full recovery from his wrist injury is partly to credit for Pettersson returning to his scoring rate of seasons past, he’s also very clearly responded well to Boudreau’s coaching style. The 73 points he’s paced for under Boudreau would be a career high, and he’s at right about the same pace as his vaunted rookie season.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||18||3||21|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||12||12||24|
Podkolzin continues to figure it out at the NHL level. One gets the feeling that the points are eventually going to come for him, but it might not be this season, despite Podkolzin and Boudreau continuing to become more comfortable with one another. Podkolzin looks more confident and creative on the ice all the time, and that will be key to his production increasing over time.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||4||7||11|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||0||0||0|
Poolman did seem to play marginally better in his own end under Boudreau’s watch. He didn’t put up any offense whatsoever, but then that’s not really his bag, either. Poolman hasn’t been in the lineup enough to judge whether or not the Boudreau Effect can salvage his season.
|82-Game Green Pace||82||7||30||37|
|82-Game Boudreau Pace||82||5||11||16|
Schenn has cooled off a fair bit from what was obviously an unsustainably hot start. But he continues to be rock-solid on the blueline for Boudreau, and even continues to pop in a little more offense than he reasonably should. No coach has any room for complaints when it comes to Schenn.
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