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Analyzing what the Canucks might like about Wild forward Brandon Duhaime

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Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
1 month ago
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported yesterday on the DFO Rundown that while his availability is in question, the Vancouver Canucks have been keeping close tabs on Minnesota Wild forward Brandon Duhaime. 
Still very much alive in the playoff race, the Minnesota Wild currently sit in fourth place in the wild card, just four points back of the Nashville Predators. Some may question why the Wild would become sellers when the last wild card spot in the West is very much within reach.
Well, we’re going to explain why the Wild can afford to move on from Duhaime while still fighting for the playoff spot — but first, let’s learn about the player himself.

Brandon Duhaime

Duhaime is a 6’2, 200-pound left winger who can be described as a power forward. He has registered 116 hits at 5-on-5 this season, only trailing Marcus Foligno in hits and hits/60 on the Wild. 
Not only does Duhaime throw the body, but he also throws his fists. With seven fights this season, Duhaime is tied for sixth in fighting majors in the NHL this season — just two behind Nicolaus Deslauries and Andreas Englund for the league lead.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Duhaime leads the Wild in penalty minutes (64) when he is among the league leaders in fights — he’s fairly disciplined when it comes to minor penalties. Duhaime has only taken seven minor penalties this season and ranks seventh highest on the Wild in minor penalties/60 (0.88) at 5-on-5. 
Playing on the top-line penalty kill with Joel Eriksson Ek, Duhaime is first off the bench when the team is short-handed and second on the team in short-handed time on ice. Looking through his career splits, this level of penalty killing is a new quality to his game that Duhaime has added this season. Averaging 2:05 minutes of penalty kill time per game this season is more than double his career average of 45 seconds before this season. 
The Florida native has struggled to put points up on the board this season, with just four goals and six points in 58 games. It’s the physicality and defensive prowess he brings that makes Duhaime so appealing.
For a big-frame player, Duhaime can fly. Using data provided by NHL Edge, we can see just how fast he is as a skater and where he ranks among other NHL players.
While his top speed of 22.52 MPH is fast, ranking in the 68th percentile of all NHL skaters, it’s the number of speed bursts of 20+ MPH that is most impressive. He ranks in the 83rd percentile in speed bursts but in the bottom 50th percentile in actual skating distance.
Here’s what this means: Duhaime only averages 10:29 minutes of time on ice, resulting in his skating distance ranking among the lower end in the league. Despite the minimal ice time, he ranks in the 83rd percentile in the amount of speed bursts north of 20 MPH — indicating that when he’s on the ice, he’s consistently skating at a high speed.
Duhaime can be defined as a speedy defensive winger who’s eager to throw his big frame around and can fight — sounds like a Rick Tocchet-type player, doesn’t he?

Where Does Duhaime Fit On This Canucks Roster?

When looking into this Canucks roster, where do you think Duhaime would fit? 
Here are the projected Canucks forward lines with a healthy roster.
Now, these aren’t what the lines currently look like with Dakota Joshua’s injury. It would be surprising with how the third line has played together this season that they would split them up with Joshua back in the lineup. 
This leaves three spots available on the fourth line for Ilya Mikheyev, Arshdeep Bains, Sam Lafferty, Nils Aman, Phil Di Giuseppe and potentially, Brandon Duhaime. 
That’s pretty crowded if you ask me. 
But what would Duhaime bring to the bottom six that the Canucks don’t currently have? 
It would be unfair to include any Bains numbers, as he’s only played three NHL games and has yet to play 60 minutes at 5-on-5 for these stats. 
With the lowest point total of the bunch, Duhaime lacks a bit offensively. Comparing these numbers may be a bit skewed, as Duhaime has played the majority of his ice time with Vinni Lettierri and Connor Dewar — while forwards like Mikheyev, Lafferty, and Di Giuseppe have seen stints in the Canucks’ top six this season and in turn, have bumped up their offensive stats. 
It’s safe to say that the Canucks aren’t interested in Duhaime for his offensive abilities. It’s his penalty killing and physicality that is catching the eye of this Canucks management team. 
Duhaime brings a dominant physical defensive game, and is tough to play against, and the Canucks currently lack that type of player when you look at their bottom six forwards. Duhaime plays the type of hockey that you see excel in the playoffs.
If the Canucks were to add this player, they would have three forwards who rank in the top 22 in hit totals at 5-on-5, the most of any time in the league: Joshua sits in sixth with 155, Miller is 19th with 128, and Duhaime is 22nd with 116. 
Having a bruiser on three of four forward lines would make this team a nightmare match-up for the opposing team’s top forwards in the playoffs. 
But if the playoffs are still within grasp for the Wild, why would they trade a physical player like Duhaime?

Why would Minnesota move on?

Here’s a look at the Minnesota Wild lineup when healthy.
With the likes of Marcus Foligno and Patrick Maroon, the Wild’s third line is intimidating enough for opposing teams to go up against. Now add in the ever so difficult-to-play-against Joel Eriksson Ek, along with the chippiness Ryan Hartman and Frederick Gaudreau bring to the lineup, this gives the Wild a player with grit on every line and ultimately makes someone like Duhaime expendable. 
Another factor for this move stands out when looking into the Wild’s depth scoring — or lack thereof. 
Outside of the top six, only Marco Rossi (who has had multiple stints in the top six) has more than 30 points. Moving out Duhaime and his $1.1M contract would give the Wild $1.5M in cap space to bring in a potential depth scoring option to help for a playoff push. 
It remains to be seen whether the Wild will move on from one of their top penalty killers, but it’s encouraging to see this management team go after a player with physicality and fighting in pursuit of what is hoped to be a long playoff run. 
With one year remaining on his $1.1M contract, and just six points on the season, the cost and acquisition cost Duhaime demands wouldn’t crush the Canucks to make this add. 
So what do you think Canucks fans? Would you like to see this management group go after a bottom-six gritty fighter in Brandon Duhaime?

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