The result should come as a surprise to no one.
A 7-2 loss at the hands of a full-strength Edmonton Oilers isn’t bad considering the strength of the roster that the Canucks iced, and their efforts don’t reflect the scoreline. However, this is the stats-based recap, so we’ll be taking a deep dive into the numbers behind the loss.
It’s not a bad game flow chart that we have at the end of this one. For a 7-2 game where an NHL lineup squared against an AHL one, it suggests that the Canucks were able to hang with the Oilers until halfway through the second. Perhaps it could be chalked up to fatigue, with Edmonton finally gaining the possession advantage to change the flow of the game.
Vancouver should also take note that their expected goals and possession disadvantage didn’t dip below -2, which is again impressive with Connor McDavid on the opposing team. In fact, McDavid was only held to a single assist this game.
This heat map comes as a familiar pattern during this preseason. The Canucks have given up a huge bubble in front of their own net yet again, with the majority of Edmonton’s goals coming from those high danger areas. Again, in a defence group where Christian Wolanin is your best option, that’s going to be expected.
That being said, the Canucks did manage to do some damage themselves in front of the Oilers’ net. That blue patch in the low slot shows that they were able to work the puck into dangerous areas, and that faint patch in the high slot indicates the team wasn’t afraid to have a go at it. It’s not bad, all things considered.
Individual Advanced Stats
Corsi Champ: Vasily Podkolzin takes home his second Corsi champ award of the preseason with another strong showing in the possession department. The Russian led the team with a 56.10 CF%, putting him at a 29.11 CF% rel. with his teammates. In a game where he was relied upon to be one of the primary options, Podkolzin really didn’t do too bad for himself. He managed to generate 9 high-danger chances for with a total of 16 scoring chances to his name. It’s yet another promising step in a good preseason for Podkolzin.
Corsi Chump: On the other end of the spectrum, destined-AHLer John Stevens got caved in the Corsi department. He just simply could not keep a hold of the puck in his 9:34 time on ice, a team low of 16.67 CF% to put him at a -26.36 CF% rel. Again, this should not be a surprise, as Stevens is a good AHLer but definitely not someone able to stick long-term in the NHL. Look for him to play a leadership role down in Abbotsford.
xGF: This game sees the other established NHL forward take the xGF award. Conor Garland led the team with an xGF% of 63.25%. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Vasily Podkolzin’s contribution. He led the Canucks in xGF with a 1.88. Funnily enough, Podkolzin put up a better xGF% rel in comparison to Garland, suggesting that the Russian was more impactful on the offensive end (41.13% vs 39.94%). Obviously both of them were probably going to see the most action offensively, and it figures that they contributed the most on this front.
GSAx: Colin Delia played this entire game from start to finish, and showed why he’s projected to be Abbotsford’s starter. On 36 shots against, Delia conceded 7 goals to a tune of 3.80 expected goals against. That means that his GSAx for this game is -3.20. This would’ve put Delia as the 73rd ranked goalie in the entire NHL last season that played a game, so it’s not actually the worst especially with the team in front of him. But, Delia clearly is going to be starting the year off in Abbotsford, so don’t read too much into this.
Wolanin continues to impress: Christian Wolanin seems to be a very good depth find by the Canucks. The defenceman once against auditioned strongly, posting a 48.84 CF% and CF% rel of 17.69% to finish third on the team. This is contextualized by the d-corps he played with, meaning that Wolanin’s team-leading 22:12 minutes were very well utilized. Wolanin also contributed the third-highest xGF (1.59) and posted two very nice assists. Keep an eye out on that bottom pairing battle to close off the preseason.
Hoglander-Aman-Nielsen — a combo to keep an eye on?: This one was a little interesting to me. Statistically, this line was the second worst in CF% (43.48%). However, they also posted the second-best xGF% (55.88) and xGF% rel (11.93). This group definitely had a rough start to the game and also were not done any favours by the roster around them, but a combination of Hoglander-Aman-Nielsen sounds like an absolutely nightmare to play against. Not only are they dogged on the puck, but there’s enough offensive upside for them to contribute occasionally. Nielsen is still on an AHL deal, but it’s not long until he earns a shot at the bottom six.
As a team
CF% – 38.46% HDCF% – 37.5% xGF% – 40.28%
The Canucks iced an inferior roster and simply got outplayed by every metric. End of story. Talk can be made of good efforts, and there are silver linings in this 7-2 loss. Vancouver will look to record their first win of the preseason Wednesday, October 5th against the Oilers.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com