The Canucks just skated by the quarter pole which is a good time to take stock and gauge the road ahead.
There's obviously plenty that still needs to be accomplished. The West is tight as hell - they have 27 points for the NW lead and the 9th place Kings have 26 points - but their improvement on special teams (#1 PP & #5 PK) has been a welcome change. With luck some of the struggling wingers (Raymond, Samuelsson, Burrows) will start finding the back of the net, Tambellini can prove he belongs and our bottom six continue that sexy combination of contributing offensively while remaining responsible defensively (suck it Hordichuk). Salo should be back soon and our defense is slowly gelling into the corps we hoped for.
All in, it could be better but it could be far worse.
After the jump, an explanation of my few selections for the quarter pole. If I missed a player, drop it in the comments with your explanation.
Don't fear, we'll do the much more enjoyable least worthy of MVP next...
Henrik Sedin: The whole point of hockey is scoring and Vancouver is sixth best in goals per game with much of that, as expected, falling to the twins. The two have a combined 54 points which translates to 46% of the team's total production. Both are tied for 7th in the league in scoring, but the stark difference is how: Henrik is #1 in the league with 25 assists (conversely his two goals are ugly). He also leads all Canucks skaters at ES TOI per game.
Daniel Sedin: Dank, unlike Hank, is scoring. His 13 tallies are essentially 1/5 of the team's goal production and ties him for 5th best in the league. His six PP tallies are 30% of the team's PPG production and ties him for third best in the league (with Semin and Giroux). At this rate he'll score 49 goals, crushing his previous career high by 13. Not surprisingly he leads all forwards in PP TOI and all skaters in offensive zone starts.
Ryan Kesler: The LORD started slow, but he's been saddled with struggling wingers since the puck dropped in October. It's a wonder he's been able to score ten times (2nd best) and four PP goals (also 2nd best). Since the team has invested in a stronger third line, his Corsi QoC and defensive zone starts have taken a hit. Nevertheless he's still valuable in all on-ice situations, a force from the dot (takes more faceoffs than anyone else and is second behind Malhotra at 58.9%), leads all forwards in blocked shots (29), fifth in hits (26) and second in SOG (67). In short: Kesler is batting clean-up all over the rink.
Cory Schneider: There isn't much to being a back-up, but Ginger Jesus has shown he was well worth the wait. Ignoring the Chicago meltdown where he appeared in relief, you can only point at the Buffalo game as his weakest outing and even that was far from a bad effort. Schneider has given the league's most expensive player (Luongo) some stiff competition and looks more than capable to handle regular NHL duties.
Alexander Edler: Our E-Train has finally arrived. His stats speak plainly: leads all blueliners in points (15), assists (13), shots (53), blocked shots (50) and leads the defense in ES TOI, PP TOI and offensive zone starts. He's currently 10th in points for blueliners in the league, tied with Jack Johnson and Duncan Keith. He's our most versatile defenseman and is averaging close to two minutes more per game than last season. When in doubt, AV has Edler on the ice and it shows the confidence level the coaches have in the 24 year old's fifth NHL season.