I don’t have season tickets for the Canucks, but I did pay $150 for NHL Gamecenter so I could watch every game. I feel like I was robbed out of $10. This was a season of unexpected surprises and the feeling of déjà vu. People are going to focus on the playoff disaster and speculate on the repercussions. I am going to look at the regular season first and try to make some calm, analytical judgments and then let my anger take over.
Higgins - With 18 goals and 43 points, Higgins was asked to play in almost every type of situation and he usually did it with a lot of hustle. If he would have played as many games as Kesler, he probably would have had as many points. And he only cost $1.9 million.
Lappy – Last year Lappy joined the Nucks and fit into the bottom six nicely, adding the pest/grinder mentality that was key to getting to the SCF. This year he played on every line at some point and backed up his words with actual fisty cups. The Nucks take a lot of heat for chirping and at least Maxim was willing to throw down. His point total was up along with his F/O %. He was worth more than $1 million.
Hansen –The Dane took his new contract and played like was working for his next contract. His speed and willingness to take the body made him a fixture on the checking line. Throw in 16 goals to boot and I think he earned his $1.35 million.
Expectations met but not exceeded.
Hank – I expected lower point production this year from Hank. I figured the short off season and the ability of other to adjust yet again to the Canucks style would lead to a regression. Hank played great when Daniel went down and I will keep saying that maybe this is something that AV/new coach should explore some next year. Oh, one more thing….shoot the puck more often.
Bieksa – New career high in points this year was balanced out by his shitty play at the start of the year. Even a senile old fart like myself can remember how times Bieksa jumped up at the wrong time or took a stupid penalty.
AMFB – has it got the point that 30 goals is expected by Alex. I think so. The fact that the rest of the league hates you makes me want you to stay forever. Or at least until you leave because some crazy GM is willing to over pay you. You were the only one on the top line to increase their point production this year, but you should have had 30 goals.
Hammer – You and Kevin struggled mightly apart at times, but you ate minutes like I eat french fries. I think consistency with a partner may have helped you, but I won’t overlook the fact you had over 30 assists and lead the team in +/-.
Edler – This was your coming out party. With the German gone, you would get all the minutes in the world. You got first line PP minutes and seem to have caught Ehrhoff’s shooting sickness as your shooting % went down 2%. Maybe my expectation were too high but I was hoping for better defense (0+/-). I will get to your playoff performance another time.
Sami – You are the butt of so many jokes but we were not laughing when you were gone from the PP. I am calling this a healthy season for you. 69 games is your highest total in 8 years. Your 10 minutes in penalties show me that you out of position that often. It sounds like you may be done in Van which is too bad.
Need more viewing
Booth – Some would say that you played almost a full season with the Nucks and therefore I could give some sort of arbitrary grade. I am giving you a break for two reasons. One, you got thrown into a system where you had to utilize other players instead of taking the puck and driving to the net. Two, you would have never have known that there was a system in place playing with Kesler.
Grags – I like the fact you are not afraid to rush up with the puck. Unfortunately you remind me of Ehrhoff with the defensive lapses you create by jumping up. I am sure time with AV will change that.
Kassian – I would hate to be you. Some think you are supposed to replace the guy who was the future of the franchise. I personally think you will get more playing time than Hodgson ever would have in Van. Of course that means you will have to learn to put two hands on the stick when you have the puck.
Pahlsson – It would have been nice to watch you play a bit more to see if it would be worth it to keep you. But in the end I think you will cost too much for a guy who has lost a step and can’t score.
The three of D
Rome – You and your hands. When they are working, you are a threat to drop them and pretty good handling the puck. Unfortunately, your hands failed you this year. Stop trying to block and catch the puck like a goalie. I want you to stay at least for one more year.
Alberts – Any man that drives SCH crazy is worth keeping. I felt a little more comfortable watching you play this year. Both of your goals were game winners. Your positioning still needs work and I wish they could teach speed. But in the end you provide the defense with some minutes if AV needs it.
Ballard – I know that I will never see the 30 point Phoenix Ballard. AV just won’t allow you to free wheel up the ice and you won’t see PP time. Your contract has made you a target. I will be happy with you as long play better defense. I hope that is the end of concussions for you as well.
MayRay – My frustration over you play is probably less than your own. I joke a lot about snipers in the building, but something needs to be done about the falling down. You skate into offensive zone, do a sharp turn, lose an edge and hand over the puck. I give you full credit for coming back from the broken back, but at the same time, I want someone who is going to produce in a top 6 role for the Nucks. And you were so not the guy this year. And when you were asked to play a checking role, I cringed that all that speed was not beneficial. GMMG said you were injured, but I have seen consistent streaks of rubbish all year. It should be interesting to see what the Canucks do with you.
Kesler – I hear you were injured as well. And I believe it. In fact, I do not think you were fully healed when you came back at the start of the year and your speed never really came back. But what frustrated me the most this year was your unwillingness to pass on the rush. I tired of the drag move or wrist shot that was either blocked or deflected into the stands. Number of multiple goal games = 1.
Manny – I feel bad picking on another guy who worked his ass off to come back from serious injury, but I expected more. -11 was the lowest on the team and you were not even facing the oppositions better lines. I love you when it comes to faceoffs, but it kills me that AV has to hustle your ass off right after you win it.
Daniel – I know…you scored 30 goals. But that’s not enough. You played against the opposition’s easiest lines (corsi rel 22.5) and still didn’t manage a point per game. I think you took more of a beating from the playoffs last year and the lack of rest caught up with you at the end of Feb. Your assists were way down and maybe you can blame Hank for that since he won’t shoot. Or blame the PP since Kesler couldn’t score. Or maybe you miss the German. I hope you rest up this off season and come back and score 40+.
Lu – I love you Lu. Fuck the media. You are best we have ever had and your numbers were great again this year. There is no controversy in my mind, you’re the number one. And if I could find a team to take your salary I would trade you for some secondary scoring.
Ginger Jesus – I hope you stay. You showed you are ready for big games. I hope GMMG talks you into some game sharing scheme with Lu. Realistically I hope GMMG can trade you from some secondary scoring
***This review is totally my opinion and will have no effect on GMMG or AV…I think. You can argue with me but after watching 84 out of 87 games I am pretty set in my ways.