Who is this guy?
Born: St. Albert, AB, Canada
History: Signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent to a three-year entry level contract in 2010. Claimed off waivers by Canucks on September 30, 2013.
What did he do?
Stanton played in 64 games for the Canucks this season, scoring one goal and fifteen assists. Prior to this season, Stanton's NHL experience was a whopping one game for the Blackhawks on April 27, 2013. Like much of the rest of the team, he had a decent start to the year with 10 of his 15 assists coming from October through December. Without a doubt his highlight of the year was both his first (and only, thus far) NHL goal of his career on October 17 against Buffalo, and his three-assist night on November 22 against the Blue Jackets.
Was he any good?
16 points in 64 games is nothing to write home about, but keep in mind this was his first full season in the NHL. Patience is a virtue. When you compare it strictly to the team, Stanton's 15 assists were tied for ninth on the team along with Alex Edler and Zack Kassian and tied for fourth among Vancouver's defensemen. In my eyes, any amount of contribution is solid for a kid getting his first full season under his belt. Obviously, the number of goals aren't as important here, but it would have been nice to see him score sometime between October 17 and the rest of the season. To me, 15 assists in 64 games (about 19 if he had played all 82 games), is just fine for Stanton considering his career is just getting started. But, as you've heard me preach, I would like to see a little more consistency, and the same remains true for Stanton, who recorded just one point in the final two months of the season. Had he not gone so cold, he would've been a much bigger piece to this team.
What'd we like?
Here's Stanton's first NHL goal. Always a fun milestone to watch.
Good to see the kid has some fight in him.
There really aren't many videos out there of Ryan Stanton with the Canucks, so here's one more of a fight, because we all appreciate a good little scrum on ice.
Cool. So what did we hate?
There are two things I'd like to touch on in this section. First, Stanton just fell off a cliff come February. After suffering an ankle injury in December, Stanton wouldn't play again till the end of January, so that could've played a role in things. But still, one point in two months is just a waste of a roster spot. Second, remember that time Stanton scored three own goals in a week? Probably not the best week of his life. Two of those own goals came in one game against the Lightning on March 17. You know the old saying, when it rains, it pours. It was a Murphy's Law kind of week for Stanton as everything that could go wrong, did.
So what now?
Stanton will be owed $550,000 next season, so he's not exactly burning a hole in Vancouver's wallet. The next lowest-paid player as of now next season is Tom Sestito who is set to make $750,000. Stanton will be a restricted free agent after next year, so we'll see if he can deliver more consistent production next season. I've never been quite sold on Stanton and while it's hard to assess if a guy can be a part of a long-term plan after his first full season, but as of now I just don't see it. Who knows? Maybe he can prove me wrong next season.