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Canuck Player Autopsy: Ryan Stanton

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Stanton is an NHL defenseman, or close to it, but so are Corrado and Clendening. Decisions, decisions....

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Who's this guy?

Ryan Stanton.  Stants.

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 196 lbs.

Born: In the Edmonton version of Surrey ( St. Albert ) on July 20th, 1989.  The 25 year old took an interesting route to the NHL.  As another of the defensemen the Canucks have plucked from the Black Hawks system, Stanton was signed, plucked stolen as an undrafted free agent in March of 2010, and progressed over the next three years with the Ice Hogs in Rockford, before being plucked off the waiver wire September 30th, 2013.  In all that time in Chicago, Stanton got into one NHL game on a deep blue line, but in his first season in Vancouver, he played 64 games, with a goal and 16 points.  In another year where the depth of the blue line was tested due to injury, Stanton played 54 games last year.  His goals ( 3 ) went up, but the points dipped a bit ( 8 assists for a grand total of 8 points ).  Not bad for a waiver pick up.

What'd he do?

He averaged about 16 minutes a game over his 54 appearances this year, and certainly was not a Corsi darling ( see the team defense here, and click around there for the advanced stats story if you so desire... ), as his 5 on 5 Corsi was the lowest of all the regular blue liners this past year.

With Stanton, you get the physical play of a guy his size ( though, at 6'2", he could probably put another 10-15 pounds on that frame and really make those hits hurt ), and a pretty underrated first pass.  The Corsi might concern some, but look at it this way. Maybe a guy that drops into and out of pairings ( mainly in, but not exclusively, on the third pairing ) is going to see his numbers take a bit of a hit.  Hell, his PDO of 101.7 was the best on the blue line !  Not to degrade the stats.  Math rarely lies.  But it might not tell the entire story as well.

All in all, Stanton progressed this year.  He had the worst Corsi on the back end, but his +9 was only bettered by Edler's +13 this past year.  For what it is worth, I do believe there is more to come from this player.  At 25, he is at that age where we often ( if they can take that next step ) see defensemen step it up a notch in their career.  That is not a certainty by any means.  But there is the potential there.

So was he any good?

Well, the numbers above and the eye test sometimes conflict on that question, don't they ?  I find that there is value in both, and that you can, in this day and age, find a stat to refute or support whatever your supposition is.  Sometimes it does come down to what you see with the player.  On the whole, I like what I see with Ryan Stanton.  He finishes his checks with "ooomph", he makes a good first pass, and his foot speed seems to have improved a bit over last year.

You basically get what was advertised with Stants.  He will work hard to finish his checks ( do the math on 93 hits and 113 blocks  for a healthy per game number ) and sacrifice for the team, as well as standing up for his teammates when needed.  Those are all sought after and admired qualities in a defender, and one that is just rounding into the age where he can possibly get better don't grow on trees.

What'd we like?

There was this...those are some pretty deft hands for a third pairing defender.

In today's NHL, defensemen have to be able to join the rush to create offense.  Nice shot too.

This is slightly bizarre, but what the hell. Stants and his roomie Tanev.  Did the questioner get in a sly double entendre with the "bigger skate" question ? lol

Cool. So what did we hate?

When you are bottom of one of the main advanced stat categories for for your position, there might just be something you can improve.  Consider that a third line pairing is usually the one ( especially on the road, but even at home as well against really big minute opposition.  A guy like, Getzlaf, for instance. is going to get those shifts where his coach gets him out against the third pairing, even on the road. ) that the other coach is specifically trying to get matchups against.  Those events are going to occur, depending on how a game is progressing, anywhere from once to five times a game.  If you are lingering near the bottom on your team at five on five Corsi, chances are there is room to improve in those situations.

So what now?

Ryan Stanton is an RFA, and that is only a part of the story.  With both Clendening and Corrado requiring waivers to be sent down next year, and with the Canucks having a fluid situation as far as Cap and line up, there could be any one of several ways the future plays out for the young defender.

The team could re-sign him ( he made league minimum the last two years ) with a qualifying offer and a slight bump, because, let's face it, RFA's don't have a ton of leverage.  While that is the most likely, they could trade his rights as well. Check out the list from our friends at PITB. I agree that their take on the numbers.  That list on the left side does look longer than the one on the right.  I also agree that the up and down season Stanton had solidified when he was paired with Clendening and / or Weber. Any time you can get the chemistry going, it will improve your game.  That might have been part of it last year for him.

I am not sure on whether he will be back or not.  He should be back.  I would like to see him back, and it is the kind of signing the cash strapped team could and should make.  He is, overall,good value as a depth defender.  I just wonder how much wheeling and dealing Trader Jim will do during the draft and free agency period.  He has a few different balls in the air already, and we have seen that the man will pull the trigger.  How that affects a player in Stanton's situation will be answered in the coming weeks.

Interesting times...