Travis Green might need some shades if the Canucks keep lighting the lamp at this current pace.
Terrible joke aside, the Canucks have been downright dominant on offence early in the season. They rank fifth in the league in goals, and only the Nashville Predators are scoring more goals per 60 minutes at even-strength.
Production hasn’t been a problem early in the season, with players such as Brandon Sutter, Josh Leivo and Tim Schaller providing some surprising secondary scoring depth. However, there are a couple of players on the Canucks who are bound to produce more on offence as the season progresses. I highlight four of those players below, with an emphasis on their even-strength production.
I hope you raise an eyebrow and briefly curse at me while you read this, before getting giddy over the fact that a player who has six goals and 13 points in 14 games should be producing more.
Although Horvat’s putting the puck in the net, he’s not really scoring at even-strength. Five of his six goals have come on the power play so far on that dangerous top unit. However at even-strength, Horvat only has one goal on 22 shots, for a shooting percentage of 4.5%.
The revolving door of wingers hasn’t helped Horvat’s even-strength production, but he’s bound to improve on that scoring percentage. His 2.13 expected goals per 60 minutes at even strength ranks fourth on the Canucks ahead of Miller, Pettersson, Sutter and Virtanen, who all have four even-strength goals a piece.
Here’s a guy who’s flown under the radar with the success that the team is having. After scoring twice and adding two assists in his first two games, Pearson has just two assists in his last 10 contests despite averaging more than 16 minutes of ice time per game.
It’s not for a lack of trying for Pearson though. He leads the Canucks with 32 even-strength scoring chances, and he’s also the team leader with 45 shots. His current shooting percentage of 4.4% is also well below his career average of 11.2%.
While he was never going to keep up the 21% shooting percentage from last season, expect Pearson to creep up back towards his career average as the season progresses.
Here’s the weird thing about Tyler Myers. Everyone expected him to produce offence but struggle in an expanded defensive role.
So far with a short sample size, the opposite has been true.
Myers is goalless with four assists in 14 games to start the season. However, he’s been a positive player on the defensive side of the puck. Myers is above the the 50% threshold for Corsi, scoring chances for and goals for. He leads all Canucks defencemen with a 56.4% Corsi.
With four assists at even-strength, Myers is averaging 0.8 points-per-60 at even-strength. He averaged 1.2 points-per-60 during his time in Winnipeg, so we should expect to see an increase in Myers offensive production in the weeks to come.
If you raised your eyebrows at Horvat’s inclusion on this list, hopefully this one makes you spit out your coffee.
On the surface, Hughes has been extremely productive for the Canucks with one goal and 10 points in his first 13 games. Similarly to Horvat though, the bulk of Hughes’s production has come with the man advantage.
Hughes has one goal and seven assists so far on the power play, but only two assists at even-strength. Only defensive stalwarts Jay Beagle and Jordie Benn are producing less points per-60 at even-strength.
Although Hughes isn’t much of a shooter, he’s on the positive side of the ledger for scoring chances and he’s beginning his shifts in the offensive zone more than any other Canucks defenceman. The power play production should continue, but look for Hughes to start showing up on the score sheet with more frequency at even-strength as well.