Over the past week or so, NHL season resumption talks have really picked up steam. It seems like we may have some actual hope that the season will be played out.
In memo to players and teams today, #NHL says it "may be able - provided we continue to trend favorably" move to Phase 2 and open facilities in "mid-to-later portion of May."— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) April 29, 2020
Players currently outside of club city should "consider whether to plan to return to their Club cities."
This won’t be NHL hockey like anyone’s ever seen before. Some details are still up in the air, but there are some unusual ideas in play. Hub cities, definite games without fans, and a possible expanded playoff format are all being considered by the league as we speak.
It seems like the NHL’s goal is to play out the remaining games in the regular season. If that is at all possible, the Canucks have 13 games remaining before the playoffs, whatever form those may come in.
If the league isn’t able to play the last portion of the regular season, there are decent odds that the format chosen by the NHL will be to go straight to the playoffs. The logical seeding for the playoffs would be based on points percentage (the Canucks would be the 3rd seeded team in the Pacific). So let’s hope they choose that route so we don’t have the Canuck-like opportunity to choke away a playoff berth.
In any case, let’s take a look at how some of Vancouver’s top scorers have fared after returning from unexpected hiatuses in their careers.
Petey has a pretty small sample size here, as he has only missed substantial periods of time twice so far in his career.
The first was after Florida’s Michael Matheson viciously hit him, and he was sidelined for two weeks. In his first 10 games after the injury, he put up 5 goals and 4 assists for a pace of almost a point-per-game. Keep in mind, though, that his magnificent 5-point night against the Avs was in this stretch of games, inflating that point total.
His second injury last year kept him out for about two-and-a-half weeks after getting tangled up with Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi. In his first 10 games after that injury, he put up 4 goals and 7 assists for a total of 11 points.
Again, this maybe isn’t the best reference for Petey since he really hasn’t had any unexpected time off quite like what the players are dealing with now. However, if the results from last year are any indication, we can expect standard Petey after the break — right around a point-per-game.
Bo has only had one major injury so far in his career — a broken foot in December of 2017, which kept him out of the lineup for about a month and a half. Coming off of that injury, Horvat put up 3 goals and 3 assists in his first 10 games, a little shy of his usual pace.
If the season returns, I think we can expect a hungrier Horvat than usual looking to make a statement that the Canucks have arrived on the playoff scene. But like almost everything during this pandemic, that’s a big if.
It seemed like Toffoli was just getting into his groove as a Canuck when the league hit pause on the season. The 2014 Stanley Cup champion winger had put up 6 goals and 4 assists in his first 10 games as a Canuck, including a big overtime winner in Montreal at the end of February.
Going back to his time as an LA King, Toffoli was out with a lower-body-injury in late 2016 for about 6 weeks. After the hiatus, he only scored 4 points in his next 10 games, well off of his usual pace. That hiatus also came at a time in which he was finding his game — he had recorded 5 points in his last 5 games leading up to the injury.
Time will tell if we get hockey back, but the break seemed to come at the worst possible time for a new Canuck just hitting his stride with the team.
Going back to last season, Boeser missed 4 weeks with an injury in November. After the injury, Brock came back on a tear, scoring 8 goals and 4 assists in his first 10 games back.
I think this break could potentially be good for Boeser’s game. After all, he’s coming off of a rib injury which sidelined him for a month before the shutdown, which came after his first game back against the Islanders.
He was also in the midst of maybe the deepest slump of his career, having only 2 points across his last 12 games played.
Coming back into whatever mid-pandemic hockey could entail, it might feel like a brand new season for Boeser. I’d expect a strong rebound from “The Flow”.
This hiatus is unlike anything any player has ever experienced, so it may not be fair to compare post-injury play to the potential of post-lockdown play. Still though, it’s worth a look for a team that should be fully healthy if hockey comes back.
I’m especially intrigued to see what this team may be able to do, especially due to Marky’s return in goal as well as the insertion of a healthy Ferland back into the lineup.
Jim Benning says Micheal Ferland is doing well, training and if the season was to start in the summer, "he'd be at 100% and be able to come back and play."— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) April 29, 2020
We don’t know what form the potential return of the NHL will take this summer, so why speculate. But, at least there’s now hope, which is why it’s worth a look at some of the Canucks offensive stars might handle the return.