Welcome to Tuesday’s With Bondi, a weekly column where I will go over some thoughts I’ve had on the Vancouver Canucks and answer reader questions as well. Have a question you want to be answered? Put it in the comments below or tweet at me @nickbondi.
Have Faith In Green
Owner Francesco “Frank the Tank” Aquilini tweeted out his support of “Jim, Travis, and this group,” prior to Saturday’s game against the Flames.
I have full confidence in Jim, Travis, and this group. I have no plans to make changes. #WeAreAllCanucks— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) February 14, 2021
You know the easiest way to show you have Travis Green’s back right now? Give him a contract extension. Show him tangible proof that you have his support that whatever happens in this season, he will be here in the future.
And for those saying Green is the problem — he would probably be hired immediately if he was a free agent. He has a reputation for developing young players that a team going through a rebuild/retool would love to have. Under his coaching, he’s had three straight players be nominated for the Calder, with one of them winning it.
Let’s not forget — back before the 2018 training camp, there were serious discussions of Elias Pettersson starting on Brandon Sutter’s wing to learn the defensive game. Travis Green said fuck that, put him right at centre and the rest as they say his history.
The Trials and Tribulations of 5v5 Play
I mentioned this on Power Of The Towel, but the Vancouver Canucks have been anything but boring this season.
They’ve scored the most goals at 5v5 and also let in the most against. Pucks have been going in the Canucks net at an extremely high rate, highlighted by their league-worst 51 goals against and 38% expected goals-for percentage.
Not to mention the off-ice drama that’s worthy of its own soap opera.
Perhaps their new system where their third forechecker remains higher in the zone can help fix their goal conceding woes. But if last night’s game is any indication, it will only really work if the Canucks are up or tied in the game.
Nate Schmidt actually hasn’t had that bad of a season.
At 5v5, he’s played the second-most minutes and has an even goals-for percentage and a shade below even percentage in high danger scoring chance share when he’s on the ice.
His most common partner has been Alex Edler and it’s worked out tremendously. They have a 63% shot share while on the ice at even strength, an XGF% of 62%, and an SCF% of 59% of pairings who have played 120 minutes this season. That ranks 1st, 1st, and 2nd respectively.
And yet, he seems to make eye-popping mistakes that can make people gloss over that. Take last night’s game against Calgary for example, where he did his best impression of Dan Hamhuis’ own goal on Luongo.
Some brutal puck luck has clouded over that Schmidt was an excellent addition to this team. But it’s fair game to question if these numbers will last all season — we all know Alex Edler isn’t getting any younger, and that could be a factor heading into the stretch drive of a compressed schedule.