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HSH’s Canucks Scouting Report (Pro-Con-Clusion #22): Top players are hot while the rest are not

Harsunder breaks down the best and worst of the last 2 Canucks games as well as a concluding thought in his 22nd feature of the Pro-Con-Clusion series.

Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames
Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on January 29, 2022 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames defeated the Canucks 1-0 in overtime.
Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

More than halfway through the 2021-22 season, the Canucks still find themselves stuck at .500.

At this stage of the campaign, essentially every loss diminishes the Canucks hopes of making the playoffs.

On the other hand, it also increases the chances of Jimmy Rutherford getting started on his planned set of transactions soon with a potentially major roster shakeup right on the horizon.

As far as the last 2 Canucks games are concerned, it almost seemed like we saw two different Canucks teams on each night.

On Thursday, the Canucks were making crisp passes, quickly moving up the ice, and capitalizing on all of their opportunities as they were able to get a 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to sweep the season series.

The Canucks performance on Saturday was completely different. They were not making tape-to-tape passes through the neutral zone, they were very weak along the boards, and most importantly, they were a step behind for basically the whole night.

To further analyze what went right for the Canucks against the Jets and what went wrong against the Flames, let’s take a look at 1 pro and 1 con, as well as a concluding thought before the Canucks take to the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

Pro: Members of the Lotto Line cashing in

While they might not have been playing together on the same line, it was J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser that stepped up on Thursday night.

Miller led the way with his second career hat-trick and a 4-point performance en route to a 5-1 Canucks victory.

Elias Pettersson continued his hot play as of late, sniping a wrister top corner on Connor Hellebuyck for his 5th goal in 6 games.

Brock Boeser also capped off a power-play marker in the third period to give the Canucks a 4-1 lead. The goal was only Boeser’s 2nd tally of the calendar year and his first in 4 games.

On Saturday against the Flames, while the team failed to produce, these three players arguably made the biggest impact.

Together, Boeser and Miller combined for 5 of the team’s 15 shots on goal while Pettersson was also able to generate some zone time for the team.

However, at the end of the day, the team failed to yield any results at all in their game on Saturday, and perhaps their biggest reason for that comes down to their biggest con as of late, the lack of secondary scoring.

Con: Secondary scoring dries up

Once again, a cause for concern for the Canucks regarding their overall scoring ability has been the lack of production from anyone not named Miller, Pettersson, or Boeser.

Going back to the team’s game on January 18 against Nashville, the Canucks have only managed to score 12 goals in the 6 contests, including that game in the Music City.

Perhaps even more concerning than that is the fact that 8 of those 12 goals have been scored only by either Miller, Pettersson, or Boeser. The other 4 goals came from the likes of Lammiko, Chiasson, Pearson, and Motte.

Out of those four goals, Lammiko’s was the only one that came at even strength.

Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators
Juho Lammikko #91 celebrates his goal with Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks against the Nashville Predators during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on January 18, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

As far as the team’s play is concerned as of late, the bottom line is that the Canucks roster has not been producing enough, particularly when you factor in the play of the team’s top line and everyone under them in the lineup.

As such, it is imperative that the Canucks begin getting some production from the likes of Podklozin, Hoglander, Dickinson, Garland, and Horvat if they have any hope of making the playoffs this spring.

Concluding thought: Podkolzin & Hoglander slumping

The Canucks two youngest players, Hoglander and Podkolzin, have failed to provide any offensive support at all recently.

The last time the two rippled the mesh was on January 1 against the Kraken, and they have both now gone 10 straight games without registering a goal.

It will be interesting to see if the two members of the 2019 draft class can produce anything offensively on Monday, as the Canucks take on a mediocre Chicago Blackhawks team for the third and final time this season.