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6 Canucks Thoughts: Granato’s edge, kid line thrives & OEL’s luck runs out

The Vancouver Canucks continue to break barriers by hiring 50-year-old Cammi Granato.

2021 NHL Expansion Draft
Hockey hall of famer and Seattle Kraken scout Cammi Granato poses for a photo prior to the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft at Gas Works Park on July 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Kracken is the National Hockey League’s newest franchise and will begin play in October 2021.
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

Perhaps Jim Rutherford knew last night’s contest on the ice was going to be a bloodbath.

Could that be why news leaked just hours before game time about Cammi Granato’s arrival?

Here are six thoughts on Granato joining the Canucks, the impressive “kid line” and a few words about performances from Canucks defencemen.

1. Granato & Canucks continue to break barriers

Granato is no stranger to smashing the proverbial glass ceiling.

In 1998, she became one of the first women to be a colour commentator for NHL games, when joined the Los Angeles Kings radio broadcast.

She was also one of the first three women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame back in 2008, along with (Geraldine Heaney and Angela James).

Most recently, she became the first female pro scout in the NHL when she was hired by the Seattle Kraken.

It’s fitting that Granato now joins a Canucks organization that’s been breaking barriers over the past month. They’ve already hired Rachel Doerrie in a prominent analytics role, which is still uncommon in NHL organizations.

They also made Emilie Castonguay the first female AGM in more than 25 years, before making Patrik Allvin the first Swedish GM in NHL history.

Now, with the hire of Granato, the Canucks are officially responsible for hiring two of the three female AGMs in NHL history.

Never mind a breath of fresh air. This feels like chugging an elixir of glacial water.

Compare that to the Jim Benning regime, which was akin to licking rotten milk off of the ground.

2021 NHL Draft - Round One
Scouts John Goodwin, Lorne Henning and Cammi Granato (L-R) of the Seattle Kraken talk during the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Christopher Mast/2021 NHLI via Getty Images

2. Granato’s pro scouting edge

Look, I’m sure every pro scout thinks they know best, but Granato recently embarked on a strenuous exercise when she had to help map out the Kraken’s roster.

Although picking the team obviously wasn’t her final say, she did spend more than a year rigorously scouting every player who might have been available to the Kraken in the expansion draft.

After going through that, how many pro scouts do you think have put in more work than her?

Give the Canucks a point here for stealing an asset away from the (hopefully future rival) Kraken.

NHL: FEB 09 Islanders at Canucks
Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (40) celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on February 9, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

3. Kid line keeps buzzing

Okay, last night was a disaster for the Canucks. They were out of the game before some people had even gotten to their seat.

One line that did have a good night (relatively speaking because everyone deserved some criticism) was Elias Pettersson’s line with Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander.

“The Kid Line” was on the ice for 21 shot attempts for and only four against (84% shot attempt differential). They also controlled 75% of scoring chances when they were on the ice.

Their work in the offensive zone led to Ekman-Larsson’s initial tally. Podkolzin also did some good work along the boards in the second period, which allowed Petterson to pot the Canucks second goal of the contest.

It was a small positive to take away from a brutal night overall.

4. So much for that...

Speaking of brutal, Bruce Boudreau made a bit of a head-scratching decision by deciding to split up Tyler Myers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson after the duo played well together against the Coyotes.

Perhaps he was giving Noah Juulsen, who had a good game against Arizona, a bump by pairing him with Ekman-Larsson.

Well, so much for the short-lived Juulsen love.

It wasn’t a good game for the Juulsen/OEL pairing. They were on the ice for four goals against before the midway mark of the contest.

Boudreau eventually reversed his opening line-up decision by putting OEL back with Myers, while Juulsen spent the rest of the game paired with Kyle Burroughs.

NHL: FEB 09 Islanders at Canucks
New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) battle for the puck during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on February 9, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

5. The OEL thing

Speaking of OEL, he was on the ice for six of the seven goals against in last night’s contest.

Perhaps the dam was due to break at some point.

OEL has been rock-solid defensively. Prior to last night’s game, his 1.33 goals-against/60 at 5-on-5 was the third-lowest mark in the league among all defencemen.

It’s also nearly a full goal less than his expected goals-against (xGA) total of 2.32.

After last night’s onslaught, OEL’s GA/60 dropped to 1.67. That’s still 17th best among NHL defencemen, but it’s also a little closer to his xGA mark.

Offensively, it seems like OEL is now getting some bounces to go his way. He’s scored in two of the last three games, while putting up five points in those contests.

He has been unlucky offensively. The Canucks shooting percentage while OEL is on the ice is only 5.14%. That gives Ekman-Larsson the 5th-worst shooting percentage in the league among defencemen.

6. But hey, at least there’s Luke “Bobby” Schenn

What can’t Luke Schenn do?

Schenn, by the way, was one of only five Canucks who wasn’t on the ice for a goal against last night.