What a difference a year makes. A 10 game winning streak, 20 total wins and 119 goals for to start the season. The Vancouver Canucks finished in 28th place during the 2017/2018 season and through 30 games this year, the Canucks are 1st overall in the NEFHL with 43 points. It must be noted that the Florida Panthers are have the highest winning percentage and sit at 39 points but have 4 games in hand.
Offseason acquisition Brayden Schenn has been a catalyst for this offensive explosion that has been occurred and leads the league with 46 points (tied for 1st) and 27 assists. On the Canucks, Schenn leads the team in every offensive category overshadowing expected offensive leader, Taylor Hall. The Schenn line has been extremely productive as rookie, Matthew Tkachuk is also on fire leading all rookie scorers with 34 points and Craig Smith is averaging 1.04 points per game as well.
“We have had an excellent start to the season and our offense has been phenomenal. To score 119 goals (20 better than the next team) in 30 games is likely unsustainable but even a slight drop should mean we continue to average better than 3 goals per game. My main concern is our PK (20th in league) but Gerard (Gallant) has been working on it and I’ve been working the phones to see what is out there to possibly help.” said general manager Kyle Allen.
Allen credits the acquisition of Jake Muzzin from the Avalanche for stabilizing the back end with Matt Dumba on the first pair. “He’s come in put up 14 points in 10 games, +18, big minutes. Hell, he’s 31st for points by defensemen and has play 14 to 18 games less than most of the leaders. He’s been fantastic. So has Dumba. Big minutes, first in defensemen scoring and only getting better.”
The aggressive moves since the end of last season using a surplus of picks and prospects without really affecting the top prospect group which allowed the Canucks to acquire Brayden Schenn, Matthew Duchene, Craig Smith and Jake Muzzin. Even with these acquisitions, the Canucks still boast one of the top prospect pools in the league.
Enjoy the ride Canucks fans, it’s been a couple years since we can say we had a competitive team this year and should for years down the road.