fancy stats

Canucks Taking Advantage Of Weak Division

Pretty much stating the obvious here but for the time being the Canucks would be wise to fool whoever they can while the getting is good. As of right now, the Canucks sit a point back of 8th and four back of 5th place in the West. This is the same Canucks team that earlier this year went winless in 9 games. There are a lot of teams that are worse than they should be and a handful that are playing above their means.

The Canucks are the latter.

I probably should have titled this “You Can’t Spell Canucks Without PDO.” I spent an hour deciding that, believe it or not. This time last year, the Canucks were also a point out of a playoff spot and were stringing together a few wins as well. Is this the point in the season where the good teams get lazy and the bad teams make the headlines?

When the NHL gets back to normal, which I believe they are going through some kind of parallel universe, the way the Canucks and teams like them are playing won’t scratch the surface on getting into the playoff picture.

As Willie Desjardins continually ices a team with line combinations only The Riddler would understand, we all ask ourselves how the heck this team has stayed competitive? They lack depth in the goal scoring department, the defense looks good but in reality, isn’t exactly lighting up the score sheet and as far as goaltending goes the Russian Roulette of starts is pretty confusing.

Goaltending has been a strong suit this season and without Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom holding down the fort, Nolan Patrick or at least his value in a tradeable draft pick would be very possible. It’s relieving to know they can bring Thatcher Demko along more gradually.

What the current Pacific division and to a lesser extent, the Western Conference, is showing us is that speed seems to reward teams. The Canucks are not a speedy team in theory, and their luck will catch up with them eventually and sink them back to the bottom of the standings.

Watching Henrik and Daniel on any given night is frustrating because they have been asked to be the number one line and they really shouldn’t be anymore. If this team was ready to embrace the change on the fly or rebuild or whatever, the Horvat line and the Sutter line would be taking over at this point. There is way more speed on the 2nd and 3rd lines and by giving the Sedins prime ice time, it’s strangling any chance for hope this team might have.

Every team that has a share of a playoff spot has some speed and the Canucks do not. The Sedin hooking penalty will go down in Canucks history but they’ve never been fast enough to out skate the league’s speedsters. Not to knock the Twins but if that is all the Canucks are hanging their hats on, they need to make sure they can stay in every game or get get caught watching the puck go the other way.

Bringing up PDO for a second, the Canucks currently sit 24th in the “luck” category and as they play closer to their actual selves if that’s even possible, they could jump into the top 10 within a week or two. The Pacific division hasn’t made many adjustments to stay competitive so that actually speaks well for the Canucks.

The Kings lost Jonathan Quick in October and haven’t bothered to address their goaltending situation. They aren’t that far ahead of the Canucks on the season, both teams have similar records and not like it would come down to it but I’d actually give the Canucks a fighting chance against LA in a playoff series this year.

Sneaking in this year would mean Vancouver would probably get Chicago and it would be a blood bath. There is nothing wrong with the Blackhawks and they may very well make a deep run this spring. They are exempt from this discussion as everything the Hawks do seems to work out.

Five wins in a row are pretty impressive and for a team that couldn’t string together two wins in a row most of the season, this is quite the run. It’s an outlying performance but we should definitely enjoy it while it lasts.

When you look at what the Blue Jackets are doing you get excited but like all Cinderella stories, the clock will strike 12 and you’ll be stuck with a pumpkin again.

Vancouver can still keep this going and build some faith with the fan base but they have to stop jerking everyone around and start making decisions that are logical. It’s not just management that has made fumbles and it’s not just the head coach; this whole organization has to be on the same page and buy in together to make a difference.

Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins need to stop nickel and diming this team and decide on guys like Anton Rodin, Brendan Gaunce and whatever it is they thought they were going to do with Loui Eriksson and move forward.

Having a perennial 25-30 goal scorer begging to be on the top line after he has shown time and time again he is producing with less than ideal linemates. Eriksson needs to be given the keys to the offense and if it’s not with the Sedins it should be with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi as a top line.

Life is good right now for Canucks fans but don’t hold your breath, the conference will right itself and the Canucks will be the team we thought they’d be.

Thankfully, 65 points now seems like a distant memory now.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

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photo – yahoo.com

Hansen/Carter: The Other Sedin

This Canucks season has been a really disappointing roller coaster, kind of like the one at Playland (because if you have knees its not very fun). Last year, the Canucks surprisingly made the playoffs and gave hope for this year; what we got was a bunch of bleh. Thankfully, Jannik Hansen has been able to enjoy a career year with 20 goals so far and his point total equals his jersey number (#36).

Hansen has been the best option on the Sedin line this year and I wrote a piece awhile back where I made the case he has been the best choice for quite some time. We all remember when Anson Carter played here and rode the success train to a hefty contract in Columbus where he enjoyed fame, riches, Cups and prestige. Actually, he eventually suffered a concussion and his NHL career was over. (Im not slagging him for that)

It seems like there has always been a search to find “the one” to play with the Sedins and both Carter and Hansen, as well as Alex Burrows obviously, were and have been great fits. But what do the stats say? At the time Carter left, hockey analytics were in its infancy, to many of us anyways; but now we have an abundance to sift through. How do they stack up though, who’s better, who has more hair?

Just so I don’t have to say it later, these stats are based on 5v5 in all situations from War On Ice. I’ve compared Jannik Hansen this season to Anson Carter’s season with the Twins.

Looking at the meat and potato stats Jannik Hansen and Anson Carter BOTH have 17 goals (Hansen’s year isn’t done yet though.) In the assists category, Hansen edges Carter 15 to 11, still pretty impressive.

Hansen just edges out Carter in Goals/60 –  1.2 to 1.1 (but who’s counting?)

Going over to CF%, Anson Carter took this one easily. He finished the 2005/06 season with a 54.5% to Hansen’s 48.0%. Ok, so there were a few more shots going on during the arrival of the “new NHL” but its still pretty good and yes, we’re comparing one season only here.

Who had the luckier season? Well, Anson Carter was taking care of business with a PDO of 100.9 (CRAP, thats BTO, and really that’s not that phenomenal of a number.) Jannik Hansen is the all star here with a VERY impressive 105.1;  Clap for em, clap for em.

Personal Shooting percentage? A full point ahead, Hansen takes it with 19.3 to Carter’s 18.3.

I took a look at high danger corsi/fenwick % and I bet you don’t need an official stat to know who won this one: Did you guess Anson Carter? You’d be correct. Carter ran away with it at 55.3% and Hansen’s pedestrian 45.7% would be fair to guess. The “Other Brother” did much of his work in the blue paint and had an abundance of tap, tap, tapperoos from the Sedins. Why he wanted to pass that up is beyond me.

Even looking at just their individual high danger scoring chances, Hansen was no match for Carter. Anson had 59 to Jannik’s 39 but again this season compared to the one when Carter played has been quite different; things were looking up instead of what we currently see today.

Imagine if Anson Carter stayed and built on the initial success? Where would we be today? Would the Burrows thing ever materialize?

Not all of these stats are exclusive to playing with the Sedins as both players had a lull where they needed to find a new line. Interesting also to note that Anson Carter played 80 games in 2005/06 while Jannik Hansen has been out a bit this year and has only played 63 so far.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a WOWY to measure their exact production on the Sedin line exclusively but there’s plenty of evidence here to make up your minds.

At the end of the day, we’re looking at two different eras but not a whole lot different. Jannik Hansen has still amassed a pretty nice season with Henrik and Daniel but it’s no surprise who the better line mate was. Anson Carter gambled and lost and his career was never the same. Jannik hasn’t been selfish and has gone up and down the lineup where needed and has been an integral part of the Canucks for some time.

With the stats showing Carter’s dominance in this instance, Hansen’s loyalty and determination to always be better is something that will stick with us far longer. BUT, if I had to choose, I’d take Carter all day long, stats don’t lie and he was a monster that year. I think I just made Thomas Drance cry.

I’m so sorry everyone, you’ve read this far and I haven’t given you the answer you wanted: better hair; is it even a contest here? Anson wins on a landslide. Those dreads were something fierce and I miss them dearly.

I also miss the Canucks being good, hopefully this will suffice for now.

Jannik HanSedin (A Statistical Argument For Their Existance)

Wanting the best for Jannik Hansen seems to be a recurring theme for Canucks fans. He works hard, he’s the best player in practice almost always and the imitations of him from players across the league, ok just Cory Schneider are just so super. It might be just one game and maybe he gets buried on the 3rd line by the end of the week but Jannik Hansen might have a chance to revive his career.

The Canucks have jokingly labeled Hansen as the team’s best practice player but the 25-year-old winger showed on Wednesday he can be perform on the big stage as well setting up a charging Raffi Torres for game one’s only goal that secured Vancouver 1-0 series lead.

Jannik Hansen after Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final – Globe and Mail

Does this mean the Canucks have once again found a proper linemate for Henrik and Daniel Sedin? After one game that may be a stretch but Alex Burrows did a lot with his tenure on the top line. Top line minutes are hard to come by for any player but Jannik Hansen has been there before and he’s produced. According to Puckalytics.com which is a mind bendingly awesome site, even for a fancy stat noob like myself, the line consisting of Daniel, Henrik and Hansen have accounted for 27 goals since 2009. That isn’t exactly a “wake your parents up the house is on fire” number but considering who has been the third member of that line, its pretty decent.

What the site also tells you is that these SweDanish linemates (new word I made up) has a career PDO together of 103.7. If you type  that number in google you most likely will get Top 100 pop, retro pop and country music in Maine. I suggest using PDO hockey to get a better result. A final number you could gather from Puckalytics would be the Corsis!!!! Love that one. At 60.5% according to my buds at Canucks Army, this is basically ridiculous. So I ask you, why hasn’t this line been given a chance to blossom?

Look at this goal against Columbus, Hansen just sweats out awesome here:

 

Can you figure out a reason that Hansen shouldn’t be the new third wheel on the Sedin Tricyc…..no that might be taken the wrong way. Can anyone give me a big package of stats that would make Hansen a terrible idea on that line? I don’t think you can but I’m sure someone will try. We’ve all seen what the Jan man can do and he does have some pretty impressive skills. He’s a bit of a banger, his speed surprises you on occasion and despite his closing rate on breakaways, he gets a sick ton of breakaways.

I am definitely not a guy who will toot the advanced stats mega horn because I just don’t know enough about it yet but seriously, if these three have produced at a clip of 3.62 goals per game, why the heck are you holding back current head coach Willie Desjardins? Why I ask. The Canucks have finally gone younger and in a few years, younger than that and if this team is to stay relevant not only in their division but in the league as well, decisions will have to made to keep the Canucks competitive.

We all know the Sedins are on the back nine of their illustrious careers maybe even the Amen Corner if you will, and if Willie D is their coach until they retire, he needs to maximize their productivity. Radim Vrbata was a great addition for them when he was signed at Free Agency in 2014 but since then has gone from hero to um, not great? This line is the litmus test of how the Canucks will hold up to other teams and if the top guys aren’t producing, don’t expect the rest of the team to bail them out on every occasion.

Roberto Luongo was forced to be Vancouver’s everything until the scoring arrived and more importantly the Sedins; so if the Sedins are being relied upon to be the Canucks everything until the next wave is ready to be on its own, don’t you think a guy like Hansen makes sense then?

Jannik Hansen may have received his best criticism from former coach John Tortorella as he was chewed out for his mistakes but maybe we can thank Torts for pushing Hansen to be a better all around player? Ya, I’m saying it. Look for the silver lining on this one and it’s not entirely foreign that Hansen will work with the Twins. Scandinavia has longed for a SweDanish hockey threat and this is their chance to see it materialize.

Sure, some of this is fluff and as I said before, this might fade out after a game or so but let’s give it a chance. It’s still early enough in the season to experiment with lines and with Hunter Shinkaruk forcing the Canucks to call him up, freeing Vrbata up to play with Horvat or Sutter gives this team the D word: Depth.

Thursday’s game against the Senators is a prime opportunity to explore the HanSedin line and see how well it fits. The Senators are having a decent season but they give up their fair share of goals. The Sedins like scoring goals and they like to share so its basically a match made in Sweden/Denmark.

Just appease us Willie D, we don’t ask a lot…not entirrrely true, but we deserve to see what our team is capable of. Run with these guys until next week and you might be a happy man. It’s either that or the face you made when Vancouver almost blew the game against Jackets on Tuesday. Sadly I don’t have that photo but he mouthed a few words I’m not allowed to say.

Jannik Hansen might sound like Kermit from time to time, or all the time, but when he’s with the Sedins….he’s an Animal. Get em on that top line and those breakaways will have to convert sooner or later. Breakaways.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

feature photo – thehockeynews.com