line chemistry

It’ll Be Interesting To See: Canucks Hoping For Swede Dreams

Hey, remember me? It’s been awhile.

Looks like we’re close to another fun filled season of Canucks hockey because well, it’s September and that’s what happens. Listening to the latest The Pat Cast, they dropped probably the most overused sports phrase in the biz “It’ll be interesting to see”. Now, I’m not saying its a bad thing because the comments that come either before or after keep us in deep thought, not to mention who doesn’t love The Pat Cast?

So over the next weekish or so, I’ll be diving into a handful of Canucks scenarios, issues and most likely concerns for the upcoming season. You’ve seen the title already but to save twitter space I’m going with an acronym: IBITS. IBITS sounds cool and you can use it in regular conversation, kinda like the guys in Silicon Valley did with Richard (see RIGBY).

The first one we’re going to chit chat about is the well, the first line itself and the new wingman that joined the Sedins on July 1 of this year: Loui Eriksson.

It’s no secret the Canucks will once again be searching for scoring but hopefully as the Sedins get one season closer to retirement they’ll make the most of their newest assignment with fellow Swede Loui Eriksson. Loui had a  decent year with Boston in 2016 putting up 30 goals and 63 points. That will come in handy for a team struggling to buy 30 goals PERIOD.

Daniel and Henrik combined for 39 goals last year and they actually had a pretty good year considering. It wasn’t exciting but they still led the charge. The Canucks can still be competitive if they have a healthy top line, not to mention healthy centres on the other 3 lines as well (but we’ll dive into that later on). The Sedins and Eriksson are already building chemistry at the World Cup going on in Toronto. One goal at a time it seems:

In a division that is only getting tougher, and yes I’m including the Flames, keeping pace with everyone is crucial to staying out of the cellar. Had they done that properly last year Auston Matthews would be a Canuck or maybe even Pierre Luc-Dubois but even that didn’t work out. The Oilers are getting close to being a pain in the rear and Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and I’m saying it, Taylor Hall errr…Adam Larsson, no wait Milan Lucic, ok ok Jesse Puljujarvi will make teams pay with their talent.

I think having a line that is already clicking is good news for coach Willie Desjardins and maybe just maybe he’ll deploy the Sedins in a few more key situations. They won’t complain if he doesn’t because they’re Swedish and like us Canadians we just take it in stride and bury it deep down.

Not to get too much into the rest of the team right now but having Brandon Sutter back with a full camp, Bo Horvat backing him up one line after and seeing a familiar face like Anton Rodin could give the Sedin line more time to do their thing and their thing is being Sedintastic!

There will be so many things to debate and criticize throughout the season and some of you won’t even make it out of training camp without losing your bacon, I’ve seen it, it’ll happen. The fun thing about this all is that over at Canucks Army I’ll have another guy to talk about and get to know all his quirks and find out what makes Loui….Loui.

Will we chant his name as we did Luongo or maybe we nickname him Ricky? I’m not sure but as we get closer and see this team start to gel, progress will happen and like a clever Harambe meme (RIP Harambe) one thing will be blatantly clear for sure:

It’ll be interesting

 

cover photo: theprovince.com

Baertschi And Friends: Double Digest

Much of the talk in the last few days/few weeks has revolved around the young bucks Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann trying to crack the Canucks lineup. Add in Ben Hutton to the mix and the Canucks transform into a completely different squad. But the man Jim Benning acquired at last year’s trade deadline, Sven Baertschi, may prove to be a bigger story than the kids.

Moving draft picks in today’s NHL is risky business especially when those picks are in the first two rounds. Baertschi was traded to the Flames before the 2015 draft for the Canucks 2nd round pick where Calgary selected Swedish defensman Rasmus Andersson. Is he better than Sven, well we might be here awhile to find that out.

Vancouver hasn’t exactly been “real good” at trading picks in the last few years so it was fair to be a bit skeptical when they made this move and with Calgary to boot!

For the Canucks they may have taken a risk on a player like Sven who basically just didn’t want to play in Calgary, wonder why; and his push level could have faded long ago. Baertschi was given a new lease on life and was asked to put the puck in the net for Vancouver. A 2nd rounder may have been high but considering Kevin Bieksa was traded to the Ducks for their 2016 2nd round pick, maybe it isn’t so bad?

Enter the 2015/16 preseason and Sven Baertschi was given a gift: Bo Horvat. These two seemed to have clicked instantly this preseason and give the Canucks a legit two line threat providing Brandon Sutter works with the Twins. (Side note: I hope he doesn’t, moves to the 3rd line and they move Hansen or Burrows back) Here’s a little clip in how affective these two have already been:

The ascension up the depth chart for Bo Horvat has given Baertschi extreme relevance going into this season and teams will start targeting that line because of the speed and craftiness they bring each shift. Add to that Czech sniper Radim “the dream” Vrbata and you have the makings of a goal-a-licious line. The beauty of this is that Horvat provides more of the grit and breaking speed, while Vrbata and Baertschi compliment as dandy shooting options.

No doubt Vrbata would rather be with Henrik and Daniel and I’m guessing he’d prefer to have another vowel in his last name after the letter R, but we don’t all get what we want. Long have the Canucks lacked true secondary scoring and if this isn’t secondary scoring, I don’t know what is?

Having the first two lines set the way they are frees up Willie Desjardins to have more of shifty third line with Hansen, Burrows and McCann. As Radim Vrbata will tell you/WD, chemistry is important and sticking RV, Horvat and Sven together may produce sooner than later.

Ok, no Virtanen on line two yet but you can imagine, having Vrbata instead probably ups the ante.

As the title of this suggests, you were hoping there would be some reference to Archie Andrews, Jughead and maybe Moose; I led you on and I’m sorry. However, Archie and Baertschi are SUPER close so I figured I could get by on that, you be the judge.

With no real statistics to go off yet for this line, aside from that video you loved in the preseason; this line will be a litmus test for what the Canucks can work with on the other three lines down the road. Hopefully, WD gives these guys some time to build some chemistry and we can worry more about our zone exits, consistent goal-tending and just how “real good” the new kids are.

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