Pettersson and Hoggy

Tupac Shakur said, ‘Don’t look back unless it’s a good view.’

Looking back at the 2023-24 season, the Vancouver Canucks saw many milestones reached by individuals and as a team.

From career highs to large steps in development, we can take plenty of paths in presenting this article.

As the management group now plans for their offseason moves to better the team, we decided to look back at some of the numbers that made the year so exciting for Canucks fans.

J.T. Miller had a career year this season. It was his first time hitting the century club for points as he scored 37 goals and added 66 assists for 103 points. 44 of his 66 assists came of the primary variety, which ranked him fourth in the league.

*Primary assists are exactly as they sound and are given to the last player to pass the puck to the player who scored the goal.

On top of Miller’s strong offensive numbers, he set a career-high in hits with 217, which ranked him 24th league-wide. He won 823 faceoffs, putting him seventh in the league for FOW. Miller buried nine game-winning goals during the season (7th in the league) and added one during the postseason. 

It was also the best season of Miller’s career in terms of control of the goal share. At five-on-five, he was on the ice for 64 goals scored and just 37 goals against, giving him a 63.4% control of the goal share. 

Canucks captain Quinn Hughes also set a career-high for points in a season. The 24-year-old defenceman had his best season for goals (17), assists (75), and points (92). 

He saw an uptick in shots on net this season, hitting the net 199 times – a 29% increase from his previous career-high of 154 shots.

Hughes saw a massive jump in his control of on-ice scoring chances this season. He was on the ice for 803 scoring chances for and only 589 against. This was the best scoring chance for percentage of his young career and his improved defensive play along with the urge to shoot more was a recipe for such long offensive zone possessions. 

According to NHL EDGE, Hughes ranked in the 93rd percentile for offensive zone time. He spent 44.6% of his even-strength ice time in the offensive zone and only spent 38.4% of his even-strength ice time in his own zone. 

Over 82 games, Hughes skated 465.6 kilometres, about the length of New York State or roughly the range of a Toyota bZ4X electric SUV. Hughes was in the 98th percentile for distance travelled this season and in the 99th percentile at even-strength. His top speed was 36.3 km/h and his top game saw him skate a total of 6.83 kilometres. 

Hughes has earned himself a Norris Trophy finalist nomination and if he is to win the best defenceman award, it will be the first Norris Trophy in Canucks history and the first individual major player trophy since Elias Pettersson won the Calder in 2019. 

Elias Pettersson put up 89 points and had his third consecutive season with 30+ goals. It was also the first season of Pettersson’s career where he won more than 50% of his faceoffs – finishing with a 50.8% win percentage in the dot.

Pettersson led the team with a career-high 10 game-winning goals this past season. He tied Daniel Sedin for the third-most GWG in a season in Vancouver Canucks history.

Pettersson crushed a new career-high in hits with 125 this season – this was more than he had in the three previous seasons combined.

Six Canucks set new career highs for goals in a season; Brock Boeser (40), Miller (37), Nils Höglander (24), Dakota Joshua (18), Hughes (17), and Sam Lafferty (13). 

Höglander (36) and Joshua (32) each set new career highs in points and had five game-winning goals. 

Joshua ranked ninth in the league for hits with 244 on the season, besting his career-high of 222 hits in a season. 

Conor Garland secured his second 20-goal season in the NHL and had a career-high 19 goals at even-strength this past year. 

Tyler Myers set a career-high in shorthanded goals with two on the campaign.

Between the pipes, Thatcher Demko won a new career-high 35 games this season and picked up more shutouts (5) this year than he had combined in his previous six NHL seasons.

Demko had a career-high .918% save percentage and a career-low 2.45 goals against average. He is one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy for the top goaltender in the league. The Canucks have never seen one of their goaltenders win the Vezina even though Roberto Luongo was second in Hart Trophy voting during the 2006-07 season. 

Their first 50 games saw an impressive 34-11-5 record and they rode that through the season to capture their first division title since the 2012-13 season.

The Canucks’ 50-23-9 record gave them 109 points on the season and that ranks third in franchise history.

The team finished second in the league for five-on-five goal share, tallying 187 and allowing 136 goals against. 

It was a fun season, to say the least, and we saw what this team means to the province and fans all around the world when the team is winning and playing good, quality, Canucks hockey.

The evolution of Canucks hockey has been taken to a new level with head coach Rick Tocchet leading the charge on the bench and preaching accountability, sacrifice, hard work, and resilience all season long. 

This group is looking to build on what they did this season but continue to stay focused and strive towards the ultimate goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to Vancouver. General Manager Patrik Allvin and his management team are hard at work in preparation for the offseason and don’t plan to rest on a second-round exit as a success. 

As much as there is to celebrate from the 2023-24 season, the focus is already set on what we can accomplish in 2024-25.