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31 in 31

Vancouver Canucks key statistics

Shots on goal problem on offense, defense; power play must improve

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Vancouver Canucks.

 

[CANUCKS 31 in 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]

 

1. Trouble generating, limiting shots

It may not be a particularly advanced statistic, but the Vancouver Canucks need to get more shots on goal and allow fewer.

The Canucks' 2,273 shots on goal last season were last in the NHL. Their 2,605 shots-against were the sixth-most, according to Hockey-Reference.com.

In 2015-16, Vancouver was 28th in the League in shots (2,311), and it allowed the second-most (2,668).

On an individual basis, 144 NHL players had more than 160 shots on goal last season, and only one played for the Canucks, forward Daniel Sedin (216). It was Sedin's lowest shot total in a full NHL season since 2005-06, when he had 204.

Rookie forward Brock Boeser may help. Over the past two seasons, Boeser had 246 shots on goal in 74 games for the University of North Dakota, and he had 25 in nine games for the Canucks in 2016-17.

Video: 31 in 31: Vancouver Canucks 2017-18 season preview

 

2. Power-play woes

Another area in need of improvement is the power play. In the past two seasons, Vancouver scored on 15.0 percent of its power plays, last in the NHL.

Some teams struggle on the power play because they aren't generating enough shot attempts, and others have trouble converting their opportunities into goals. In Vancouver's case, each area has been a concern.

According to data from Natural Stat Trick, the Canucks averaged 87.2 shot attempts per 60 minutes on the power play the past two seasons (24th in NHL) and have a power-play shooting percentage of 10.4 percent (last in League).

On an individual basis, 91 NHL players scored more than 15 points on the power play in 2016-17. None of them played for the Canucks.

 

3. More goal support needed

The Canucks took a calculated risk in net this offseason. They chose not to re-sign veteran goalie Ryan Miller, now of the Anaheim Ducks, and they did not replace him with an established starter. Instead, they signed backup Anders Nilsson on July 1 and have elected to go with Jacob Markstrom as their No. 1.

By most metrics, Markstrom is almost exactly a League-average goalie. In the past two seasons as Miller's backup, Markstrom's .913 save percentage was just below the League average (.914). This continues to be the case even when save percentage is adjusted for other factors, such as manpower situation and shot location.

To be competitive with a League-average goalie, the Canucks will need a lot of goal support. In the past two seasons, the Canucks averaged 2.12 goals per 60 minutes in the 53 games that Markstrom started; that's the second-lowest goal support in the NHL (minimum 25 starts), ahead of only Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils (2.11).

Video: VAN@BUF: Markstrom robs Reinhart with sprawling save

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