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31 in 31

Vancouver Canucks key statistics

Scoring must improve; Boeser boosts power play

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. Difficult stretch

Since 2015-16, the Canucks have an NHL-worst .441 points percentage and rank last in that span with an average of 2.37 goals per game and 29th with 28.7 shots per game. Three of the Canucks' top five scorers last season are no longer with them: Forwards Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin retired, and forward Thomas Vanek was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets before signing a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on July 1.

The Canucks were one of four NHL teams to allow at least three goals per game over the past three seasons, and they ranked 28th with a power play percentage of 17.2 percent and 29th with a penalty kill percentage of 78.7 percent.

Video: 31 in 31: Vancouver Canucks 2018-19 season preview

 

2. Trending up

Vancouver looks to be turning around its struggling power play thanks to forward Brock Boeser, a Calder Trophy finalist as the top rookie in the NHL last season.

In 2016-17, the Canucks ranked 29th in the NHL with a power-play percentage of 14.1 percent, their fourth time below 16 percent in the past five seasons. Last season, they improved to 21.4 percent, which was tied for ninth and their second-best result in the category in the past 30 years; Vancouver's power play was the best in the NHL in 2010-11 (24.3 percent).

The key was Boeser, who led the Canucks with 58 shots on goal with the man-advantage. His 23 power-play points (10 goals, 13 assists) in 62 games tied Daniel Sedin for the Vancouver lead and were tied with New Jersey Devils defenseman Will Butcher for second among NHL rookies, behind New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (27), the Calder winner.

Video: Brock Boeser comes in at No. 19 on the list

 

3. Defensive zone usage

Last season, his first as Canucks coach, Travis Green chose to employ a zone-matching strategy in which certain players were employed almost exclusively in the defensive zone so others could have more advantageous scoring conditions.

Among those who played at least 20 games, forwards Brendan Gaunce (15.5 percent), Darren Archibald (19.8) and Brandon Sutter (22.7) had three of the four lowest offensive zone start percentages in the NHL.

In 40 games with Vancouver, center Nic Dowd had an offensive zone start percentage of 18.5 percent; including his 16 games with the Los Angeles Kings, his overall zone start percentage of 28.9 percent was the ninth lowest in the NHL.

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