One of the goals for new Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins is to better manage the ice time for his top forwards, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin.
Under former coach John Tortorella, Henrik was second among Canucks forwards last season at 20:40 per game, including 59 seconds per game on the penalty kill. Daniel was third among forwards at 20:36 per game, with an average of 56 seconds of shorthanded time.
Henrik's total of 69:04 of shorthanded ice time was his most since the 2005-06 season; Daniel's 68:22 of time on the penalty kill also was the most he's played since 2005-06, and double the amount he played the previous four seasons.
The more difficult extra minutes could have cut down on the offensive production of the Sedins, who turn 34 on Sept. 26. Henrik had 50 points in 70 games, the fewest he's had in an 82-game season since 2003-04; Daniel had 16 goals, the first time he's failed to score 20 in an 82-game season since 2003-04.
"We have to share the workload," Desjardins told The Canadian Press on Tuesday after taking part in a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon. "They're good at all aspects of the game. They're good at killing penalties and they're good 5-on-5. They can play the power play. I think you're lucky to have players like that. For us, we want to make sure that they're able to go [and] at the end of the game they're still fresh and they're playing hard. So that may mean managing their minutes a little bit. We want to play with four lines."
To accomplish that, the Canucks tried to build a deeper roster during the offseason; among their moves was trading center Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks for center Nick Bonino and defenseman Luca Sbisa, and signing forward Radim Vrbata and goaltender Ryan Miller.
"There'll be many challenges for throughout the season, but I think we've tried to do everything that we could at this point to make the team deeper and give them more enthusiasm so they play with more energy," Canucks general manager Jim Benning, who also attended the luncheon, told CP.
A deeper team not only takes pressure off the Sedins, it also keeps the Canucks from having to push their young players into the NHL before they are fully developed.
"We talked about maybe there wasn't the depth that we needed to counter those injuries going into that last stretch of the year," Benning said. "So we tried to add to our depth this summer. Now we don't have to rush young players and we can let them develop properly and be ready to come up and play when we call them up to play."