Friday, August 31, 2007


An Off-Season Look At ... The Vancouver Canucks

by Jes

It's about time that I whip out the EXCEL spreadsheets and have a look at how certain teams look heading into the season.

The Vancouver Canucks have had a very quiet off-season, which can be good or bad, depending on your point of view.

Other than parading out new uniforms, signing Aaron Miller, and not re-signing Jan Bulis, the Canucks and GM David Nonis have been content to sit back and let the other teams go insane in the free agent market. Sure, Nonis did spend money on Bieksa's extension, but that was money well spent.

Instead of fixing the woeful offence, Nonis focused on making the defence stronger. Looking at the Canucks, they have exceptional goaltending, and one of the best 1-6 defence corps in the league. No superstars on D, but slots 1-4 are well above average, and Krajicek/Miller are no worse than average.

The Canucks' problem is that they have a lot of forwards who can't score consistently at the NHL level (Burrows, Isbister, Kesler) and guys like Cooke and Morrison who don't justify their ice time and salaries.

The Canucks do have some room for a 2nd line scoring winger type, or Jan Bulis, but not much else. Unless Forsberg would take a massive discount, or play for just 10 games, he's not going to come north of the border.

Last season, the Canucks vastly outperformed their Pythagorean record.
With 222 goals for, and 201 goals against, the Canucks had a pythag record of .550 win percentage (222GF-201GA), yet finished with an actual win % of .64! Teams that perform so far above their pythag records can expect a regression to the mean, although the Canucks perchant for defensive hockey could easily skew such a thing.

I don't expect a Division title this time around, especially since we're in a tough division, but I do expect a playoff spot. It'll be a tight race between an improved Colorado squad, and those damn Wild. Calgary will be tough, but I expect Keenan will do more harm than good, and the revamping of 4/6 of their defence will hurt.

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Jan Bulis has officially signed a 2 year contract in Russia hockey federation is reporting...
Given how 'accurate' the Russian media is, I'm not going to hold my breath.
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