The Vancouver Canucks have been hurting for offense for quite some time. Yet despite adding veteran Thomas Vanek and rookie sensation Brock Boeser to the team’s lineup, the team is ranked 27th in the league in scoring. The Vancouver Sun’s Jason Botchford writes that the main reason is due to the defense’s inability to move the puck forward and help create offense.
Vancouver lacks a true offensive defenseman as the team seems to have little, but defensive blueliners in their rotations. The team’s top offensive defenseman is offseason acquisition Michael Del Zotto, who has 12 points this year, but Botchford says that the 27-year-old has rarely been the answer this season. The teams had hoped that third-year defenseman Ben Hutton might improve on his rookie year’s 25 points. Yet he has no goals and just six assists so far this year. Alexander Edler also has failed to improve on his offense as well.
Botchford says the team does have one possibility in AHL’s Philip Holm, who has seven goals and 19 points in 30 games this year in Utica. However, the team has not used him this year despite their need for an offensive spark. The team has a logjam of defenders and a trade deadline deal to move out Erik Gudbranson might be the best thing for the Canucks as it would allow the team to start playing the 26-year-old Holm.
- The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz (subscription required) writes that while he believes that San Jose Sharks might be interested in acquiring Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane at the trade deadline, there are definitely some issues with doing that. While Kane would provide the Sharks an immediate top scorer (his 35 points would make him San Jose’s top point-getter) which could offer the Sharks the depth needed to field three solid lines, there are other factors San Jose would have to consider before making a trade. The current asking price by Buffalo is a first-rounder, a top prospect and a conditional pick. The team lacks resources as they attempt to retool their franchise, so moving those three assets would be tough to do. On top of that, the team would have to have confidence to re-sign Kane to a long-term deal and would they want to do that. He has a history of concerning incidents in his past, including a recent scuffle with teammate Justin Falk. Would the team want to sign him to a seven or eight year deal?
- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin is listed as doubtful, according to Fox Sports’ Jon Rosen. Muzzin, who had played in a consecutive 281 games, broke that streak last Saturday when he missed a game against Nashville with an undisclosed injury. He is not expected to play tonight against the Ducks, but is making progress.
- Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal grades the performances of all the Oilers after Friday’s victory over Arizona and points out the defenseman Andrej Sekera has improved every game he’s played since returning and is already looking more as himself since returning from a torn ACL.