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Boudreau Canucks Last Year vs. This Year: Explaining the Difference

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JamesB

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Well done OP.   

 

I agree that the Canucks record is worse then it should be.   FOUR games in a row where we blew games ...Never seen that before, any team.   Why the team felt it could sit back in the third period ... well if it was advised, that's on the coaching too.   This team can't sit back, it didn't work with Green either, although at least his awful 5 man box did work with two goal leads, most of the time anyways, but it also required elite goaltending, which we haven't had this year.   Demko ... he should turn it around.  

 

Not sure why Miller is relied so much on the PK.   We have to have better options.   Maybe a RW should switch, or try Kuzmo.    EP with Horvat, was commented on before the start of the season, as a reason for optimism on our PK.     Was the biggest reason for our turnaround last season...Went from worst all-time, to a respectable 12th (just the Bruce sample size, and it was a result of changing it up).   It can't be this bad can it?  Mikheyev was brought in, so was Lazar to at least help with the forward part of this...we are missing Motte.    Bottom six guys should be able to PK or do something that adds to the group.   Same with our best players ..: EP at least,  is doing his job.   QHs i'm not convinced yet he should be on the PK.    OEL's shine is evaporating. 

 

Lazar ... maybe he's a key injury.   But agree we were injured last year too.   

 

Brock.   Hate to say this, but it's time for a change of scenery, even if it's just a bag of pucks at this point.   

 

Id be fine with keeping Myers if we had another top four D.   Like his size and his ability to play a hard nosed playoff style post season.   If we don't have a guy like that and make the playoffs, we are toast.  Take him out and put a passive top four RHD in his place that is small ... ugh I sure hope not anyways. 

 

Other then that yes trade Myers when we can.   And take him off the PK already.   Like Edler, he's ready for the pasture in that regard, Edler was just too slow, fine infornt of the net, but couldn't catch the pucks he used to be able to.  

Myers is too unpredictable which can be either really good, (ive seen him use his stick on enough sure goals ... that's where stats don't work and the eye test does) but at this point, those goals he's preventing don't make up for the goals he's creating against.    

 

OEL Myers would be fine at 5 and 4 each... that's over 4 million in dead cap.   Just because they are the highest paid D's aside from QH's doesn't mean they have to be used.    
 

Burroughs is this teams version of Motte, but playing on defense.   He's earned the right to play, and we should give him a shot on the PK.   Brisbois isn't far behind him, just plays the left side and a safer smoother game.   Both these guys are good/decent depth guys. 

 

Rathbone.  I'm not worried about him.   Guys a gym rat, could probably throw QHs over his shoulder and skate around.    Stillmans toughness is fine, but he should be the extra guy, and only used if we need him against certain teams.   He needs NHL games or we need to trade him.   Won't be long before we can't put him in the AHL. 

 

Anyways, it's a long season.   One month in the books.   Next year, if playoffs are again the goal, the management needs to make sure we don't have such a bad schedule to start the year.   Even NHL.com noticed it, and reported that it would be a key element to our fortunes this year.   As in a bad start again.   11 of 17 games away ones, a couple back to backs, several different time zones, and early morning flights or after game ones.   Morning skates back home...must be tough. 

 

The next part of the schedule is against some easier teams.    Not that there is an easy win in this league,  but we have to catch up, and then make some headway or this teams headed for an overhaul.   We are anyways, but by that i mean some players we value, are on their way out. Kuzmo, Horvat etc.   

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4 hours ago, JamesB said:

Last year after Boudreau took over as coach the team was among the top 10 in the league and generated points at a rate that would easily be good enough for the playoffs over a full season. 

 

The team retained the core from last year and added a couple of potentially high-end forwards (Kuzmenko and Mikheyev) and upgraded the 4th line. On the paper this year's team is a better team.

 

But this year's team is off to a very poor start. I think pretty much everyone who follows the Canucks is surprised.

 

So what explains the dramatic under-performance relative to expectations?

 

Everyone has an opinion. But rather than just stating my opinions, I will report what the public analytics has to say, as Evolving Hockey has started posting its analytics results.

 

I don't think the results are too surprising, but it is interesting to see what the numbers say.

 

1. First what is NOT the explanation. Injuries are not the explanation. The Canucks had quite a few injuries to start the season but the injury picture over the first 11 games has been no worse that most of the time last year. And right now, the team is pretty healthy at least as far of the core players go.

 

2. Looking at the data, the biggest apparent factor is the significant drop in performance by Demko. A crude measure of goalie performance is save percentage. Last year Demko had a good save percentage at 91.4%. This year it is dismal at 88.0%, ranking 50th of the 64 guys who have played in goal this year.. That difference works out to about 1 goal per game. A more sophisticated measure is goals saved above expected, which takes into account shot location and other factors. By that measure Demko is dead last in the NHL. That is not entirely fair to Demko as teams that give up a lot of shots tend to look worse on this measure. More complete measures have Demko back up to about 50th in league. And these more sophisticated measures have Demko giving up about 1 goal per game more than last year. If Demko had given up one less goal per game, the Canucks would have won the two OT losses and picked another point or two, That would put them in the playoff mix and a lot of people would be saying that the Canucks were not too far from expected performance. Demko is not the whole story but he is a big part.

 

3. The PK. Once again the PK has been terrible to start the season -- worst in the NHL. Last year Horvat and Miller played a lot of PK early and were not very good. When Bruce came he changed the personnel mix and brought Petey and Hughes in. Those guys turned out to be very good on the PK. (Also the PK system changed under new assistant coach Scott Walker). This year, with Walker gone, Yeo took over and went back to heavy reliance on Miller and Horvat (and Schenn and Myers). And once again, their performance is poor. All 4 of those guys have negative numbers in Evolving Hockey's performance relative to replacement level players. That is bad. The best PK guys this year have been Petey and Joshua for forwards and OEL and Burroughs for D. Mike Yeo might learn but so far he has messed up pretty badly as PK coach. His systems are also too passive.

 

4. Some players have started poorly, Using the expected goals above replacement stat the BEST guys on the team have been Petey, Horvat, Miller, and Kuzmenko. (No surprises there.) The worst guys on the team have been Pearson, Myers, Boeser and Podkolzin.  No real surprises there either. In terms of explaining differences, Pearson has gotten worse, Boeser has gotten worse (maybe due to his injury), Podz seems to be having a 3rd year slump instead of a second year slump, and Myers is pretty similar to last year. In neither year has he been an adequate RD for a top defensive pairing. OEL has also struggled more this year than last year although his underlying numbers are not bad. But the OEL/Myers pairing is not adequate as top shutdown pairing. But neither is the Hughes/Schenn pairing.

 

5. Looking ahead. I like putting OEL and Bear together. They are probably the  likeliest pair to be adequate as a shutdown pairing.

 

6. On the numbers it is hard to understand why Stillman is playing ahead of Burroughs and Rathbone (or even Brisebois). Actually, the guy who should be playing is Burroughs even though he is a right shot D. If Dermott returns maybe this whole thing will be moot. But the Canucks obviously still need a good top 4 D.

 

7. Demko will likely get better. Goalies go through streaks. If he gets hot and Yeo gets his head out of his rear end in coaching the PK, the team could get hot. They have a lot of scoring potential.

 

 

Burroughs not playing has been the head scratcher starting from last season. BB just likes having Hunt and Stillman who are just garbage playing above him. We will not win with Yeo or BB as coach.

 

I think you are missing the morale boost the Canucks got from changing coaches and were able to play better. However, the worrying thing from last year that has carried over to this year is the must win games were lost. 

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54 minutes ago, IBatch said:

Well done OP.   

 

I agree that the Canucks record is worse then it should be.   FOUR games in a row where we blew games ...Never seen that before, any team.   Why the team felt it could sit back in the third period ... well if it was advised, that's on the coaching too.   This team can't sit back, it didn't work with Green either, although at least his awful 5 man box did work with two goal leads, most of the time anyways, but it also required elite goaltending, which we haven't had this year.   Demko ... he should turn it around.  

 

Not sure why Miller is relied so much on the PK.   We have to have better options.   Maybe a RW should switch, or try Kuzmo.    EP with Horvat, was commented on before the start of the season, as a reason for optimism on our PK.     Was the biggest reason for our turnaround last season...Went from worst all-time, to a respectable 12th (just the Bruce sample size, and it was a result of changing it up).   It can't be this bad can it?  Mikheyev was brought in, so was Lazar to at least help with the forward part of this...we are missing Motte.    Bottom six guys should be able to PK or do something that adds to the group.   Same with our best players ..: EP at least,  is doing his job.   QHs i'm not convinced yet he should be on the PK.    OEL's shine is evaporating. 

 

Lazar ... maybe he's a key injury.   But agree we were injured last year too.   

 

Brock.   Hate to say this, but it's time for a change of scenery, even if it's just a bag of pucks at this point.   

 

Id be fine with keeping Myers if we had another top four D.   Like his size and his ability to play a hard nosed playoff style post season.   If we don't have a guy like that and make the playoffs, we are toast.  Take him out and put a passive top four RHD in his place that is small ... ugh I sure hope not anyways. 

 

Other then that yes trade Myers when we can.   And take him off the PK already.   Like Edler, he's ready for the pasture in that regard, Edler was just too slow, fine infornt of the net, but couldn't catch the pucks he used to be able to.  

Myers is too unpredictable which can be either really good, (ive seen him use his stick on enough sure goals ... that's where stats don't work and the eye test does) but at this point, those goals he's preventing don't make up for the goals he's creating against.    

 

OEL Myers would be fine at 5 and 4 each... that's over 4 million in dead cap.   Just because they are the highest paid D's aside from QH's doesn't mean they have to be used.    
 

Burroughs is this teams version of Motte, but playing on defense.   He's earned the right to play, and we should give him a shot on the PK.   Brisbois isn't far behind him, just plays the left side and a safer smoother game.   Both these guys are good/decent depth guys. 

 

Rathbone.  I'm not worried about him.   Guys a gym rat, could probably throw QHs over his shoulder and skate around.    Stillmans toughness is fine, but he should be the extra guy, and only used if we need him against certain teams.   He needs NHL games or we need to trade him.   Won't be long before we can't put him in the AHL. 

 

Anyways, it's a long season.   One month in the books.   Next year, if playoffs are again the goal, the management needs to make sure we don't have such a bad schedule to start the year.   Even NHL.com noticed it, and reported that it would be a key element to our fortunes this year.   As in a bad start again.   11 of 17 games away ones, a couple back to backs, several different time zones, and early morning flights or after game ones.   Morning skates back home...must be tough. 

 

The next part of the schedule is against some easier teams.    Not that there is an easy win in this league,  but we have to catch up, and then make some headway or this teams headed for an overhaul.   We are anyways, but by that i mean some players we value, are on their way out. Kuzmo, Horvat etc.   

The more I look at the style the Canucks are playing, the more I believe OEL has dropped off because of BB. I think he is being told to play D and not being given the rope to just play like he was in ARZ. I could be very wrong but he seems to be thinking or covering more than just playing. Maybe, it is due to being with Myers.

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A few things. 
‘Coaching change is a kick in the teeth and they started to take things more seriously for a while. This usually happens and is usually not sustainable. 
‘They believed they accomplished something last year and thought they could coast to success this season and have ignored all the good habits needed to win. 
EP is having career year, Bo is having career year, Kuz is great addition so why do we suck?  Demko has been human, Quinn has not been the same level and everyone not named Bo, Andre or Elias has been having a down year. OEL looks like a shadow of the player he was last year which was already a shadow of what he used to be. Myers and JTM seem to be having a contest on who can create the most chaos. Brock has been out and ineffective when in, the defence is a clusterfuck of epic proportions and the idea of team defence hasn’t been there at all. 
The core is not terrible it is actually pretty good just incomplete.  We are very dependent on youth which is inconsistent. 
We are a special teams teams based offence and have a historically bad PK AGAIN. 
‘Need to change the mix around Elias and Quinn, need to send Hoglander down to get his scoring touch back since Bruce doesn’t trust him. Need to put everyone older than Bo up for auction and do your due diligence to listening for offers for Bo.  None of this can happen until closer to TDL though. Flat cap is killing movement.  
‘I also take best offer for JTM no matter what it is as long as no long term cap dumps. Just think when we see the age related decline we are seeing in OEL his game will be ugly, ugly, ugly. Bad enough this year with lazy defensive efforts and dumb ass blind passes into high danger areas. 

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Too many new faces. Management, coaching, and players (35%). This equals a lack of chemistry and experimentation. Plus at few of the losses are on the officials. 

Perhaps some guys are simply punching the clock because they know the team is under construction and won't contend. It's a mess but an opportunity to make bold moves and draft high. The culture that Bieksa referenced was on a team already constructed. The renovation on the current team is stalled and next steps for 22/23 are not obvious.

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Ok to me the biggest difference to last year is in net. Demko has not had a good start and we know he is streaky so its very possible he will go on a hot streak as well. teams are able to get the pass through laterally and making him move side to side. sometimes thats on the D sometimes its him not reading the play very well. He has to count on the defenseman to not allow the pass on 2 on 1 s but specifically in the Edmonton game when the pass goes across he is diving back and leaving the whole top half of the  net open. Im not blaming Demko for the poor start but he has been a part of it for sure.Martin would get a few more games if i was coach.

 

Faceoffs and I may be off on the stat here but defensive face offs especially to start the penalty kill seem down. We dont start with the puck and the other team gets possession right away. Thats why so many teams are scoring so quickly off the PK. I dont like Mike Yeo as a coach and he hasnt been successful anywhere that i know of, Why we hired him as an assistant i do not know.

 

The D men are way too often out of position. Not just on the PK but way too often in the run of the play. They are trying to do too much. This has been the worst stretch of OEL we have seen. Despite his contract he has been ok as a D man. if he was making 4 mill no one would be complaining about his play. Myers has been a disaster. I keep looking for him to play a really good game but i cant think of one this season. Hughes is terrible defensively but thats  not supposed to be his role. Stillman has not worked out. He may have a role to play but its not as an everyday player. Burroughs, Rathbone  should play above him.If we are going to have a tire fire in our own end at least lets let the young guys play and gain some valuable experience.

 

Up front Bo has been great. How we can think of not signing him is ridiculous. Miller has been a turn over machine. Garland has done little.  Outside of Petey, Kuz and Mik the best line has been the fourth line. They constantly have the puck in the other zone and actually have contributed.

im not sold on the line changes this season. They are  not working for the most part. Petey with the two Russians is ok.

Bo with Miller is a waste. Play Miller at center. You signed him to play the way he did last year yet you play him on the wing. I would play the lines up front like this

 

Kuz Petey Mik

Pearson Bo Boeser when healthy

Podkolzin Miller Garland- i beliebve this is how they finished the year up last year and they looked pretty good together

Joshua Aman Studnicka

Lazar when healthy can replace Studnicka

 

Hoglander does not make my team at this time he needs to play and play lots in Abby. as long as Garland is on this team Hoglander is not going to play. Too many small forwards.

 

Theres a long way to go in the season. but starting in the hole every year is not a recipe for success

 

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5 hours ago, JamesB said:

Last year after Boudreau took over as coach the team was among the top 10 in the league and generated points at a rate that would easily be good enough for the playoffs over a full season. 

 

The team retained the core from last year and added a couple of potentially high-end forwards (Kuzmenko and Mikheyev) and upgraded the 4th line. On the paper this year's team is a better team.

 

But this year's team is off to a very poor start. I think pretty much everyone who follows the Canucks is surprised.

 

So what explains the dramatic under-performance relative to expectations?

 

Everyone has an opinion. But rather than just stating my opinions, I will report what the public analytics has to say, as Evolving Hockey has started posting its analytics results.

 

I don't think the results are too surprising, but it is interesting to see what the numbers say.

 

1. First what is NOT the explanation. Injuries are not the explanation. The Canucks had quite a few injuries to start the season but the injury picture over the first 11 games has been no worse that most of the time last year. And right now, the team is pretty healthy at least as far of the core players go.

 

2. Looking at the data, the biggest apparent factor is the significant drop in performance by Demko. A crude measure of goalie performance is save percentage. Last year Demko had a good save percentage at 91.4%. This year it is dismal at 88.0%, ranking 50th of the 64 guys who have played in goal this year.. That difference works out to about 1 goal per game. A more sophisticated measure is goals saved above expected, which takes into account shot location and other factors. By that measure Demko is dead last in the NHL. That is not entirely fair to Demko as teams that give up a lot of shots tend to look worse on this measure. More complete measures have Demko back up to about 50th in league. And these more sophisticated measures have Demko giving up about 1 goal per game more than last year. If Demko had given up one less goal per game, the Canucks would have won the two OT losses and picked another point or two, That would put them in the playoff mix and a lot of people would be saying that the Canucks were not too far from expected performance. Demko is not the whole story but he is a big part.

 

3. The PK. Once again the PK has been terrible to start the season -- worst in the NHL. Last year Horvat and Miller played a lot of PK early and were not very good. When Bruce came he changed the personnel mix and brought Petey and Hughes in. Those guys turned out to be very good on the PK. (Also the PK system changed under new assistant coach Scott Walker). This year, with Walker gone, Yeo took over and went back to heavy reliance on Miller and Horvat (and Schenn and Myers). And once again, their performance is poor. All 4 of those guys have negative numbers in Evolving Hockey's performance relative to replacement level players. That is bad. The best PK guys this year have been Petey and Joshua for forwards and OEL and Burroughs for D. Mike Yeo might learn but so far he has messed up pretty badly as PK coach. His systems are also too passive.

 

4. Some players have started poorly, Using the expected goals above replacement stat the BEST guys on the team have been Petey, Horvat, Miller, and Kuzmenko. (No surprises there.) The worst guys on the team have been Pearson, Myers, Boeser and Podkolzin.  No real surprises there either. In terms of explaining differences, Pearson has gotten worse, Boeser has gotten worse (maybe due to his injury), Podz seems to be having a 3rd year slump instead of a second year slump, and Myers is pretty similar to last year. In neither year has he been an adequate RD for a top defensive pairing. OEL has also struggled more this year than last year although his underlying numbers are not bad. But the OEL/Myers pairing is not adequate as top shutdown pairing. But neither is the Hughes/Schenn pairing.

 

5. Looking ahead. I like putting OEL and Bear together. They are probably the  likeliest pair to be adequate as a shutdown pairing.

 

6. On the numbers it is hard to understand why Stillman is playing ahead of Burroughs and Rathbone (or even Brisebois). Actually, the guy who should be playing is Burroughs even though he is a right shot D. If Dermott returns maybe this whole thing will be moot. But the Canucks obviously still need a good top 4 D.

 

7. Demko will likely get better. Goalies go through streaks. If he gets hot and Yeo gets his head out of his rear end in coaching the PK, the team could get hot. They have a lot of scoring potential.

 

 

Yup.  When Demko gets back to his regular (Double Bubble) self we will win lots of games.  The guys play with a lot more confidence and are tighter defensively when they have faith in their goalie.  

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Team desperately needs one (if not two) top 4 RHD, a LEGIT 3C, to help shoulder hard minute/defensive/pk minutes, and better structure/execution in basically all situations. And yes, Demko to return to at least mostly normal form (though relying on him to play at Vezina caliber and cover those warts, is not a recipe for success either).

 

They also need to figure out who the "me" guy/guys are on the roster and promptly ship them out and/or set them straight. 

 

There's much work to be done. And it's going to cost moving some players out that some fans aren't going to like.

 

I hope new management has the huevos to do so. I also hope the fan base doesn't implode if they don't get peak value for those guys back, and "win" those trades. There's a bigger picture here IMO.

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Spot on post for me. 

On the D / PK side having injuries + all our reliable D in Hughes, OEL, Myers looking like their are still managing ininjuries or still trying to find their best form has certainly added. 

 

Completely agree on Demmer - he'll bounce back tho... we hope !! 

 

Kuz is really our only 'hot' winger too - Pods, Hogz, Myk, not having great productivity,  Brok out.  Garland has looked good on the puck for me, but not putting the puck in the net with any regularity. 

 

This run of games is huge - hope we can get our confidence and sharpness back.

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44 minutes ago, MaxVerstappen33 said:

Everyone wants to give away Brock at this point. That is more dangerous than ppl think. He's not on a long deal. Just think if through before selling at rock bottom on the guy 

Yeah personally, I think that's nuts.

 

He's recovering from a surgery, had basically no preseason/camp and still managed what, 4 points in 6 games before his set back from the surgery?

 

Do I wish he was faster? Yup. But he wins board battles, above average play maker, scores goals, decent defensively, and has solid character. At the very least let him play some trade value back and wait and see if someone like McDonaugh can replace him in a year or so and move him for a legit return if that's the best route.

 

I move Miller and Garland (as good as both are) long before Boeser IMO. Miller largely due to future cap liability, Garland simply because Hoglander can do/can develop largely the same skill set/role, at the same stature for less than half the cap.

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1 hour ago, MaxVerstappen33 said:

Everyone wants to give away Brock at this point. That is more dangerous than ppl think. He's not on a long deal. Just think if through before selling at rock bottom on the guy 

damn right I do.  Whatever they can get for him. The cap space is valuable enough to justify it.  He's a passenger and there's no room for passengers

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I think it's all of those points and the fact that sometimes in the aftermath of change and time off, things take time. More time is required for things to come together, gel, and click. 

 

Given last season and the changes made in the off-season, many expected (and wanted)  the team to be better out of the gate. Obviously the reality is/was that more time was required to come together. Expectations and reality were somewhat out of sync. 

 

Also too ... there is an adaptation period after injuries. It sometimes takes a number of games to feel comfortable and confident yet we're expecting guys to be 100% when they return. Some are, some aren't. 

 

We're still going through it all too. 

 

We've all seen the negatives but the positive signs were there ... being up on our opponents early in games, decent 5x5 play, Petey's return to form, Bo's emergence, the 4th line coming together, increasing our physicality ...

 

It sounds cliche but it's clear these guys need 20-25 games to get going and put it all together. They're slow starters. I'd even say that was the case last season too - it wasn't an anomaly - but it was masked by the rabid demand to get rid of Green and Benning. This season they're coming dangerously close to getting another coach canned because of their slow start and needing more time to come together.

 

Things are coming together. Hopefully it won't be too late.

 

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11 hours ago, JamesB said:

Using the expected goals above replacement stat the BEST guys on the team have been Petey, Horvat, Miller, and Kuzmenko.

Given the amount of criticism that Miller has come in for from some in this forum, this is an interesting stat.

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8 hours ago, FaninMex said:

The more I look at the style the Canucks are playing, the more I believe OEL has dropped off because of BB. I think he is being told to play D and not being given the rope to just play like he was in ARZ. I could be very wrong but he seems to be thinking or covering more than just playing. Maybe, it is due to being with Myers.

Or maybe OEL just isn't as good as folks want him to be.   Deep questions, deep thoughts.   He's not that expensive but he's also not cheap, that applies to both, but at least one is a RHD, and worst case, like Edler and his 6 million dollar extension, won't be here after next season at that price anyways.   OEL?  Well......darn.  

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