Canucks News & Rumors: Pettersson, Horvat, Demko & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks‘ News & Rumors, Elias Pettersson is hot as the season winds down. Meanwhile, Bo Horvat has posted a career-high in goals as Thatcher Demko joins some of the top goalies in Canucks history. 

Pettersson Producing in Second Half of Season

After a tough start to the 2021-22 season, Pettersson has come to life in the Canucks playoff push. The forward has 32 points in his last 23 games, giving him 59 points in 72 games this season. Addtionally, He’s scored 17 of his 26 goals in that span. 

Elias Pettersson Vancouver Canucks
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Pettersson struggled to produce early in the season, but his recent success has given the club a chance at a potential playoff berth. With eight games remaining, the Canucks are six points behind the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card spot, while the Stars have a game in hand. However, they are also six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the third seed in the Pacific Divison with two games in hand. Although their chances of making the playoffs are slim, at 7.1% according to MoneyPuck, as long as Pettersson continues to produce, the Canucks will be in the hunt.  

Horvat Scores 30

Similar to Pettersson, Horvat has also increased his production in the second half of the season. As a result, he surpassed his career-high in goals, which he set in 2018-19 with 27 goals, and posted his first 30-goal season. He now has 31 goals in 69 games this season, becoming the first Canuck to score 30 goals since Radim Vrbata, who accomplished the feat in 2014-15. Additionally, Horvat’s 31 goals lead the team.

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The captain has stepped up during a crucial time for his team and will look to make another impact in the playoffs if the Canucks make it. He was a key player in the team’s 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff run, leading the team with 10 goals in 17 games. 

Demko Joins Top Canucks Goalies

Demko has a record of 31-20-6 on the season, which places him with some of the best goalies in franchise history. He picked up 30 wins for the first time in his career, joining Roberto Luongo (6x), Dan Cloutier (3x) and Kirk McLean. Additionally, Alex Auld and Gary Smith accomplished the feat during their time with the club as well. The 2021-22 season is Demko’s second as the club’s starter. He has been the team’s MVP all season long while posting a 2.67 goals-against average (GAA) and a .217 save percentage (SV%). 

Martin Signs New Contract 

The Canucks signed Spencer Martin to a two-year, one-way contract last week. Martin is expected to back up Demko next season. 

“We’re pleased with the success Spencer has had this season, not only in the American Hockey League but also during his stint with Vancouver earlier this year,” said general manager Patrik Allvin. “He has been very reliable for Abbotsford, contributing greatly to their Calder Cup Playoff berth earlier this month, and has shown an ability to perform in high-pressure situations.” 

Related: Canucks Have a Window of Opportunity for Postseason Berth

Martin played three games with Vancouver this season, posting a 1-0-2 record, a 1.59 GAA and a .958 SV%. Meanwhile, in the American Hockey League with Abbotsford, he’s posted a 17-4-2 record, a 2.39 GAA and a .918 SV%. 

Podkolzin Impressing in Rookie Season

With the regular season winding down, Vasily Podkolzin’s rookie season is just about over. Although he hasn’t been impressive statistically, scoring 11 goals and posting 20 points in 71 games, he has received praise for his overall game from his head coach and two of the team’s leaders. 

Vasily Podkolzin Vancouver Canucks
Vasily Podkolzin, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Head coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out how Podkolzin is playing with confidence, which has led to him playing in the top-six and averaging close to 16 minutes of time on ice (from ‘Canucks rookie Vasily Podkolzin prepares, plays like poised professional,’ The Province, April 11, 2022). 

“He’s a guy that, if he makes a mistake, he takes it to heart and it bothers him. He been playing very good and it’s almost like you’re not a rookie anymore. He’s just excited to play because he can get the job done and I don’t think people realize how strong he is.”

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Horvat adds Podkolzin is the player the team talks about most in the locker room due to his work ethic, hard shot and skating. He adds the Russian rookie is the first player on the ice in practice and is always in the gym. 

“He’s always in the gym, always the first guy on the ice in practice. It’s been fun to watch. He’s going to be a heck of a player for a lot of years. And changing the lines just speaks to Pods. He’s very versatile and no matter what line, he doesn’t change his game.”

Miller added the sky is the limit for the 2019 first-round pick. The praise Podkolzin is receiving in his rookie season is a good sign for his future. He’s already a pro and has shown off his skill. The forward should play a significant role in the Canucks’ future.