The Nuck Stops Here: Boeser, Power Play & Granlund

‘The Nuck Stops Here’ is a Vancouver Canucks news, opinion and analysis column that runs every Monday throughout the regular season.

News

Canucks Sign Brock Boeser

Brock Boeser (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The Canucks announced that they have signed 2015 first round pick Brock Boeser to an entry level contract. Taken 23rd overall, Boeser just finished his season with the University of North Dakota in the NCAA. In 32 games this past season, Boeser put up 16 goals and 33 points.

Boeser, 20, served as an assistant captain for his club. Since his signing, he has scored a goal in his debut, and has six shots in his two games. He stands at 6-foot 1-inch and clocks in at 200 pounds.

Markus Granlund to Undergo Wrist Surgery

General manger Jim Benning announced this week that forward Markus Granlund is set to undergo wrist surgery, with a timeline for his recovery to be released after the surgery. The wrist injury has been present for a significant chunk of the season, but management is confident he’ll have a full recovery. Granlund scored a career high 19 goals and 32 points in 69 games this season. His goal total currently ranks second the Canucks.

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Scores of the Week

Chicago Blackhawks – 4 : Vancouver Canucks – 5 (OT)

St. Louis Blues – 4 : Vancouver Canucks – 1

Minnesota Wild – 2 : Vancouver Canucks – 4

Winnipeg Jets – 2 : Vancouver Canucks – 1

Current Record: 30-36-9 (69 Points ~ 6th in Pacific Division, 12th in Western Conference, 27th in NHL)

Analysis

Fans Have Reason for Hope

What has arguably hurt the most for Canucks fans over the past few years hasn’t been the lack of winning. The primary disappointment has been the lack of hope. Nowadays, it seems the tale has changed. Driven by the arrival of Brock Boeser, fans of the club finally have a reason to look forward to what the future may hold.

Bo Horvat
Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to Boeser, 2013 ninth overall pick Bo Horvat leads the team in both points (50) and goals (20), leading many to believe he has the upside of a legitimate top line centre. His linemate, Sven Baertschi, has been a reliable scorer for the team, while Markus Granlund put up a surprising 19 goals before his season ended early (due to surgery).

The play of the recently acquired Nikolay Goldobin and waiver wire pickup Reid Boucher adds to the impact up front. It’s a group of forwards that boast legitimate scoring upside and offensive talent, a rarity for many years when discussing the Canucks franchise.

Throw in the play of Nikita Tryamkin and Troy Stecher from the blue line, and the Canucks finally boast a core of promising young forward. From a business, hockey and fan standpoint, the Canucks appear to be back on the path towards success.

Power Play Starting to Show Upside

One of the most frustrating components of the 2016-17 Canucks has been their play with the man advantage. Despite sitting near the bottom of the league in power play efficiency for nearly the entirety of the campaign, head coach Willie Desjardins has been unwilling to make adjustments.

(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

On many occasions, he has opted for the likes of Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna over younger, higher-upside options. This still holds true somewhat, but some of these trends have been reversed.

Reid Boucher has been given more opportunity, and has demonstrated an exceptional knack for shooting the puck. While fans have been intrigued by his potential, they are just now starting to see his true talent come to the forefront.

Meanwhile, Troy Stecher and Ben Hutton have both been given the opportunity to develop their offensive instincts manning the points on Bo Horvat’s unit. Both demonstrated the tools, and are now being given the chance to showcase.

While the power play is still not producing at an astonishingly high rate, the puck movement has appeared far more crisp and cohesive as young players have been given more opportunity. It is yet another reason why the youth must take the reigns of the hockey club in order to move towards successful on-ice results.

Around the Blog-O-Sphere

Fun links about the Vancouver Canucks from all around the internet.

Re-building is a long-term job for the Canucks [The Globe and Mail]

Now is the time to jump on the Canucks bandwagon [The Canuck Way]

Could Ken Hitchcock go the Canucks? [The Hockey Writers]

The Canucks’ patience with their power play continues to be a problem [The Province]

Bo Horvat has his hands full being the Canucks’ centre of attention [Vancouver Sun]

Previewing the Canucks’ prospects in the OHL and WHL playoffs [CanucksArmy]