‘The Nuck Stops Here’ is a Vancouver Canucks news, opinion and analysis column that runs every Sunday throughout the regular season.
Reid Boucher Claimed off Waivers
The Canucks announced Wednesday that they have claimed 23-year-old forward Reid Boucher off waivers. Boucher has played for both the Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils this season, posting one goal and three points in 12 games played.
The 195-pound winger has put up 12 goals and 30 points in 85 career NHL games, in addition to 110 points in 169 AHL games. He led the OHL in goals over the course of the 2012-13 campaign as a member of the Sarnia Sting. He was selected by the Devils in the fourth round (99th overall) in the 2011 entry draft.
The Canucks have experienced a number of injuries over the past weeks. Ben Hutton and Chris Tanev missed Saturday’s exchange with the Calgary Flames, both after having blocked shots the previous night. Erik Gudbranson (wrist) and Jannik Hansen (knee) remain injured, while Alex Burrows missed Monday’s tilt with the Colorado Avalanche with an eye injury.
Scores of the Week
Vancouver Canucks – 3 : Colorado Avalanche – 2
Vancouver Canucks – 3 : Arizona Coyotes – 0
Vancouver Canucks – 4 : Calgary Flames – 2
Calgary Flames – 3 : Vancouver Canucks – 1
Current Record: 20-19-3 (6th in Pacific Division, 9th in Western Conference, 18th in NHL)
Markus Granlund Flying Under the Radar
One of Jim Benning’s more contested moves last season was the trade of renowned prospect Hunter Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames for forward Markus Granlund. Shinkaruk was seen as having untapped potential, whereas Granlund’s ceiling seemed limited. However, as the 2016-17 campaign hits its midway point, the trade is beginning to look like a shrewd one on Benning’s part.
Through 42 games, the 23-year-old Granlund has nine goals and 17 points, essentially an 82-game pace of 18 goals and 34 points. This blows away early season expectations from those who had the Finnish centre putting up just a handful of points, and hardly making a dent offensively.
Playing mostly alongside Brandon Sutter on the third line and on the second unit power play, he has demonstrated a high level of skill, as well as strong defensive awareness. He’s a well-rounded piece for the Canucks and has come to be one of their most reliable secondary scorers in Vancouver. Despite all that, he oftentimes doesn’t get the credit he may deserve.
Certainly, Granlund is not the flashiest of players, but he plays an important role in the team’s bottom-six. By the time end-of-year team awards roll around, we may just be discussing Granlund as the next winner of the team’s “Unsung Hero” award.
Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi Officially Primary Scorers
For years, fans of the Vancouver Canucks have been clamoring for someone to come in and replace the Sedin twins as the team’s offensive drivers.
The organization, up until this year, has failed to develop any sort of high-caliber talent capable of anchoring an effective top line. It appears, though, as if Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi have emerged as the club’s go-to point-getters, finally posing as the Sedin replacements the franchise so desperately needs.
Through 42 games, Horvat has a team-leading 13 goals and 29 points, while Baertschi isn’t far behind, with his 23 points tied with Daniel Sedin for third on the team, and his 11 goals placing second. This is with notably less power play time and overall ice-time that often ranks them as the third line.
It’s been an impressive first half for the pair, and should they keep it up, 2016-17 will go down as the year of the changing of the guard in Vancouver.
Around the Blog-O-Sphere
Fun links about the Vancouver Canucks from all around the internet.
The Canucks deserve to be in playoff contention these days [National Post]
Canucks prospect report for December [NHL.com]
The Canucks haven’t allowed Anton Rodin ample opportunity just yet [The Province]
The Sedins may be declining, but are still producing for the Canucks [The Globe and Mail]
Baertschi drawing strength from struggles with the Calgary Flames [Vancouver Sun]
The Canucks should offer a contract to Czech prospect Lukas Jasek [The Canuck Way]
Markus is a Vancouver Canucks columnist out of Victoria, BC. Markus is also a Staff Writer for Last Word on Hockey, an Editor and Staff Writer for country music website The Shotgun Seat, and founder of This Is Country Music.