The Vancouver Canucks had another tough month in February as the team managed to win two of the 13 games they played. They started the month with a six-game losing streak and ended it with a four-game losing streak. Still, the club had a few players who stood out and played fairly well throughout the month.
Third Star: Quinn Hughes
Choosing the third star was a tough one, as Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko both deserve to be mentioned. Hughes took the third star in February due to his 10 points in 13 games. His 10 points contribute to his league lead in defenceman points, which stand at 21 through the first two months of the season. The 21-year-old defenceman was the third star in January as well. Although he has posted impressive stats, his play in the defensive zone has not been great this season but has improved throughout the season. He currently has a Corsi For % (CF%) of 50%.
Hughes continues to prove he is the best offensive defenceman in franchise history. He likely won’t break Doug Lidster’s franchise record of 63 points in 80 games this season due to the shortened schedule. Hughes will have his opportunity to do so next season in an 82 game schedule.
Demko deserves an honourable mention, at the very least, as the goalie played well towards the end of the month, particularly in his last three games. He posted a .924 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average but still had a 0-3-0 record. His poor record is due to the lack of goal support from the club. Expect Demko to have an impressive month of March and continue to see playing time as the team’s number one starter.
Second Star: Brock Boeser
Brock Boeser was the first-star last month and continued his impressive play in February. Although his goals may have dipped from eight in January to four last month, the forward relied on his playmaking ability, which he has developed over the past few seasons, to help him produce. He added seven assists, which gave him 11 points in 13 games in February.
Through the first two months of the 2020-21 season, Boeser leads the team in goals with 12 and in points with 22 in 24 games. He also boasts a .92 points per game, which is the highest in his career. Boeser maintaining his offensive productivity is a good sign since he is having a bounce-back season after the struggles he faced last year, as he scored a career-low 16 goals and 45 points. The American forward is four goals away from passing up his goal total from last season and will likely surpass that in March.
First Star: Elias Pettersson
Elias Pettersson had a tough January, only scoring three goals and posting seven points in 11 games. He struggled to score a goal through the first six games of the season but finished the first month of the season strong, with three goals in the last five games. Pettersson was primed to pick up his game in February, which is exactly what he did.
The Swedish forward stepped up in February, scoring a team-leading five goals and posting 11 points in 13 games. Through the first two months of the season, Pettersson is fourth in team points with 18 and third in goals with eight. He should finish off the season strong, as he has looked comfortable since his tough start in the first six games of the season.
Canucks’ Young Stars Continue to Play Well
Despite the poor record so far this season, the Canucks’ young stars continue to impress. Pettersson and Boeser are two of the team’s top point producers at forward, while Hughes manages to pitch in from the blueline. As for Demko, he may not have been as good as the other three, but he came on strong at the end of February and has taken over the crease.
March is an important month for the Canucks, as it should indicate how their season will end. Through the first two months, the team seems likely to miss the playoffs. Unless the club puts together a miraculous stretch of wins in March to save the season, general manager Jim Benning will likely sell at the April 12th trade deadline. For the team to pull off a season-changing winning streak, multiple players will have to step up, including most of the bottom-six forwards.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.