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Under Pressure: The Sedins

Aug 11, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT


The simple explanation for why the Vancouver Canucks didn’t make the playoffs last season is that they were ineffective offensively. They averaged just 2.33 goals per game, which put them ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers.

Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin are by far their best offensive weapons and they didn’t deliver last season. The former Art Ross Trophy winners combined for just 27 goals and 97 points. And yet if it were suggested that they were to blame for the Canucks’ downfall, or that their collapse was an indication that they’re over the hill at the age of 33 (34 on Sept. 26), there would be strong push-back.

The Sedin twins were largely spared from the fans’ ire despite their rough season because the Canucks’ offensive woes were instead blamed on former head coach John Tortorella. That isn’t just the opinion of those outside of the franchise either. President of hockey operations Trevor Linden suggested that Tortorella having the twins block shots and kill penalties “was a misuse of their abilities.”

Henrik added that the twins wanted to become the two-way players that Tortorella was looking for, but ultimately they “may have had a tough time combining the two.”

Tortorella’s gone now and it’s likely that new bench boss Willie Desjardins will allow the twins to return to their roots. The expectation is that that will have a positive impact on the Sedins, but what if it doesn’t? What if Henrik and Daniel finish 2014-15 with around 50 points each? Without Tortorella around to serve as a lightning rod, the blame might shift to the twins themselves.

That’s not to suggest that Daniel and Henrik will struggle; it’s just that the onus is more firmly pinned on them than it was last season. Especially given that their matching four-year, $28 million contracts run through 2017-18.

  1. pigeonbutt - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Several thoughts:

    First, Torts had the Sedins regularly kill penalties for the first time as Canucks. This went well – they’re dominant possession players after all. It was a long standing complaint that when Vancouver took a lot of penalties the Sedins hardly saw the ice. However, the entirety of the top 6 saw heavy, heavy minutes under Torts. The third line was sparingly used until the end of the season and the 4th line was getting something absurd like 4 minutes in some games. A more even deployment should help the stamina of the Sedins.

    Second, Daniel Sedin is not the same player since the Keith headshot. It’s painfully obvious. He hesitates in shooting positions, he rarely tries to deke into the slot… he now plays basically the same passing game as Henrik, but just not as effectively. Paired with the avalanche of injuries to Burrows and the lack of proper first line winger replacement (sorry Hansen) and you have a first line that lacks a triggerman. I believe some people are over-hyping Vrbata but he still is a reasonably known goal scorer. This should help elucidate the line roles.

    Finally, the PP last year was atrocious and the coaching staff didn’t seem to care to fix it. Getting it back to its potential is an absolute must for this team and, if successful, should see rejuvenation in the games of the Sedins and Edler.

    What people also need to remember is the Canucks had uniformly terrible luck last year. Their possession metrics didn’t support their shooting % and other stats like PDO we attribute to “luck.
    With a regression to the norm, a fixed PP and Vrbata showing he can hopefully pot 25+ goals then the Sedins should reasonably hit 60-70 points this season.

  2. nobandwagoners - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    The Sedins will rebound from last season as, hopefully, will most of the surrounding cast. But it’s unlikely that either will be in contention for the Art Ross again. Much of their game is more cerebral than speed so their advancing age shouldn’t be that much of a hindrance but they can’t afford to get that much slower or, as @pigeonbutt points out, change their (Daniel’s) style of game. Perhaps Vrbata will be the much-sought after consistently producing winger to complete the trio but a balanced second line to help reduce some scoring pressure and divide defensive attention would help.

    They’re the top line and getting paid top-line dollars for 4 more years (ouch), although perhaps in the last 2 years they’ll start to transition to the “second” line but that raises the question whether any of the still untested rookies or other young guys could step into the top line by then.

  3. calden99 - Aug 11, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    The Sedin sisters!

  4. canada2014gold - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    Nice one Caldrin, real original

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