The Vancouver Canucks are not just bad. They might be the worst team in the entire National Hockey League.
On Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks lost 5-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs — the worst team in the entire NHL. Now, what if I told you it was actually Toronto who beat the league’s worst team?
Seven points are all that sets the Canucks and Maple Leafs apart. Vancouver has a 9-12-5 home record, 22-22-12 total, ranks 27th in goals for — one goal behind the Leafs –, 19th in goals against, and is tied for 27th in goal differential at minus-24. For some mysterious reason, that is still good for 23rd in the league. Then why would the Canucks be the worst team in the league?
Let’s take a look at the best predictor of future scoring and success that is currently out there: expected goals (xG). Don’t know the stat? Then check out why Expected Goals are a better of future scoring than Corsi, Goals at hockey-graphs.com and waste no time to come back here. Know the stat? Perfect. Get ready for this.
"Expected Goals (xG) significantly outperforms score-adjusted Corsi (CF%) and Goals For (GF%) in predicting future goals at the team and player levels. xG is also descriptive, which makes it a superior tool in evaluating a team and player’s past and current offensive performance."
The so-called fun vs. boring matrix gives us a first idea of the Vancouver Canucks’ current state.
Only few teams are expected to get more goals against per 60 minutes than the Canucks. Considering the fact that the average NHL game of the 2015-16 season only has 2.68 goals, being expected to get over 2.2 goals against per 60 is quite bad. According to war-on-ice.com, the Canucks average 12 high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes. Only the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers are worse — at 12.1.
The Canucks have the worst xGF/60 of all NHL clubs. Yup. It is that terrible. War-on-ice.com lists the Canucks 27th in the league with only 9.2 high-danger scoring chances for per 60 minutes. Only the Avalanche, Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils are worse than that.
Watching Canucks games, these stats are hardly surprising, but they had to be listed here anyway. Sorry.
Moving on to the next chart.
This one might be a little more confusing for those who are not overly familiar with advanced stats. On the x-axis, you see the xG stat talked about above — and the Canucks are still worst in that. Hence, they are labelled “bad”.
Now, as per war-on-ice.com, the Canucks have a slightly negative PDO of 99.9 — which basically says they deserve to be where they are. However, their expected PDO (xPDO) is even worse than the observed PDO. So, despite having a negative PDO, Vancouver’s xPDO is so bad their Delta PDO is actually positive, and the Canucks can therefore be labelled lucky.
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In other words, the Canucks are a terrible team but are lucky to not be even worse.
This is something we have been able to observe for a while now, but yet it is hard to actually see it proven with numbers. The Vancouver Canucks are not a playoff team and they certainly would not deserve to be one.
Now, injuries were certainly a factor that led to this misery. Losing players like Brandon Sutter, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler and Jacob Markstrom to long-term injuries hurts. But, now is the time to analyze the situation objectively instead of finding excuses.
While each and every player should do his very best for the rest of the season, we shall be allowed to say the Canucks are out of the playoff race. They better be.
On the bright side, Auston Matthews is “real good.” Right, Willie Desjardins?
What do you think about the team? Do they deserve to be where they are or is the roster better than that? Let us know in the comments!