Vancouver Canucks: 5 Players Who Could Score More Goals in 2016-17

Apr 4, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen (36) celebrates a goal against Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (not pictured) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen (36) celebrates a goal against Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (not pictured) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Anton Rodin

2015-16 Points: 16 goals, 37 points in 33 games (with Brynas IF Gavle, Swedish Hockey League)

2016-17 Potential Goal Total: 13

Unlike everyone else on the list, Anton Rodin is a wild card. He was productive in the Swedish league during the past season and won the Swedish League MVP award;but we have no NHL numbers to set precedence for next season.

However, Rodin is very similar to Sven Baertschi. Both struggled to crack the NHL after being drafted in the early rounds (13th overall in 2011 for Baertschi; 53rd overall in 2009 for Rodin). Both are getting a second chance in Vancouver under coach Willie Desjardins. Both are left-handed shooters. Both are 5-foot-11 (Baertschi is 190 pounds; Rodin is slighter at 181).

So Sven Baertschi’s 15 goals and 29 points this season provides a good high-water mark for Rodin. Baertschi did not find his game immediately, and Anton Rodin will inevitably need some time to adjust to the North American game and carve out his place in the lineup.

If he can adjust properly, perhaps Jim Benning will have uncovered Sven Baertschi 2.0.

What Rodin needs to do to get there: 

Find some chemistry. Could Rodin, like Baertschi, find chemistry with Bo Horvat? Could he bump Baertschi to his off-wing on the second line, or perhaps free Baertschi up to play elsewhere in the lineup?

Could he ride shotgun with the Sedins, as other lefties have before?

Could he line up beside Brandon Sutter, who can offset Rodin’s smaller size while Rodin helps him out offensively? Could Jake Virtanen and Rodin make a good pair of wingers for any of the Canucks’ centers for that reason?

The possibilities are intriguing, and Rodin could very well give the Canucks some good scoring balance throughout their lineup. We’ll have to wait for training camp to see how it all plays out.

Keep the coach happy. Like Jake Virtanen and other younger players, Rodin will need to make sure he is pulling his weight on defense if he wants to stick with the Canucks.

Willie Desjardins can sour on players if they are inconsistent, but at the same time, he showed Alex Burrows and Bo Horvat a lot of loyalty last season when they were not scoring, specifically because they were putting in good efforts on the other side of the puck.

It will probably take Rodin a while to find his offensive game; in order to buy himself time to do that, he needs to avoid being a healthy scratch. That means doing those “little things” that endear players to their coach.

Bottom Line: Anton Rodin needs to follow Sven Baertschi’s example. 

They may not be identical players, and Rodin will not necessarily duplicate anything that Sven Baertschi has done.

But at the very least, Rodin should find some inspiration in seeing that, like him, Baertschi was given an opportunity with this club and this coach, was played in an offensively-inclined role that he could succeed in, and was given suitable rewards for what he made of that opportunity.

If Sven Baertschi could do it, Anton Rodin should not doubt that he could do it too.

Conclusion: The Vancouver Canucks may find extra scoring in-house.

The potential totals are optimistic, and not every player will get there. Some of these five might get injured or might just not play well enough.

But there is potential for some Vancouver Canucks players who are already on the roster for next season (except for Baertschi, who is expected to be retained) to bump the team up the scoring ladder.

Next: Vancouver Canucks Could Trade for the 3rd Overall Pick

I’ve projected that these players could net the team a total of 43 extra goals — I did use the word optimistic, now, didn’t I? That might be wishful thinking, but even if only one or two of these players reach these benchmarks it would be an improvement.

Either way, if a playoff berth is the goal, the Canucks need to score more, and the five players listed here could have a lot more to give.