Vancouver Canucks: Sedins should play on third line

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Daniel Sedin
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Daniel Sedin /

Daniel and Henrik Sedin fronted the Vancouver Canucks offence last season, but it’s time for the twins to take a demotion to the third line in 2017-18.

If the Vancouver Canucks are set on rebuilding this team and letting new head coach Travis Green run his own system, then it’s time for veterans Daniel and Henrik Sedin to move down to the third line.

It may not sound popular with fans, but it’s the best thing for this team if they want to enter a transition phase where the young, up-and-coming players accept more ice time and responsibility.

Bo Horvat was this team’s leading scorer in 2016-17, scoring 20 goals and 52 points. Yet each Sedin averaged a minute more of ice time per game than Horvat. Rebuilding teams — actually every team — tends to put its best player on the first line.

Heck, Sven Baertschi (18), and Markus Granlund (19) had more goals than Daniel did (15) in 2016-17. Why did Daniel get substantially more time on ice than these two players who potted more goals?

The Canucks have been very loyal to the Sedins and vice versa. They haven’t demanded a trade or anything even though they’re entering the twilight years of their respective careers. But if the Sedins want to display loyalty again, they’ll have to accept a lesser role on the ice.

Horvat is the top centre

Horvat has done more than enough to show why he deserves to start on the first line in 2017-18, and it would be a surprise if he started behind Henrik to open up the season.

He and prized prospect Brock Boeser figure to form two-thirds of this new line, with either Baertschi orGranlund joining them. All three of those guys can score 20 goals, so it’ll be interesting to see which one lands first-line duty.

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But Horvat is more than ready to be this team’s franchise forward — at least until Elias Pettersson arrives. He’s shown his ability to be a top-flight player, and the Canucks have no reason to put him on the second or third line.

Sorry Henrik, but there’s a new sheriff in town. Remember when you stole the No. 1 centre role from Brendan Morrison in 2006? Horvat will be doing to you what you did to Morrison.

Sutter or Gagner For Line 2

The Canucks signed Sam Gagner to a three-year deal, and the versatile forward is capable of playing centre or wing. He scored 18 goals and 50 points for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016-17, and should fix the power play while adding more speed to a team that’s fairly slow compared to others.

Though Gagner spent plenty of time on the wing in Columbus, it’s logical for Vancouver to try him out at centre. Gagner would have the chance to fix Loui Eriksson while playing with either Baertschi or Granlund. Now that’s a good-looking second line.

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And before you laugh at me, I do believe Brandon Sutter should be tested on the second line if Green decides to keep Gagner as a winger. Sutter didn’t see as much time in the top-six that he deserved, yet he scored 17 goals.

Sutter plays very good two-way hockey and has pretty good speed to go with his slick shot. He’s almost a poor man’s Ryan Kesler. If he can almost score 20 goals as a predominantly career third-liner, imagine what Sutter could do if he fronted the second line.


Call me crazy if you will, but the Sedins are going to be 37 years of age when the puck drops on the 2017-18 season. If the Canucks are truly prepared to begin a new era of youth, then the Sedins need to take a seat in the back.

These guys aren’t first liners any more, and they probably aren’t second liners on most teams. Though the Canucks don’t have any bonafide superstars, there is plenty of depth on their top-three lines.

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If this team wants to score more in 2017-18, then the likes of Horvat, Sutter and/or Gagner should be occupying the top-two centre spots. Let the Sedins skate on the third line, and the Vancouver Canucks offence might take off even more next season.

*All stats are courtesy of Hockey Reference unless otherwise noted*