Vancouver Canucks profiles: Henrik Sedin tries to resurge

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Jonny Brodzinski
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 31: Jonny Brodzinski /

Here at The Canuck Way, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Vancouver Canucks players as we near the 2017-18 season. Next up is Henrik Sedin, who looks to regain his form after a down year in 2017.

The Vancouver Canucks can only hope that Henrik Sedin — who’s first all-time in franchise scoring — isn’t what he appeared to be in 2016-17. That is, they’re praying he isn’t well behind his days as a top-two centre.

Henrik had his worst season since the 2003-04 lockout, scoring just 15 goals and 50 points for the Canucks last season. He also registered a minus-27 rating, which was the worst of his career by miles.

Given his upcoming age (37), along with the mileage on his body, it’s easy to believe that the Vancouver captain is trending downward from here on out. It happens to all athletes, and to 99 percent of NHL players in their late 30s.

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As is the case with twin brother Daniel, many don’t know know what the future holds for Henrik. Both Sedins are heading into contract years, meaning it’s possible they get dealt at the trade deadline.

Or they could leave as free agents next year, or they could sign extensions. There’s also the distant possibility they retire, or even return to Sweden to finish out their careers.

But right now, the Canucks can only hope that Number 33 has a little more left to give. 2016-17 wasn’t his most memorable season, but there are a number of reasons why he could be more productive in 2018.

With Bo Horvat likely to assume the first line duties, Henrik could move down to the second line. If new head coach Travis Green is feeling bold, perhaps he’ll even move Brandon Sutter up to second and Henrik down to the third line.

So Henrik will have a different head coach and could be on a different line with different mates. What does 2017-18 hold for him? Let’s take a look.

Needing a bounce-back season

The Sedins are identical twins, and were identical players last season. Both players had their worst seasons in over a decade, but each twin maintained the strong puck possession game.

Henrik had a 56.1 Corsi For percentage in 2016-17 — though that was his lowest dating back to 2007-08. Nonetheless, he was able to contain the puck and didn’t give it up often. But he and Daniel just couldn’t get the puck in the net enough.

Related Story: Daniel Sedin looks to rebound

As I mentioned in the above story, Daniel and Henrik could benefit with newcomer Sam Gagner acting as the third Sedin. Loui Eriksson didn’t pan out on the Sedins line, but Green has plenty of options to work with here. Youngster Brock Boeser is also a fit, but Gagner’s right-hand shot and slick speed make him the most logical option as the Sedins’ linemate.

With a new coach, a new system in place and a speedy winger on his line, Henrik Sedin has everything in place to better his lackluster 2016-17 stats.

Projecting the stats

For Henrik Sedin, the main key to have a successful 2017-18 season will be to remain healthy. He’s played all 82 games in two of the last three seasons, but his age-37 body will have to withstand more hits, bumps and bruises. That’s easier said than done.

But Henrik has been able to play 70-plus games consistently in his career. Having a new head coach, less responsibility as the top-line centre, a better year from Daniel and Gagner (hopefully), Henrik should be a little bit better in 2017-18. Here are the projected stats:

Goals: 16

Assists: 37

Points: 53

PIM: 39

+/-: -5

Corsi For %: 53.1

He won’t significantly improve from a down 2016-17 season, but Henrik Sedin will barely squeeze out a superior year in 2018. Though he continues to get up there in age, Henrik continues to be excellent in the puck possession game. That’ll ensure he doesn’t completely fall off in production.

Next: Prospects Ranking Top 20: #8 Adam Gaudette

With a change behind the bench and on the roster, second/third-line centre Henrik Sedin enjoys a slightly season year in 2017-18.