Vancouver Canucks: Analyzing 30-goal candidates

VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 8: Adam Larsson
VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 8: Adam Larsson /

The Vancouver Canucks had trouble scoring goals in the 2016-17 season. With the new faces entering the lineup, can a 30-goal scorer emerge from the roster?

In the salary cap era, the 30-goal scorer has become less and less common. Last season, 26 players scored 30 or more goals. That is a fraction of the 60 players who achieved the same feat in the 1983-84 season. Scoring 30 goals puts a player in an elite group. This type of player is a hot commodity around the league.

It has been a while since the Vancouver Canucks had a 30-goal scorer. The last player to do it was Radim Vrbata. He scored 31 goals in the 2014-15 season that led to a trip to the playoffs against Calgary.

During the memorable 2010-11 season, Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin scored 41 goals each. Daniel had three additional seasons where he scored 30 or more goals. Before them was Anson Carter, the best linemate the Sedins have ever had.

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The West Coast Express line featured Todd Bertuzzi, scoring more than 30 goals twice. Markus Naslund had six 30-goal seasons, while having five of those seasons consecutively. Naslund is tied with Trevor Linden for the franchise record of most 30-goal seasons. He is also tied with Tony Tanti for most consecutive 30-goal seasons.

Speaking of Trevor Linden, the current President of the team scored 30 goals in his rookie season. Linden’s season was one of the best in the history of the franchise until the 1991-92 season.

Pavel Bure made his debut, scoring 34 goals that year. He went on to do what no Canuck before or after him could accomplish. Bure had back-to-back 60 goal seasons, dazzling hockey fans everywhere.

I have not touched on all Canucks who scored 30 goals, but this is more reflective of the high scoring era during the ’80s and early ’90s.

Fast Forward to today

After a trip through Canucks history, let’s get back to the present. I believe there are only two players on the current roster who can become 30-goal scorers. The Sedins are past their prime and it appears they will not be approaching the 30-goal plateau again. Loui Eriksson was a 30-goal scorer once in Boston, but I do not see that happening again in Vancouver.

Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi are on the edge of becoming 20-goal scorers, but I do not think 30 goals are in the cards for either player. They are skilled forwards, but I’m not sure that either player can accomplish this in a single season.

Injuries have affected both players and I think they would need all 82 games to score 30 goals. I have a feeling Jake Virtanen will be in the same boat, but I welcome all three players to prove me wrong.

The first roster player that will hit 30 goals should be Brock Boeser. It has been said time and time again, but this young man has an elite skill set. I do not think his time will come this year, but I can see Boeser join the 30-goal club in the next few seasons. His shot is incredible and he is the trigger man the power play has missed for so long.

Last, but not least, is the final player off the roster that can join the 30-goal club. I think Bo Horvat can be the guy to do it. He has incredible offensive instincts and is not afraid to go the dirty areas in front of the net. Playing with Boeser should help Horvat increase his goals total. Consistency will be key for Horvat as he had a 17-game goalless drought last season.

Next: 5 bold predictions for 2017-18 season

It’s an exciting time to be a Canucks fan. This young group of players are creating a buzz in this city. Canucks fans have had to wait the longest for their season to start, but the first game is close at hand. I, for one, am ready for an electrifying season.