For the first time in a while, the Vancouver Canucks have built a top first line around Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser. With these three scoring in bunches, the Canucks have seen drastic results in 2017-18.
The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring teams since the 2012-13 seasons, with the lack of a true top scoring line being a key reason why.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin haven’t been point-per-game players since the 2011-12 season, while Alex Burrows declined significantly over his final four years with the Canucks. After all, it was that aforementioned 2011-12 campaign where he last scored 20 goals for them.
For past head coaches Alain Vigneault, John Tortorella and Willie Desjardins, it was nearly impossible to find a right fit for the twins on the top line. Radim Vrbata had success, until Willie D inexplicably moved him down. Brandon Sutter, Michael Chaput and Jayson Megna all had chances with the twins, but nothing materialized.
The Canucks had too many fading veterans. They didn’t have much young talent on the roster or in the prospect pool, so this team simply had to hope for the best with its 30-something year old players.
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But finally, things have come along nicely in 2017-18. Fans have waited a while for this, and the ‘Killer B’s’ line of Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser have taken the league by storm. Vancouver’s scoring woes are no more, and this team is in great position to compete for a playoff spot throughout the season.
Horvat — who centres the line — is building off a career year (20 goals and 52 points last season), with eight tallies and 16 points so far this season.
Baertschi — who scored a career best 18 goals last season — already has eight on the season. He’s got 17 points in 22 games, showing signs of being a decent play-maker too.
But the talk of town is Boeser, who leads all rookies in scoring with 11 goals and 21 points in just 19 games. Boeser’s one point up on Clayton Keller, despite missing three games while Keller has suited up for 24.
These three youngsters have it all, which makes them even more lethal. Horvat is the crafty play-making centre who has a nose for the net but specializes in setting up his wingers on the rush. Baertschi has the big body and frame to score the “garbage goals”.
As for Boeser? The man has a slick shot, probably the best this team has had since the good ol’ Markus Naslund days. With two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, Boeser put the league on notice. He’s going to be a long-time star in the NHL.
Though secondary scoring has been a problem for the Canucks, the top line hasn’t had a problem anchoring the offence. This line is why the Canucks are just two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for tops in the Pacific Division.
Don’t think this line is getting lucky and due for a regression. We all know Horvat’s skill, and Boeser was among the top-ranked prospects heading into this season. Baertschi always had the talent, he just needed a fresh start after struggling in the Calgary Flames organization.
This will be the Canucks top line for the long run, and they’ve proven to be just as dangerous as almost any other in the NHL. The ‘Killer B’s’ line is a legit No. 1 line, and they’re only getting started.