Sven Baertschi will at least miss the next month due to an injury. Here is the impact on this battered Canucks lineup.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the Vancouver Canucks have another important injury in their forward group. This morning, the team announced this:
Thankfully for Sven Baertschi, his return won’t be as prolonged since he does not require surgery. Canucks fans may remember the extended time Dan Hamhuis was out when he broke his jaw in the 2015-16 season.
However, this forward group has been quickly depleted in the last week. Earlier, Bo Horvat is out for a similar time frame with a fractured ankle.
The Canucks have lost their second and third best offensive contributors. Their once potent offence has been severely neutered, leaving the bulk of the offence on Brock Boeser’s shoulders. Without having Baertschi and Horvat, the opposition can shift more of their focus on shutting down Boeser.
Canucks need to help Boeser
We saw in the Calgary game that despite scoring, Boeser was being smothered. If healthy, Horvat would have cleared out space in the offensive zone. With all due respect to Sam Gagner, he is not good enough to play with Boeser. The Canucks don’t have too many options at centre to take on the role of Bo Horvat.
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I can see what Travis Green is doing. Using players like Nic Dowd and Michael Chaput are supposed to give the Canucks shutdown lines that can keep the team in games. Saturday’s game showed that doesn’t work. You can’t sit on a one goal lead forever. The Canucks should understand this, since they blew two of those leads sitting back.
Chaput’s line played well enough considering they logged the most minutes in a shot suppression role. However, Dowd has to come out of the lineup. I would rather give Alexander Burmistrov a chance to generate offence over watching that tire fire I saw from Dowd on Saturday.
Green needs offence from this team. He should play Nikolay Goldobin and Markus Granlund with Boeser as the “top” line and I think Jake Virtanen has earned a spot back with the Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin. According to Natural Stat Trick, Loui Eriksson has a CF% of 54.26 with the Twins. Jake Virtanen has a better CF% of 58.73.
The next month and a half will be frustrating. Winning will be tough, and Travis Green may opt to choose defence as his best chance of success. It will be hard to succeed without scoring enough goals. Keep in mind, Brock Boeser can’t be alone here.
We are seeing other teams around us in the Western Conference pass us by while picking up points. The Canucks will have to play better than .500 hockey if they still want to have a chance in the playoff race.