For once, the Vancouver Canucks got some help from players not named Brock Boeser or Thomas Vanek. But the defence crumbled, and they let a big home win against the Los Angeles Kings slip away. Here’s what we learned
The Vancouver Canucks must be eagerly counting down the days until Jan 1. 2018, because 2017 hasn’t been kind to them. From the 29th-place finish last season to falling again in the draft lottery to this miserable month of December, 2017 just hasn’t been their year.
This team entered the month with a 12-10-4 record, and they’ll leave it at 16-18-5. That’s right, four wins over a four-week span. This team went from a playoff spot to 26th in the NHL standings. Indeed, 2017 wasn’t their year.
Vancouver led 3-2 early in the third period, but the usual unravels and meltdowns from the blue line occurred. After that, the Canucks weren’t able to recover, and let the Los Angeles Kings escape with a big two points. Here are three takeaways from the team’s final game of 2017.
Play the kid
Nikolay Goldobin brings so many different talents onto the ice. His speed is one thing, but his hands and patience are another. This goal that tied things up late is one to not forget any time soon:
The Canucks are struggling to generate offence, and Goldobin is simply worth the look now. He’s up to a pair of goals and two points in four games. The Canucks don’t have much speed on the roster, but Goldobin brings plenty of it. There is no reason for him to be playing bottom-six minutes right now.
Until the Canucks get their injured bodies back, I’d like to see Goldobin as a regular top-six. I want him on the power play. At this point, what do the free-falling Canucks have to lose?
Jacob Markstrom continues to struggle
Once again, Jacob Markstrom didn’t get a ton of support from the guys in front of him. Still, the best goalies in the NHL find ways to steal games. Markstrom hasn’t been doing a lot of that lately.
More from The Canuck Way
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
For the eighth time in his last 10 outings, Markstrom allowed three or more goals. That includes four games of allowing four-plus. Simply not good enough, and the Canucks are only going as far as he takes them — fair or unfair.
Markstrom’s stats continue to dip quite a bit. He’s now 10-13-4 with a 2.79 goals against average and .906 save percentage. The good news for Markstrom is that Anders Nilsson hasn’t looked a whole lot better, so he’s not losing the starting job any time soon.
When your team is up 3-2 in the third, you don’t want to be giving up two quick goals to lose in regulation. It’s not on Markstrom entirely, but he definitely has to play better. Hopefully the return of Chris Tanev (whenever that is), will help.
$20 million is a lot of money
When general manager Jim Benning handed Loui Eriksson a six-year deal worth $36 million, the expectation was for him and the Sedin twins to form a legitimate first line. With so many injuries in the top-six, head coach Travis Green was desperate to get some scoring out of Eriksson and the Sedins.
Well, it was yet another quiet night for the trio. They combined for zero points and three shots on goal. Jeff Paterson of TSN 1040 posted this tweet during the game, and it’s quite alarming to say the very least:
That’s inexcusable for three players being paid a combined $20 million this season. At this point, you have to wonder if the Canucks really are willing to bring the twins back for another year after 2017-18. They’re not proving to be capable top-six forwards anymore, and this is a rebuilding team, no?
With Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi hurt, the Canucks counted upon these three to score points. It’s simply not happening at all. The good news is that if the Sedins do come back to the Canucks next year, the $20 million line will probably be closer to a $12 million one.
*Stats courtesy of NHL.com*