The Vancouver Canucks had some short-lived success with the Killer B’s line last season, before the injuries began to pile up. Here’s why head coach Travis Green should keep Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser together.
Last season, Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green put Bo Horvat, Calder Trophy candidate Brock Boeser and big winger Sven Baertschi together on the same line, and he saw some early success from the trio.
The Canucks stood at 14-10-4 on Dec. 5, thanks in large part to the performance of their first line. But Horvat fractured his foot and missed nearly two months of action.
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Baertschi broke his jaw and missed a month, then injured his shoulder in March and was ruled out for the season. He wound up playing just 53 games, but managed a respectable 14 goals and 29 points.
As for Boeser, he missed the final month of the season after suffering a scary back injury against the New York Islanders; one that Boeser feared could have marked the end of his hockey career.
And despite missing 20 games, Boeser had 29 goals and 55 points on the season.
In short, the Canucks Killer B’s line was among the very best over the first two months of the season, until the injuries piled up.
The dominance of this line was on display during a nationally televised game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, where Boeser recorded a hat trick. Baertschi had three assists, while Horvat picked up a goal and a trio of helpers.
But once Horvat and Baertschi got injured within days, the Canucks began to fall apart, and they drifted right to the bottom of the league standings. They were never able to recover, but 2018-19 offers a fresh start.
This line has everything. Horvat is the slick set-up man and puck-mover. Boeser is the sniper who can use his shot from anywhere. Baertschi can use his big frame to move to the net and score the dirty goals in front.
Though some may call for 2017 first round pick Elias Pettersson to get first-line duties, the Canucks already had a trio that were getting it done together. If healthy, Boeser and Horvat would have each flirted with 70 points, while Baertschi would have notched his first 20-goal season.
A wise man once said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” No, Baertschi, Boeser and Horvat didn’t spend very long together, but they scored aplenty when they skated on the same line. So it really should be a no-brainer for coach Green to give them another chance in 2018-19.