Vancouver Canucks: Exploring the second scoring line

(Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Vancouver Canucks have struggled offensively for a while, but with a new crop of young players in the system there seems to be optimism around the fanbase that next season will be more exciting hockey. In this article, I’m going to explore some options that the Canucks should consider trotting out as a second scoring line.

First line minutes are key when it comes to putting up big numbers, the Vancouver Canucks are alright with their first line of Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser and most likely Sven Baertschi. These guys took on other teams top defencemen last year and will likely get the same in 2018-19. This opens the door for secondary scoring and the team has plenty of options to send out to put the puck in the net.

If the Sedin line was the second scoring line last year it gives Canucks fans reason to believe that this second line could be sheltered as being a offensive first line, a line that could give young up and comers and opportunity to play a ton of minutes in the offensive zone and be able to demonstrate their high skill.

A few names that come up when you want to talk about top six minutes are Brendon Leipsic, Elias Pettersson, Markus Granlund, Loui Eriksson, Jake Virtanen, Nikolay Goldobin and Sam Gagner. Let’s throw these guys in a blender and see which combinations make sense as the Canucks second line.

Goldobin-Pettersson-Virtanen

I’ve wrote about this line already, so most of my information will be in that article. I do believe that this line would have fans excited to see the youth be on display, if they were to get anywhere close to the Sedins’ offensive zone starts they would likely have opportunity to show their skill. Pettersson would have to play centre to begin the season and I see why fans are weary of that because he did not do much of it last season in the Swedish Hockey League.

Though I do believe with another year of growth and development that Pettersson is ready to go back to the position that the Canucks drafted him as and he will be a centre for this team at the beginning of the season.

I hope.

Pettersson-Granlund-Virtanen

This line is interesting to me and probably has no chance of happening due to the way that Travis Green has already deployed Granlund, Green thinks Granlund is a good shutdown winger that works well with Brandon Sutter. That’s all fine and dandy but a couple years ago Canucks fans saw Granlund as a emerging offensive talent, he looked great when teamed up with the Sedins and knew where to be on the ice to get pucks on net.

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That is what is most interesting to me, it takes the pressure off of Pettersson to play centre immediately and will give Granlund the chance to prove that he has top-six potential.

I like this line as it can shelter Pettersson a bit, Granlund is a fine defensive player and Virtanen can add some physical play and speed to move around with Pettersson.

It’s another Pettersson-Virtanen pairing, and that’s something I am super into for next season.

Leipsic-Gagner-Eriksson

BORING! But very possible.

This one doesn’t include young guys like Pettersson or Virtanen but it does make sense for coach Travis Green to use these guys in a secondary scoring spot. It throws Pettersson possibly out of the lineup or in a botton six role, which I hate and also moves Virtanen with a centre like Sutter or Jay Beagle, which I hate.

So ya, I guess I hate this line, but it’s possible that Green goes with more veteran players to play offensive minutes for him and he has loved Leipsic since junior so moving him into a top six role would not surprise me at all.

Who you got?

The options are almost endless, young guys, old guys, tough guys and fast guys. It sounds like the Canucks will have options in the fall but which one will prevail, I can’t wait to find out.

Obviously I’m pulling for a combination of Pettersson and Virtanen to be in there and I think there’s reason to believe that maybe Baertschi could even slide into a second line role, I don’t believe he’s etched in stone to be on the Bo-Boes line.

It’s fun to dream but when push comes to shove it will be Travis Green’s decision and if there’s one thing coaches love, it’s veterans. Gagner and Eriksson will be guys I would not be surprised to see in the top six when opening night comes along.

It would be a mistake to bury Pettersson in a bottom six role with players who can’t keep up with his offensive prowess, it could stunt his growth into an offensive juggernaut and that would be the worst case scenario. It’s a big year for young guys and I want to see them be given all the opportunity in the world to become point producers.

Next. The Vancouver Canucks don't have 6-8 grade A prospects. dark

Play the kids, get them in offensive situations, the league has changed and you now have the chance to see what these guys can do in the new NHL. Give them a shot, and they will take it. My question for you guys is simple: What should the Canucks second line look like?