With Josh Leivo and Tanner Pearson playing key roles here, the Vancouver Canucks may finally have a solution to their secondary scoring woes.
The Vancouver Canucks fell 5-4 to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, and though their playoff hopes are all but done for at this point, there was a lot to like as well.
Not only did the Canucks almost erase a three-goal deficit in the third period, but both Josh Leivo and Tanner Pearson notched goal No. 14 on the season. Though the sample sizes are quite short — especially for Pearson — it’s hard not to like what we’ve seen from both players since arriving in Vancouver.
Pearson is up to five goals in 14 games with the Canucks. As noted by Dan Riccio of Sportsnet 650, the 26-year-old Pearson is scoring at a 35-goal pace with his new team.
All general manager Jim Benning gave up to get Pearson from the Pittsburgh Penguins was struggling blueliner Erik Gudbranson, who had worn out his welcome and was carrying a hefty $4 million price tag per season through 2019-20. T
Leivo — acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Michael Carcone back in December –has scored 10 goals in 44 games with the Canucks. That puts him right near a 20-goal pace. With more playing time in the top six and on the power play, there’s good reason to believe he could be a 20-goal scorer next season.
But you can’t help but wonder if this team would be in the playoffs if they had Leivo and Pearson throughout the entire year. They were struggling in Toronto and Pittsburgh, respectively, earlier in the season.
Now? Both look comfortable and confident in Vancouver. Head coach Travis Green has gotten the most out of them, and these two newcomers look like they’re ready for bigger roles next season.
Pearson and Leivo are the type of players the Canucks need to complement their “big three,” of Boeer, Pettersson and Horvat. For now, it looks like Benning may have found the solution for that much-needed secondary scoring — meaning he shouldn’t have to worry about finding answers in the offseason.