Here at The Canuck Way, we’re analyzing and handing out grades for each roster player in 2018-19. Up next, trade deadline pickup Tanner Pearson.
At this year’s trade deadline, Benning traded Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Tanner Pearson, who was also failing to reach up to his potential. A former 24-goal man, Pearson netted just nine goals and 14 points in 44 games with the Pens.
But once he came over to the Canucks, Pearson regained that form we saw with the Los Angeles Kings — where he scored 15-plus goals in three different seasons. It was a short sample size in Vancouver, but Pearson couldn’t have left a much better impression.
Let’s look back on Pearson’s 2018-19 season, hand out his grade and talk about we expect for next season.
Season Grade: B+
We only saw Pearson play 19 games for the Canucks this season, but expectations weren’t exactly high when he initially came over to the west coast. He finished with nine goals and 12 points in 19 games.
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Obviously, Pearson is unlikely to score at such a 30-40 goal pace through an 82-game season with the Canucks. But this man supplied the team with some much-needed secondary scoring, something they haven’t had for a few years now.
Pearson regained his scoring ways after leaving a struggling Kings team — and a Pittsburgh team that simply had too many other forwards producing.
Pearson just wasn’t in a great position to succeed or either club, but in Vancouver, he looks like a natural fit.
Future captain Bo Horvat had a career season with 27 goals and 61 points, and that was without suitable linemates throughout most of the year.
Well, he and Pearson sure made the most of their ice time together, and it looks like the Canucks finally have a reliable secondary scorer.
You really couldn’t have asked for much more from Pearson in his quarter season here on the west coast. We saw that 24-goal year in Los Angeles. With Horvat as his centre, why can’t Pearson reach 20-25 next season?
If the Canucks make the playoffs next season, you can bet that Pearson will have played a key role in it. The Canucks may finally have more than three 20-goal scorers next year, and Pearson should be among the team’s top point leaders in 2019-20.
Expectations for next year
Pearson did so well in his short 2018-19 tenure in Vancouver that it’s reasonable to expect a 20-plus goals and 40 or more points next season. As long as head coach Travis Green plays Pearson alongside Elias Pettersson or Horvat, he’ll have every opportunity to set career-highs in both goals and points.
If Pearson was never much of a goal-scorer, I’d’ be a lot more hesistant to set high expectations for him. But again, he’s flirted with 20 goals multiple times, and Pearson is only two years removed from the aforementioned 24-goal campaign.
Sometimes, a player just needs the right team, coach and linemates to maximize his potential. Pearson has the ability to be a reliable top six forward here in Vancouver. He score 18 goals and 27 points with three teams in this season. Why can’t he do better with Horvat?
Fair or not, Pearson will be expected to play a bigger role and chip in with some secondary scoring next season. For me, 23 goals and 45 points seems reasonable for him — assuming Green gives him those opportunities.