The Vancouver Canucks were on the verge of finishing with their most 20-goal scorers in a single season since 2009-10.
Scoring depth was a primary issue for the Vancouver Canucks over the past five years, but that changed entirely during the 2019-20 season.
Before the season went on pause, the Canucks placed eighth in goals for (228). This was already an immense improvement from last year (225 goals, 25th in the NHL). Vancouver hasn’t placed in the top half in goals for since the 2014-15 season.
Newcomer J.T. Miller and rising superstar Elias Pettersson share the team lead in goals with 27 apiece. Captain Bo Horvat (22 tallies) hit the 20-goal mark for the four consecutive season, and he had a chance to match or best last year’s career-high of 27.
Meanwhile, Tanner Pearson was building off last season’s brief success with Horvat, recording 21 goals through the first 69 games. Pearson was making a push for 25 goals, which would have been a career best.
2014 first-round pick Jake Virtanen was on the verge of hitting 20 for the first time in his career. He stood at 18 on the season, needing just two more in the final 13 games. One has to assume that Virtanen would have reached the feat.
And thanks to a quick recovery from his rib injury, Brock Boeser stood a great chance of hitting 20 goals for the third straight year. He had 16 through 57 games played, and four more goals in 13 contests was certainly doable.
Though he doesn’t exactly count as a 20-goal scorer for the Canucks, it’s worth noting that Tyler Toffoli sits at 24 on the season, having scored 18 for the Los Angeles Kings before he was traded.
Excluding Toffoli, Vancouver would have had a minimum of five 20-goal scorers, but most likely six. This would have given the Canucks their most 20-goal men in a single season since 2009-10 a decade ago.
Alexandre Burrows led the way that season with 35, and newcomer Mikael Samuelsson had 30. Henrik and Daniel Sedin each tallied 29 goals, while Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond both potted 25. Vancouver finished with the second most goals in the NHL that year (272).
The 2019-20 version of the Canucks aren’t quite on par with that 2009-10 squad by any means, but there’s still plenty of room for the young stars to grow. It may not be long until Vancouver is icing multiple 25 to 30-goal players like the 2009-10 club.
The scoring depth in 2019-20 was by far Vancouver’s greatest strength, and even if they don’t play another game this season, at least head coach Travis Green and company know that they don’t have to rely so much on the top line.
Pettersson, Boeser, Miller and Horvat can always be penciled in for 20 goals as long as they’re healthy. If Virtanen can continue to grow, and as long as Pearson doesn’t lose any of that chemistry on Horvat’s line, then the Canucks can count on these six forwards to steer the offence once again in 2020-21.