Zack MacEwen deserves to be re-inserted into the Canucks lineup

Vancouver Canucks winger Zack MacEwen has been a healthy scratch for the past four games, but he deserves to be re-inserted into the lineup.

MacEwen has played a grand total of 84:30 minutes in 11 games this season, and was only on the ice for 3:24 minutes when he last suited up for Vancouver. However, his underlying numbers indicate that the winger should be given a second chance.

According to Natural Stat Trick, the Canucks have controlled shot attempts (corsi for) over 52% of the time when MacEwen has been on the ice at five on five, which is the best mark on the team for players who’ve played more than 50 minutes this year.

He also has the second-highest expected goals percentage with 53.99%, only behind Alex Edler, who is currently at 54.09%. Now, MacEwen has played less than 80 minutes this season at five on five, so it’s important to keep in mind that we’re dealing with extremely small sample sizes.

Even so, he deserves a spot in the lineup over some other players, notably Jake Virtanen. Virtanen has played more than twice the amount that MacEwen has at five on five, but his numbers are a far cry from MacEwen’s. Currently, Virtanen owns a corsi of less than 44%, which is the worst number on the team for players who’ve played over 50 minutes at five on five this year.

Moreover, his expected goals percentage is an abysmal 38.65%, the lowest mark on the team amongst forwards. There has been nothing to suggest that Virtanen deserves a spot on the Canucks over MacEwen, as the latter has a significantly better expected goals for per 60 minutes and a lower expected goals against as well.

The only reason why Virtanen is in the lineup might be that Vancouver would like to increase his trade value. However, he only has one goal in 16 games this year, so it’s possible that his value might actually be decreasing with more playing time. At this point, every team in the league knows what Virtanen is, so there’s no point in playing him more if there’s a better option waiting in the wings.

What do you think, Canucks fans? Should MacEwen be in the lineup instead of Virtanen? Let us know in the comments below!