As the Vancouver Canucks cap off a busy off-season, to say the least, their sights are set on bouncing back from last season’s struggles. The Canucks head back to some normalcy as they welcome back the original eight-team Pacific division and a full 82 game season.
After being on the cusp of superstardom following his 2020 playoff run, Elias Pettersson‘s 2020-2021 campaign was cut short due to a wrist injury. Pettersson should be in line for an enormous offensive year, health and contract status permitting. Can Pettersson be in the running for the Art Ross trophy?
Brock Boeser played in all 56 games last season, enjoying his first healthy season in the NHL, leading the team in goals and points. Boeser will look to build off a healthy season and an off-season without injury rehab. Can Boeser break the 40 goal mark this coming season?
JT Miller suffered some regression last season after a breakout 2018-19 campaign. Miller fell from 1.09 points-per-game to 0.87 points-per-game. But more concerning is his goal totals which went from 0.39 goals-per-game to 0.28 goals-per-game. Which of these players are the Canucks more likely to get next season?
With that being said, multiple factors go into predicting a player’s point projection for a coming season: the most considerable being health, regression, and breakout candidates.
Vancouver Canucks Forwards Point Predictions
75 Games 31 goals 52 assists 83 points
Pettersson was on the path to entering the upper-echelon of NHL centers coming into last season before a wrist injury stunted his progress. Pettersson’s dazzling offensive creativity and excellent hockey IQ mixed in with his extraordinary talent is the recipe for a budding superstar. Health and contract status permitting, Pettersson should fully enter into the conversation of superstar centers in the NHL.
80 Games 21 goals 48 assists 69 points.
During the 2019-20 season, Miller exploded offensively for a 1.04 points-per-game, shattering his previous high of 0.68 points-per-game. Miller regressed last season down to 0.87 points per game. I expect Miller to put last season’s offensive output in the rear view mirror and get back to stronger numbers.
71 Games 34 goals 31 assists 65 points.
Boeser’s completely healthy 2020-21 campaign seems to be more of an anomaly rather than a regularity. With that being said, his numbers should still relatively improve. Throughout Boeser’s five-year NHL career, he’s carried a 14-16% shooting percentage. With the one anomaly being 2019-2020, where he had a 9.4% shooting percentage. The former should carry into this season, as Boeser is projecting to post a career-high 34 goals.
79 Games 24 goals 31 assists 55 points.
Horvat has been the Canucks most consistent player throughout his seven-year NHL career. At this point, you know what you’re going to get from him. Horvat will be a steady two-way second-line center and give you a very solid 55 points. Horvat’s shooting percentage has hovered around 11% to 14% for the entirety of his career, encapsulating his consistency.
Conor Garland :
75 Games 27 goals 25 assists 52 Points
Thirty-six out of Garland’s 47 career goals have come at even strength, which bodes well for the Canucks as Garland will more than likely not be a part of the team’s top powerplay unit. Assuming Garland stays healthy, he will be a mainstay on Horvat’s wing; 27 goals is very well in reach for the talented winger.
79 Games 18 goals 17 assists 35 Points
These totals may seem low, but Canucks fans should tame their expectations for the second-year winger. Höglander was a breath of fresh air during an otherwise tumultuous season last year. However, second-year players usually hit a wall, and his role next season may look different with the addition of Garland.
64 Games 14 goals 17 assists 31 Points
This one was the hardest to predict, considering there’s no guarantee that Podkolzin sees top-nine time next season. I do expect Podkolzin’s game to translate well to the NHL and see him having a Höglander type rookie season from the team’s third line.
77 Games 13 goals 12 assists 25 Points
Pearson’s game fell off a cliff last year, and in a head-scratching move, Jim Benning decided to give him a three-year extension. I see him putting up slightly better numbers this season in a more normal year. However, the improvement will not be drastic for the soon-to-be 30-year-old winger.
75 Games 9 goals 12 assists 21 Points
Dickinson was an astute pick-up to be the team’s third-line center. Dickinson should continue his career average of ~21 points while providing an adequate 200-foot game.
55 Games 7 goals 9 assists 16 Points
Motte has had a hard time staying on the ice the past couple of seasons, so this prediction has his injury history in mind. When healthy, Motte is the perfect bottom-six spark plug and can provide some secondary scoring from the fourth line.
58 Games 9 Goals 5 Assists 14 Points
The much-maligned and the former overpaid Brandon Sutter re-signed in Vancouver this off-season on a one-year deal. Sutter should provide fourth-line production and not be paid like a second-line player to do it this time around.
47 Games 4 goals 5 assists 9 Points
Not much to see here. Highmore has never really been a big offensive producer and has never been a regular NHL player. Highmore will be in and out of the line-up and should be a warm-body for the fourth line.
What do you think Canucks fans? Are these predictions in line with what you would expect this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments below.