The Vancouver Canucks started their season with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Despite the loss, there were some things to like from the team’s game.
One of these is Nils Höglander, who had a pretty strong game. Just like last season, the man was everywhere.
He didn’t even start on the power-play units. Canucks head coach Travis Green decided to put Justin Dowling instead of Höglander on the second unit, which was a strange decision.
The Canucks power play struggled to convert on its first four chances. Eventually, Höglander got some time with the second unit and Ekman-Larsson got the Canucks on the board.
Höglander spent 2:40 total ice time on the power play.
The Swede finished the night with a 72.73 Corsi For percentage per NaturalStatTrick.
Green was asked about Höglander’s ice time after the game.
“I’d like to keep Hög between 14-18 minutes and move him around to kickstart lines,” said Green per Harman Dayal of The Athletic. “He had a strong game. He’s a guy that I used tonight in a couple different looks.”
Judging from the above quote, it seems like Green likes Höglander’s game and likes to shuffle him around in the lineup during games.
However, I think it is best suited for Höglander to start in the top six (and stay there.) and be on the power play unit.
Alex Chiasson was on a line with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson. He signed a cheap one-year deal with the Canucks on Tuesday.
Chiasson was also on the first power play unit. Overall, he didn’t have the best game. Sure, Chiasson has been deemed as a power play specialist but is nothing more than a bottom-six forward.
Höglander should play with Pettersson and Miller until Brock Boeser gets back.
He would bring more offence and skill than Chiasson. He sets up chances and takeaways the puck from opponents easily.
The Canucks started scoring when Green put Höglander with Pettersson and Miller. Coincidence? I think not.
Höglander is already a proven top-six player so why not play him there? It would be better for him to be in the top six instead of the third line with Dickinson and Highmore.
It is also baffling that Dowling was on the power play instead of him. Dowling isn’t a bad player but he is more suited for the fourth line, not the power play.
Höglander provides quick passes and smooth zone entries on the power play, not to mention he also has a good shot for the man advantage.
There shouldn’t be any reason why Höglander shouldn’t be on the power play and in the top six. He’s proven already he can handle both roles.