The Vancouver Canucks have had phenomenal goaltending all season, and now it’s being recognized around the league.
On Sunday morning, netminder Thatcher Demko was named the NHL’s third star for the month of December.
The 26-year-old has been lights out between the pipes all year long, but unfortunately had very little offensive or defensive support in front of him for much of that span, dropping his numbers down to 7-10-1 with a .908 SV% and 2.96 GAA between October 13th and November 30th.
Fortunately, as we’ve all witnessed, the team has turned it around significantly over the past four weeks, in large part to the addition of new head coach Bruce Boudreau and, as a result, Demko is finally being rewarded with the wins that he so desperately deserved in the months prior.
During the month of December, Demko went 7-1-0 with a .946 SV%, 1.72 GAA and one shutout. The San Diego native only allowed three or more goals in just two of his eight starts, while also posting at least 30 saves in five of those eight outings, all of which contributed to his six-game winning streak between December 6th and 29th.
Demko was also able to extend that streak to seven during Vancouver’s New Year’s Day victory over Seattle at Climate Pledge Arena, bringing his overall record to 15-11-1 with a .920 SV% and 2.55 GAA.
In addition, Demko sits 16th amongst all netminders in goals saved above expected (GSAV) per 60 this season, as well as second in that category in the 2021 calendar year, two very impressive statistics given the defensive inconsistencies in front of him.
It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Canucks, who were sitting 28th in the league and dead last in the Pacific Division with just 16 points amassed (7-14-2) on November 30th.
Since then, however, the team has been one of the most dangerous clubs in the league, collecting 19 of a possible 22 points during their current red-hot run between December 6th and January 1st to bring their record to 16-15-3.
As a result, the Canucks are now just three points back of the struggling Edmonton Oilers, who currently hold the second wild card position in the Western Conference, and this mammoth leap in the standings should largely and undoubtedly be credited to Demko.
Even Boudreau is in awe of what his netminder has been able to achieve during his coaching tenure so far.
The Canucks will have the entire week off before jumping back into action against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at Rogers Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts on Demko’s play during the month of December? Make sure to drop a comment below!