Not enough middle-six support
Prior to the start of the 2021-22 season, many people envisioned Vancouver to have one of the most high-energy and effective top-nine forward group in the league.
That hasn’t exactly come to fruition this year.
Outside of Miller, who leads the club with 50 points in 48 games, as well as Boeser and Elias Pettersson, who have appeared to rediscover their elite gameplay under Boudreau, the Canucks have faced some difficulty when it comes to other players providing any offensive production.
Tanner Pearson has gone ice cold, having only registered one goal in his past 12 games, while Jason Dickinson continues to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year with his measly three goals and three assists in 46 games.
Bo Horvat and Conor Garland have excelled for the most part this season, with the duo right behind Boeser and Pettersson in point totals, but both players have also had moments of inconsistency and ineffectiveness (cue Horvat’s performance in San Jose) that have ultimately hurt the team in the results category.
Both young players have been punished with limited ice time and press box appearances for their poor 200-foot outings this season (and rightfully so), but let’s not forget that they’re being forced to play under extremely high expectations given Höglander’s rookie campaign, as well as the team’s lack of overall forward depth, both of which could be damaging their development in the long-run.
Like the relationship with Demko and Hughes, the Canucks could try to ride the coattails of Miller, Boeser and Pettersson for the remaining 32 games, hoping that those core players will be enough to squeeze them into the playoffs.
But, at the end of the day, relying on a small handful of teammates is never a well-designed recipe to get you into the playoffs, and fans will probably have that bubble burst sooner rather than later.
What are your thoughts from Vancouver’s overtime win on Thursday night? Make sure to drop a comment below!