Dude, where’s our centre depth?
The Canucks were pretty confident about their centre depth of J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat heading into this season. Two games in, and it’s already hard not to question that assessment.
Let’s start with Pettersson and Horvat.
Both were fairly non-existent when on the ice, combining for just four shots on goal throughout 60 minutes of play, while also posting Corsi For percentages of 67.50% and 51.43% respectively.
For Horvat, this marks his second straight lacklustre outing with the Canucks. The 27-year-old captain, who is entering the final year of his current deal, is still looking for his first goal of the season and hasn’t shown much offensive prowess on the third line with Vasily Podkolzin and Conor Garland.
Pettersson hasn’t been nearly as disappointing as Horvat, having already posted a highlight reel goal and having already found chemistry with linemate Andrei Kuzmenko. But, when your team is blowing leads and desperately trying to claw back into contests, especially this early on in the year, you need your best players to make some noise and be your best players.
Speaking of making noise, Miller certainly did that on Saturday, but for all the wrong reasons.
Miller, who occupied the 1C role with Tanner Pearson and Brock Boeser on his flanks, once again looked decent in the first period, showing signs of his previous 99-point self.
But, just like what unravelled on Wednesday in Edmonton, it all went downhill for #9.
Miller looked out of sorts in the final 40 minutes, failing to establish any control or speed in the neutral zone while also barely creating any scoring chances in the offensive zone.
The 29-year-old, who inked a seven-year, $56 million extension that kicks in next season, was also the main culprit on Philadelphia’s shorthanded tally, blatantly and sloppily giving the puck away en route to the game-tying goal.
Miller has now been on the ice for all eight goals against this season, and is out to an early lead in that category amongst all NHL players, a distinction he held back in 2020-21 with 72 in 58 games.
Let’s see if this one-two-three punch down the middle can turn things around in a hurry.