3 reasons the Canucks will struggle without Thatcher Demko

What could go wrong did go wrong in the Canucks first game without star goaltender Thatcher Demko, and it could foreshadow a massive struggle.

Mar 7, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save
Mar 7, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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Vancouver allows way too many shots on goals per game

In actuality, the Canucks have only allowed 29.19 shots on goal per game, which is the 16th-highest in the NHL. This is a middling number that, at first glance, doesn’t look too bad. And with a star goaltender like Thatcher Demko, sitting in the middle of the pack is a pretty good position to be in, especially when you consider the number of contenders that have allowed more. 

Demko has faced 30.1 shots on goal per game, however, while DeSmith has faced just 26.6 per in his 20 appearances (28.7 in 18 starts), and this is where the number gets interesting. In Vancouver’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche, DeSmith faced 34 shots on goal and saved 30 of them, good for just an 0.882 save percentage. 

While DeSmith helped record a shutout on March 9th vs. the Winnipeg Jets, it’s also worth noting he faced just 10 shots on goal. Before last night’s loss, he only saw seven games of action when he faced 30 or more, finishing with a 4-1-2 record and 4-1-3 after last night, good for 11 points. 

This could indicate DeSmith plays better in the net when he’s facing such a high volume of shots. But it’s also important to remember that he’s averaged roughly one game per week. Now that he’s the main guy in the net, considering he’s faced a high number of shots on goal infrequently and has, overall, faced fewer shots on goal per game than Demko, this could easily wear down a player who is clearly a backup goaltender.