Head to Head: How the Vancouver Canucks and Predators match up

A head-to-head comparison of the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators ahead of their first-round playoff series.
The Vancouver Canucks are set to face the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs.
The Vancouver Canucks are set to face the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs. / Donald Page/GettyImages
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Ilya Mikheyev: 78 GP, 11 G, 20 A, 31 P, +1

Jason Zucker: 69 GP, 14 G, 18 A, 32 P, -9

Jason Zucker has filled a middle-six role for the Predators since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline. In 18 games since the trade, he’s recorded an underwhelming five goals and seven points. He provides veteran leadership, but he hasn’t made many deep playoff runs.

Ilya Mikheyev provides the exact same things for the Canucks: occasional points, veteran leadership, but not much meaningful playoff experience. He started the season hot, but his production fell off a cliff in November. If he can get back to his game in the playoffs, the Canucks will be much better off.

The point here goes to Zucker because he’s been a bit more consistent than Mikheyev. That could change, however, if Mikheyev figures out how to reset in the playoffs and make an impact.

Dakota Joshua: 63 GP, 18 G, 14 A, 32 P, +19

Cole Smith: 80 GP, 9 G, 14 A, 23 P, +5

Cole Smith is a perfect bottom-six forward: He plays hard, he hits, he fights, he kills penalties, and he chips in the occasional goal. He’s exactly what you need in the playoffs.

Dakota Joshua is the improved version of Smith. He has carved out the perfect role with the Canucks, allowing him to play a physical game and score consistently. Like Smith, he’s exactly the type of player every team needs in the playoffs.

Joshua gets the point here. He does everything Smith does, but he does it all a little bit better.

Pius Suter: 67 GP, 14 G, 15 A, 29 P, +17

Kiefer Sherwood: 68 GP, 10 G, 17 A, 27 P, +17

Kiefer Sherwood established himself as a full-time NHLer this season. He’s made an offensive impact and he keeps the puck out of his net. What more could you ask of a fourth-liner?

Pius Suter plays a similar game to Sherwood, although he can play up and down the lineup. When he’s played in the top six, he’s scored. When he’s played in the bottom six, he’s centred good lines. He’s the perfect Swiss Army knife.

Suter gets the point. He’s just a better player.