Last season, the Canucks scored 268 goals, good enough to lead the West in scoring, coming second only to Washington Capitals.
Henrik Sedin put up 112 points to win the Art Ross Trophy, a first in Canuck franchise history.
Led by the Sedins, can the Canucks keep on scoring at such a torrid pace, or was last year an aberration?
In honor of those fans who start thinking about their hockey pools in August, here are my predictions for scoring by Canucks forwards during the upcoming 2010-2011 season.
I've based my predictions on what the Canucks currently have for forwards. Barring a trade or signing, I think these will be the starting forwards for the Canucks on opening night.
Daniel Sedin / Henrik Sedin / Burrows
Raymond / Kesler / Samuelsson
Schroeder / Hodgson / Malhotra
Glass / Rypien / Oreskovich
I very well might be wrong on some, but I don't think there will be a huge difference in point production between say Schroeder or Hansen on the 3rd line, or Glass/Rypien on the fourth, etc
For more information on why I picked this roster, see this article.
There is a method to my madness, I'm not just picking numbers out of a hat ;-)
I looked at the player's points per game last season, then estimated how many games I think they will play in 2010-2011. Games played was based on how injury free the player was last season, any current injuries (i.e. Burrows) and their injury history since the lockout.
That gave me a baseline estimate for their points, which I then tweaked up or down based on a few factors. Is the player getting more icetime? More PP time? Are they young and still improving year over year? Or are they a declining veteran? Are they consistent or streaky?
I also looked at the player’s goals to assists ratio, and assumed it would stay the same from last season to next.
Of course, I'm estimating point totals for April, and its still August, so I could be wildly off...but that doesn't stop the Hockey News and every other sports magazine from putting out their fantasy sports specials, so I'll take a shot at it too.
2009-10: 112 points (29 goals, 83 assists) in 82 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 115 points (30 goals, 85 assists) in 82 GP
Henrik Sedin is remarkably consistent. He hasn't missed a game since the lockout, and only once in his career has he failed to improve upon the previous years point production.
Charting out his career stats, you see incremental improvements year over year, with the occasion large jump to a new plateau. One such jump occurred when he became a first liner, and another one was last season when he won the scoring race.
He may not repeat as Art Ross winner this season, but I see no reason why he wouldn't continue his career trend and build upon last seasons point totals.
2009-10: 85 points (29 goals, 56 assists) in 63 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 111 points (38 goals, 73 assists) in 82 GP
Like his twin, Daniel Sedin rarely misses games. Last season's broken foot was the first time Daniel had missed games in several years, so he should play a full 82 game schedule again this year.
Overlooked last year due to missing 19 games, Daniel quietly put up the best points per game average of his career, finishing 12th (just behind Kovalchuk) for NHL scoring.
There is no reason he could not continue that pace this year and put up over 100 points. And when was the last time the Canucks could boast two 100 point scorers?
2009-10: 67 points (35 goals, 32 assists) in 82 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 49 points (26 goals, 23 assists) in 60 GP
Alex Burrows is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and is expected to miss the first month or two of the regular season. I doubt they will rush him back into the lineup, as they will want him fully healthy for the spring, unlike the last two years. Therefore I predicted based on only 60 games played.
*If Samuelsson takes the RW spot with the twins all season, expect Burrows to have his points decrease, but not by too much. He has great chemistry with Kesler, and most likely would end up on the 2nd line.
2009-10: 75 points (25 goals, 50 assists) in 82 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 81 points (27 goals, 54 assists) in 80 GP
Ryan Kesler has been steadily improving his point production while gathering Selke nominations as the Canucks second line center.
I predict the 25 year old will continue to increase his production this year, and average a point a game.
2009-10: 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists) in 82 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 58 points (28 goals, 31 assists) in 82 GP
24 year old speedster Mason Raymond had a breakout year last season, and earned a new two year contract. Look for him to solidify his top six status and improve slightly over last season's output.
2009-10: 53 points (30 goals, 23 assists) in 74 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 59 points (33 goals, 26 assists) in 75 GP
Over the last few years, Mikael Samuelsson has been fairly consistent in his production, although he did make a jump last season due to an increased role with the Canucks vs his old role with the Red Wings.
This season look for him to continue this trend, Samuelsson should line up with the Sedins on opening night due to Burrows being injured.
A veteran, albeit one in great shape, Samuelsson can be expected to miss a few games throughout the season.
2009-10: 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in 71 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 75 GP
Another veteran like Samuelsson, Manny Malhotra can be expected to miss a few games over the course of the season. However, his point production shouldn't vary much with the changeover from Sharks to Canucks.
2008-09 AHL Playoffs: 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 11 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) in 72 GP
Hodgson, and Schroeder on the next slide, were a bit harder to predict.
I'd love to say he'll put up 50 points and win the Calder, but I'm trying to be realistic and base these predictions on actual stats.
OHL production doesn't translate to NHL production, but luckily, Hodgson has played for the Moose in the 2008-09 AHL Playoffs. That gave a baseline for what to expect when he was playing against men rather than 16 year olds, and then I further tweaked the results for the jump from AHL to NHL.
However, he played his games in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the AHL playoffs, so that should be closer to NHL standards than an AHL regular season game.
I also assumed he would miss ~10 games due to being scratched or injured. (Hopefully his back holds up)
2009-10 AHL Regular Season: 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 11 GP
2009-10 AHL Playoffs: 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 6 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 72 GP
Jordan Schroeder's prediction is based on his stint with the Manitoba Moose last season after turning pro.
Like Hodgson, I assumed he would miss ~10 games due to being scratched or injured.
I also weighted his prediction because Schroeder is likely to hit a wall in the spring. Coming from NCAA, he isn't used to playing an 82 game schedule. I'd expect him to produce most of his points in the first half of the season.
2009-10: 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 67 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 70 GP
Glass might have led the Canucks in hits, but he isn't in the lineup to score, so I don't think much will change from last season to next.
2009-10: 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 69 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 70 GP
As the picture shows, Rypien is in the lineup to score with his fists, not on the scoreboard. He has scored some pretty short handed goals in his career though.
Last season Rypien finally shed his injury prone reputation, but he'll need another healthy season to avoid becoming the new Sami Salo.
2009-10: 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 50 GP
2010-11 Prediction: 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in 82 GP
Victor Oreskovich was brought in to be a physical presence to replace Bernier on the 4th line.
He still should be able to improve slightly due to being on the offensive minded Canucks rather than the Panthers, but don't expect a lot of scoring out of him.
He might get a look on the 3rd line early in the season with the lineup shuffle due to Burrows being injured, assuming Gillis doesn't bring in a UFA or make a trade.
So after all these predictions, how do the Canucks compare to last season?
Well, last season the top 12 forwards on the Canucks for points were:
Henrik Sedin 112 points (29 goals, 83 assists)
Daniel Sedin 85 points (29 goals, 56 assists)
Kesler 75 points (25 goals, 50 assists)
Burrows 67 points (35 goals, 32 assists)
Samuelsson 53 points (30 goals, 23 assists)
Raymond 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists)
Wellwood 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) *UFA
Bernier 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) *Traded to FLA
Demitra 16 points (3 goals, 13 assists) *UFA
Hansen 15 points (9 goals, 6 assists)
Grabner 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) *Traded to FLA
Glass 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists)
Total Points 545 (219 goals, 326 assists)
The totals for my 2010-11 predictions?
579 points (224 goals, 355 assists)
The Canucks, led by the Sedins, should continue to be one of the top scoring teams in the NHL in 2010-11.
Of course, we'll see how right I was come April 2011.