Vancouver Canucks' Team Report Card for 2010-11 Season
The 2010-11 season for the Vancouver Canucks was one of their most successful campaigns in the team's 40-year history.
They won the Presidents' Trophy for the most points in the league during the regular season. They also came within one win of hoisting the team's first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Even though the Canucks will have to settle with the title of defending Western Conference champions, the season was a major success.
Before the puck drops in Vancouver on October 6th to open the 2011-12 season, let's take a look back at what will go down as one of the most successful seasons in franchise history by breaking down and grading the 2010-11 squad.
The Canucks had absolutely no problem on the offensive side of the puck last season.
Vancouver had five players score 50 points or more, including an MVP-type season from Daniel Sedin, who scored 41 goals with 63 assists for 104 points.
Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond also put up solid numbers, racking up 48 points and 39 points respectively.
The Canucks' offense was explosive last year, scoring a league leading 258 goals.
Out of the Canucks' top seven point producers, only Christian Ehrhoff will not return. Ehrhoff signed a 10-year contract with the Sabres earlier in the month.
The Canucks had no problems on the offensive side last season. Look for them to continue that success this year.
Much like their offense, the Canucks defense was also very successful last season.
The Canucks had the lowest goals against total in the league with 185. They led that category by a solid margin. The Nashville Predators, who ranked second in the league in goals against, gave up 194 goals.
Christian Ehrhoff was the source of production for the Vancouver blue liners. Ehrhoff scored 14 goals and added 36 assists for 50 points.
Alexander Edler, Dan Hamuis and Kevin Bieksa were the other major contributors for the defense. The three defenders chipped in 33 points, 23 points, and 22 points respectively.
Edler, Hamuis and Bieksa will return to Vancouver this season. Appearing in more games should translate into improved numbers for the three defenders. Last year, Edler, Hamuis and Bieksa missed a combined 65 games. Simple equation: more games equals more production.
An area of improvement could have been more all-around production from the defense as a whole. Outside of the four players listed above, there really wasn't much production from anyone else on the defense.
After Kevin Bieksa and his 22 points, the next highest producing players as far as point totals were Sami Salo, Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard, who each had seven points.
If more players can produce on defense for the Canucks next season, it will make an already dangerous team even more of a threat.
Defense: Very High B+
My personal favorite term to describe the Canucks' goalie situation during the 2010-11 season would have to be "two-headed monster."
Roberto Luongo was one of the top goalies in the NHL, and Cory Schneider was about as reliable as they come as far as backup goalies go.Together, they were dominant.
Roberto Luongo ranked 3rd in the league in save percentage (.928), 1st in wins (38), and 2nd in goals against average (2.11).
Schneider on the other hand, was perhaps the most reliable backup in the league. He posted an impressive record of 16-4-2. His had a stellar save percentage of .929, and also posted an impressive goals against average at 2.23.
The Canucks had a dynamic duo between the pipes last season. Look for that to continue this year. The big question next summer will be whether Schneider stays in the shadow of Luongo or jumps at the chance to develop into a superstar with another team.
Power play statistics are a bit like baseball averages. Fail to execute seven times out of ten, and that is considered a major success.
Last season the Canucks led the league in power play percentage as they scored on 24.3% of their power plays.
Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler were the key players on the ice for Vancouver while they had the one man advantage, scoring 18 goals and 15 goals respectively while on the power play.
While the power play goals may have decreased from there, a closer look at the stats revealed something very interesting. For Henrik Sedin and Christian Ehrhoff, power play goals accounted for over 40% of their total goals on the season.
While those are promising facts, I believe Vancouver has room to improve on the power play. Henrik Sedin is fully capable of increasing his power play goal total, which could lead Vancouver to be even more successful than they already are on the power play.
More power play goals from the team in general will do wonders for the Canucks this upcoming season.
Power Play: High B
Surprise surprise, a category the Canucks didn't actually lead the league in. However, they came pretty close.
Last season, Vancouver had an 85.6 penalty kill percentage, tied for second in the league. Pittsburgh led the league in penalty kill percentage by just a half a percent. So Vancouver may not have led the league in this category, but they were still among the elite when it came to killing penalties.
This ties back to Vancouver's solid defensive numbers from last season. With many of the major pieces to Vancouver's defense returning for the 2011-12 season, including Kevin Bieksa, look for another high penalty kill percentage next season.
One area the Canucks could have improved on was the amount of time they spent killing opposing team's power plays. Vancouver ranked 28th in the league in total time on the penalty kill, as they spent over 522 minutes shorthanded. Only Pittsburgh and Montreal spent more time on the penalty kill.
Vancouver also ranked towards the bottom of the league (25th) in penalty kill shots against with 457. That's a high risk number which leads to unneccesary power play goals, which leads to uneccessary losses for the Canucks.
So while they were solid in some aspects on the penalty kill last year, I'm a little bit more critical of the team in this area, because I think they have a lot of room to improve.
Penalty Kill: B-
If there is one area the Canucks need to improve on next year, its in the shootout.
In nine shootouts, the Canucks posted a 4-5 record. They ranked 19th in shootout goals, 15th in goals against, and 26th in save percentage.
No one on the Canucks scored more than two shootout goals during the entire season. Compare that to Alex Tanguay in the shootout, who led the league with 10 goals while going one-on-one with the goalie.
Not much more to say in this area, other than the Canucks need to execute more on the shootout. When your team leader in the shootout scores just two goals, that's a red flag. More shootout goals will equal more wins for the Canucks, and this is an area that needs the most work next season.
Shootout: Low C-
Overall Team Grade
While there are some areas for improvement, the 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks were about as solid of a team as you can get. They didn't win the Presidents' Trophy for no reason.
Many of the areas on the Canucks are about as solid as they could get, like forwards and goalies, while other areas need massive improvement, like the shootout.
While Vancouver remained relatively quiet in free agency, many of their core players will return from last season's Stanley Cup run.
If the Canucks can address a couple areas of concern, look for them to make an equally impressive run this upcoming season.
Power Play: B
Penalty Kill: B-
Overall Team Grade: B+