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Scouting The Enemy: Vancouver Canucks

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A look inside tonight's opponent.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have enjoyed middling success historically against Vancouver, earning seven wins, six ties, and three overtime losses against nine in regulation. They've earned a .460 points percentage in their 25 opportunities, Florida's 18th-best record against anyone. Let's get right down into the current iteration of Vancouver's best hockey club.

Left Wing


For the Canucks, left wing is currently populated by Daniel Sedin (with a Canucks leading 27 assists and 35 total points), ex-Panthers Chris Higgins and Shawn Matthias, and Derek Dorsett (who is currently listed on the depth chart at fourth line left-winger, but spends a lot of time on the right side as well). For comparison sake, Daniel Sedin and Chris Higgins enjoy a high Corsi differential (this season), in the neighborhood of plus-40, although Daniel does it with a much higher incidence of zone starts on the offensive side of the ice.

Daniel is a brilliant puck handler, a solid defender and a lethal weapon on the power play, although he's not very good on the penalty kill. Higgins is wicked quick and a good two-way player who is equally adept on PP and on PK, although he sometimes lacks consistency.

The two account for 35:10 of average time-on-ice, leaving Matthias the lion’s share of what’s leftover. The one-time Great White Hope of the Panthers has generated exactly the opposite output of the top-two LWers, with roughly minus-50 Corsi over 36 games with nearly exactly 50% of his zone starts in each zone. Matthias is a good skater, although he's not overly fast. He has good size and a good reach. He isn't the best passer in the world, and still lacks intensity in appropriate moments.

Dorsett has been playing just over 10 minutes per game on the fourth line, with 56% of face-offs occurring in the offensive zone. Despite this preferable situation, he currently sits last on the forward corps, with a Corsi nearing minus-100. He is, after all, not there for his offensive skills, and leads the team with 84 penalty minutes.

Right Wing



Alex Burrows (plays most of his time on left wing) and Linden Vey (plays a lot of the time at center) will hold down the first two lines on the right, and have been totaling almost precisely 30 minutes per game. The third line features Zach Kassian, and the fourth boasts Jannik Hansen.

Burrows is currently around plus-20 on the season in shot generation, despite starting just under half the time in the opponent's zone. He's a noted pest, a great skater and versatile enough to play both wings. He's prone to take bad penalties, but, somewhat appropriately, is also a great penalty killer.

Vey starts 54% of his shifts on the offensive side of the ice, but has underwhelmed with around minus-40 Corsi Events with his time, and he’s done it against the weakest competition. He's more solid without the puck than with it, but lacks size.

Kassian has done well (amongst his right wing brethren) by racking up a Corsi of exactly 50% on the season, with a ZS diff which is also very nearly half. He makes good use of his size and strength by dominating in corners, but lacks common sense, which sometimes results in bad penalties.

Despite his slot on the fourth line, Hansen is a legitimate scoring threat, and has nine goals with six assists on the season. He starts just over half of his shifts on the offensive side of the ice, and as currently sitting around minus-40 in Corsi events. He's another guy who likes to get under opponent's skin, and he has a lot of playmaking ability. Like Aleksander Barkov, he'll pass up a quality shot for a good pass.

Center


Tomorrow night, Vancouver will man the center position with a combination of Henrik Sedin, Nick Bonino, Brad Richardson, and Bo Horvat. Unlike both wing positions (here and really everywhere else around the NHL), all four players will line up in their natural positions.

Henrik starts 54% of his shifts in the offensive zone, and comes through more often than not, currently sitting at plus-60 in the shot generation department and playing 18 minutes per game. He’s right behind his brother, with 26 helpers and 34 total points. They each have eight markers to their credit. Henrik is more physical than Daniel, and a premiere setup man. He's good defensively, and great on faceoffs. He sometimes passes when he should shoot, and struggles with high pressure situations.

Bonino plays about a minute-per-game less than Henrik, and ranks fourth on the club with 22 points. He starts 46% of his shifts in the offensive zone, but still manages to be present for more positive chances than negative, and currently sits at around plus-15. He's a solid two-way player, a natural leader, and the inclination to never be satified. Still just 26 years old, he could stand to add a few pounds of muscle to help him out in physical matchups.

Richardson averages a half-point-per-game for Vancouver in just 14:30 per game, starting just under half of his shifts in the offensive zone. He currently sits at minus-25 in even strength shot generation, against favorable competition. He's versatile enough to play any forward position, will always mix it up in the corners, and leave it all on the ice. He's a high energy player, but will never score at a clip higher than the one he is now generating.

Horvat rounds out the forward corps with around 10 minutes per game, and seven points in 25 games thus far this season. He’s sitting at minus-80 in Corsi events despite starting over half the time in the offensive zone. He's a sound positional player who comes up big in clutch situations but lacks any elite offensive ability.

Defense


The first pairing of Christopher Tanev and Alexander Edler boast similar advanced statlines, around plus-45 Corsi events with 47% positive zone face-offs against the best competition Vancouver faces. The two are clearly the best defensive players on the team, and Edler adds an offensive facet to the Canucks blue-line, with four goals and nine assists to his credit. Tanev moves the puck well and is very mobile. He'll always make smart decisions with it, playing it safe when able. Edler is an all around good player with a heavy point shot. He'll outmuscle opponents in one-on-one situations, although he's sometimes inconsistent in the defensive zone.

Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Stanton will line up in the second pairing, and play around 18 minutes. Bieksa starts half the time in each zone, and is currently around minus-60 Corsi, mostly due to a lot of his time on the penalty kill. He owns a good point shot, defensive responsibility, and a tendency to agiate. Stanton is around minus-100, also due to a lot of time on the PK. He currently leads Vancouver with 61% offensive zone starts. He'll sometimes avoid trouble with his nifty puck handling skills.

Yannick Weber (three goals, six assists) and Luca Sbisa (two goals, two assists) will spell the other two pairings. They haven’t been pairing-mates for most of the season (Dan Hamhuis is out due to injury), but Weber sits even in shot generation with 58% ZS against easy pickings, and Sbisa is at minus-60 with 45% ZS against higher quality opponents. Weber is a power play producer and an intelligent puck handler who could fill in as a winger if needed, although he's a little small for the NHL blueline. Sbisa is solid offensively and displays excellent mobility from the defensive zone, although he could be outmuscled by Florida's large forward corps.

The puck drops at 10, for those of you dedicated, crazy, or unemployed enough to tune in. Keep it here at LBC for everything you need as the game approaches. Nucks Misconduct has more on Vancouver.