Sunday, December 03, 2006

NHL's Worst Offence

Last night, as Vancouver defeated Colorado 2-1 and Columbus defeated Edmonton 4-0, the Blue Jackets moved past the Canucks to become the NHL's second worst offence. So far, Vancouver has 2.15 goals per game while Columbus has 2.16. How did Vancouver become the worst offence in the NHL? Last year they were 12th with 3.07 goals per game. They have dropped by nearly a goal per game. While it is true they are in the lower scoring conference, this isn't good enough.

Offensively, Vancouver lost Todd Bertuzzi (though he has been injured in Florida so he would have been lost even without a trade) and Anson Carter (his 9 points so far this year have not been a big deal). Otherwise, the key offensive players from last season remain. Markus Naslund is off to a relatively slow start with 19 points in 26 games. He is behind both Sedins. Henrik has 24 points and Daniel 20. The only other player who has been able to score a point in every other game is defenceman Sami Salo, who has 14 in his 23 games. Everybody else just hasn't been scoring. There are people who should be scoring more. Brendan Morrison, Jan Bulis, Ryan Kesler, Taylor Pyatt and Mattias Ohlund were all counted on for more offensive output. While some of these players should pick things up in the remainder of the season, Vancouver has a bad offence.

The problem is that Vancouver has chose to be a top heavy team paying their stars a large chunk of the salary cap money and those (offensive) stars have not produced. In order to fill out their roster, they have depended upon cheap borderline NHL players in too many spots. People like Marc Chouinard, Alexandre Burrows and Josh Green are relied upon to play significant minutes and none of them are good enough to provide significant offence. If the stars (namely Naslund and Morrison) begin to score at expected rates, Vancouver's offence will get back on track, but it does not appear to be happening.

Vancouver has not been an awful team this year. They have 13 wins and 14 losses (1 a regulation tie). This is due largely to strong goaltending from Roberto Luongo.

Should Vancouver's offence not get on track, it will be a long year for the Canucks. They will likely finish well back of a playoff spot.

"Salo, who has 14 in his 232 games" I think you may have slightly over stated the number of games Salo has played this season :)
Typo fixed
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