The Vancouver Canucks have reached the desperation stage in their search for offensive help. We know this because they took a look at 900-year-old Vinny Prospal.
Alas, the Prospal comeback lasted exactly one practice with the Utica Comets. He returned home to be with his family and apologized to the Canucks for putting them out.
So the search continues for the struggling Canucks. “We are not scoring at a level we’re happy with and that clearly has to change,” Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman told the Vancouver Sun.
Here are some of the specifics:
- Top center Henrik Sedin suffered a cracked rib, forcing him out of the lineup and ending his iron man streak. He failed to score a goal in 15 consecutive game before getting hurt.
- Top winger Daniel Sedin has no goals in his last 11 games. The Sun notes that other slumping forwards include Ryan Kesler (one in eight games), Alex Burrows (none in 20), Chris Higgins (one in seven), Jannik Hansen (none in 11) and David Booth (no goals in 13 games).
- Since last Feb. 23, notes the Sun, the Canucks have failed to score more than two goals 69 times. They averaged just 2.46 goals over 123 regular season games.
- Through 52 games this season, the Canucks ranked 22nd in NHL scoring with 2.44 goals per game.
“We don’t need one or two chances to score a goal; we need five or six or seven and that’s what’s hurting us,” Hansen told the Sun. “It’s the same core group that has been here for a long time, and we did not have trouble scoring goals two, three, four years ago, so we don’t know what it is that has crept in.
“But somehow it’s getting harder to get those goals. We can’t blame post-and-out (bad luck) when it’s years in the making. It’s not a freak couple of weeks; it has been a while now and it’s something we have to work on.”
The Canucks do have some good young players in development, including Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce and Dane Fox. But GM Mike Gillis must decide whether to remain patient and await their arrival or move some prospects for immediate help.
That is a tough call. Vancouver fans expect to see a winning product but the Canucks are several players away from legitimate Stanley Cup contention.