Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/12/14

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 03: Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks warms up before playing against the Philadelphia Flyers on December 3, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jealous of Chicago It is time for the Canucks overachievers and underachievers update as the half season approaches, and there are some marked differences from the first list we produced. The Canucks’ meek start gave way to an extended strong run, mainly on the backs of the goaltenders, but Vancouver now finds itself mired in a slump once more. The team remains in the top ten of the NHL, but will need to recommit to playing a stronger game in order to secure a higher playoff place. Overachievers: Mason Raymond Mason Raymond has been a terrific surprise. He has maintained his exciting speed post injury, but has also exhibited a greater willingness to skate through the middle of the ice, rather than opt to wriggle along the boards. He leads the team with four power play goals, providing the second PP unit with a threat, and has also demonstrated an affinity for ably covering the centre position when required. Jannik Hansen Jannik Hansen is the rare Canucks player who has progressed significantly every season for Vancouver, and his grit, speed and determination have put a charge in the team. He has tallied 6 goals already and boasts a healthy +8 rating, despite bouncing between the second and third line. The great Dane will also be the mentor when the exciting prospect and fellow Dane Nicklas Jensen eventually makes his way to the Canucks first team, as soon as this year. Kevin Bieksa Kevin Bieksa is the one defenseman who has been steady on both ends of the ice. Tanev continues to provide a reliable defensive presence, but Bieksa also supplies a solid shot (5 goals) and the necessary snarl to bring an edge to this so-called ‘soft’ team. Kevin Bieksa is the one defenseman who has been steady on both ends of the ice. If only he could assure he would make it through every game injury-free. Underachievers:  Keith Ballard Keith Ballard looked like he had it all sorted out at last, skating well and moving the puck crisply, then Chris Tanev moved up in the defence pairings and the familiar error prone Ballard was once again back in the Coach V doghouse. Ballard tantalizes the fans with his potential, but 4.5 million dollars per year screams out higher expectations. David Booth David Booth is back from injury, granted, but he has yet to really impress as a Canuck this year or last. He looks the part with the great skating ability and imposing size, but cannot seem to make those raw tools produce in any consistent, meaningful manner. I would take Chris Higgins in a heartbeat over Booth at left wing. Newell Brown is known as the Vancouver Canucks power play guru, but in reality he has underperformed in this coaching role since the Canucks Stanley Cup run. The Canucks have now dropped as low as 20th in the league with the man advantage. The success of this unit was a hallmark of the team’s identity, but that former strength needs a few sessions on the shrink’s couch in order to get going again. What about it Vancouver fans? Who do you see as the best and worst players right now for the Canucks? The sprint for the 2013 Stanley Cup is underway. Every 6-7 games I’ll weigh in with my overachievers & underachieving Nucks. Stay tuned. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN THE CLUBHOUSE TODAY!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NBA Board of Governors votes against NBA draft lottery reform

Jamaal Charles admits he hid concussion symptoms

Kobe Bryant on ESPN article: ‘I just kind of roll with it’

Georgia releases statement about Todd Gurley's status

Michigan QB talks about racist messages he receives

Giants dethrone Royals in Game 1 of World Series

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Devils winger sends zinger about nasty facial cuts

Wife of Royals pitcher leaves World Series ticket as tip

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Fan blows $300 buying hot dogs for his section at World Series

Mo’ne Davis' Chevy commercial won't affect amateur status

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas forces OT, stares down Mayweather

10 bold predictions for Week 8 of NFL season

WATCH: Arkansas St. RB scores improbable touchdown

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1 loss at World Series

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

Canucks News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

NFL players who could be traded by the deadline

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.