Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/14/14

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!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MLBPA reacts to Kris Bryant's minor league assignment

Gregg Marshall's show canceled, Bama speculation grows

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

WATCH: Stars' Patrik Nemeth catches puck inside visor

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

University of California soccer player found dead

Joe Namath parties with twin 100 year-old women

WATCH: Mike Napoli hits home run as bat shatters

WATCH: Marc Gasol misses shot, rips jersey in disgust

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

NHL 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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

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.