Originally written January 15, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Canucks Projections Chances are that like the Regular Season of the NHL season, you are scrambling to get your Hockey Pools together before puck drop on January 19. If this is the case, there is not much time to strategize, to predict and to realize which players will help you gain bragging rights in your pool. I recommend looking at which teams will score a ton, which teams have lineups built to overpower and which teams possess strong power plays and strong offensive systems. The Vancouver Canucks just happen to be one of those teams – they were top 5 in offense and power play almost all of last season before all dried up in the playoffs. That said, when looking at quality Regular Season performers, the Canucks certainly have their share. Here are some projections for the Canucks players that have to be considered for your draft. Keep in mind that the schedule is limited to 48 games – there simply won’t be a 100 point man in the NHL this season. (Be sure to check the injury report as well) Forwards LW Daniel Sedin 25 goals, 30 assists Daniel is the best offensive player on the Canucks – just ahead of brother Henrik because Daniel Sedin is the finisher of the two. Alongside his brother again as well as Alex Burrows, you have to think that Daniel will be among the league leaders in points again. He is a Top 5 point producer in the NHL almost guaranteed. C Henrik Sedin 15 goals, 40 assists I am projecting similar points totals for Henrik Sedin as Daniel – they have been close their whole careers in points production – Henrik is good for more assists. He has the most points in the NHL over the past three seasons and he hasn’t missed a game over that stretch. He will still be on Vancouver’s top line, he will still be on the #1 power play unit and he should be Top 10 in NHL scoring yet again. Playing with the Sedins gives Alex Burrows fantasy credibility alone. RW Alex Burrows 15 goals, 15 assists Playing with the Sedins gives Alex Burrows credibility alone. He will score garbage goals, he will get his share of power play time and he should be a fine addition to your Fantasy roster. Anything less than 30 points would be a disappointment for Burrows. C Ryan Kesler 8 goals, 10 assists Ryan Kesler is a major question mark – he will start the season on the injured list again and there isn’t an accurate updated timetable for his return. That said when he returns “healthy” Kesler should be good for nearly a point per game. He will return to the first power play unit and anchor a good second line. LW David Booth 13 goals, 15 assists David Booth had a down year in 2011-2012 – injuries played a part in that. But as part of one of the better second lines in the game, Booth should get every opportunity to bounce back. He isn’t short on talent and the penchant to shoot. Cautiously optimistic he can reach 30 points in the shortened season with 15-18 goals. (Wait for news on his groin injury this week) RW Zack Kassian 9 goals, 11 assists Zack Kassian is an interesting sleeper for the upcoming season – his power, his size and his speed all make him a potential to occasionally get minutes on the top line. As of now I have Kassian playing well on the third/fourth line with some upside. RW Jannik Hansen 8 goals, 12 assists Jannik Hansen may crack the Top 6 forwards but he will have some work to do. Tentatively he is scheduled to skate on the third line but his speed makes him another sleeper prospect. He had more goals than Chris Higgins and Mason Raymond and as many as David Booth last year but remains under the radar. LW Mason Raymond 5 goals, 10 assists Mason Raymond looks as though he will end up on the fourth line this year – third line at absolute best. He is speedy but has no hands at all – 15 points is all he can be counted on for. Defense Alex Edler 8 goals, 25 assists Vancouver’s best offensive defenseman should get his share of points based on his power play time alone. He had 49 points in 82 games last year so 32 points in 48 games certainly isn’t a stretch – Alex Edler is a top 20 NHL defenseman this year for sure! Jason Garrison 8 goals, 15 assists Newly acquired Jason Garrison figures to get the nod as Alex Edler’s defensive partner. He is coming off a terrific 16 goal campaign. Garrison will get his points for sure based solely on the fact that he will be on the first power play unit and will log more minutes than almost every other Canuck D-Man. 23 wins, 10 losses, 2.40 goals against average in 2013 Kevin Bieksa 5 goals, 15 assists Garrison’s arrival hurts Kevin Bieksa’s projections indeed but Kevin is a trusted commodity in Vancouver and will get his share of ice time with the second PP unit and playing regularly alongside… Dan Hamhuis 5 goals, 15 assists Dan Hamhuis had a nice season last year and registered 33 assists. It may be unrealistic to expect similar type of production but Dan has shown an offensive touch and should be good for at least 20 points this year. Goaltending Cory Schneider 23 wins, 10 losses, 2.40 goals against average Cory Schneider takes over as the unquestioned starter on one of the best teams in the NHL so he figures to get his share of wins! He had a 2.23 GAA and .929 save % in 2010-2011 and had a 1.96 GAA and .937 save % last year – terrific numbers indeed. Schneider proved in the playoffs last year that he can handle the load, that he doesn’t mind the pressure and that he is worthy of being a #1 option for his team. Expect Schneider to emerge as a Top 10 keeper in the league with an upside that may see him finish at or around the Top 5. CLICK  TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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