Everybody knows: Henrik is the passer, Daniel is the shooter. Henrik racks up the assists, while Daniel racks up the goals. This has been true throughout their careers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when Henrik goes through a long stretch of games without putting the puck in the net. And yet, with Henrik just one point back from surpassing Markus Naslund’s franchise record of 756 points, there are still rumblings of concern throughout the media and fanbase.
Henrik has yet to score a goal this season, going 11 games without scoring. At this point, he’s one of only five Canucks skaters without a goal this year.
Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise: Henrik went twice as long – 22 games – without a goal towards the end of last season. Still, as much as the concern over Henrik not scoring is normally overblown, this time around the concern seems justified. Henrik has just 13 shots in 11 games, his lowest shooting pace since before the 2004-05 lockout.
At his current pace, he’s set to finish the 48-game season with just 56-57 shots. Assuming he ends the season with a similar shooting percentage to the last two seasons, when he scored on 12.4% and 12.1% of his shots, Henrik will finish the season with just 6 or 7 goals. Given the start to his season, he may not even reach that total. If he shoots his career-low shooting percentage of 7.5%, he’ll end up with just 4 goals. Even for Henrik, that’s just not enough.
Fortunately, the rest of the team has picked up the slack. The Canucks have gotten off to their best every start under Alain Vigneault, thanks to both the unreal goaltending from Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider and the balanced scoring from the entire Canucks lineup. Fourteen players have recorded a goal for the Canucks, including five defencemen. Chris Tanev even scored his first ever NHL goal.
The only players, other than Henrik, who have yet to score a goal this season are Manny Malhotra, Dale Weise, Andrew Ebbett, and Keith Ballard. Well, there’s also Andrew Alberts and Cam Barker, but the latter two have yet to play a game.
For each of these players, there are clear reasons why they have yet to score. Malhotra is doing his usual work starting in the defensive zone; Weise has more shots on goal than Henrik in fewer minutes, but apparently angered a hockey puck in a past life; Ebbett has played in just 4 games; Ballard has refocused his efforts in the defensive zone and he’s a defenceman, so we’ll cut him some slack.
But for each of them, like for Henrik, there’s still reason for concern. Malhotra has just 2 shots on net; Weise has been demoted to the fourth line, where he’ll struggle to find offensive opportunities; Ebbett struggled to start the season in a primarily offensive role; Ballard is supposed to be the offensive defenceman between him and Chris Tanev, yet Tanev is the one with 3 points, while Ballard has none.
So which of these players will bump the slump first? Will one of Malhotra, Weise, Ebbett, or Ballard score a goal before Henrik this season? Heck, will Alberts or Barker get into a game and score before Henrik? It’s entirely possible.
Tags: Henrik Sedin