Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.
1 - 20-goal scorers for the Canucks this season. It was Ryan Kesler. To put that into perspective: in 2009-10, they had six 20-goal scorers. 1 is, uh, five fewer. It wasn’t a very good season.
191 - In fact, it was historically terrible. The Vancouver Canucks scored just 191 goals in 2013-14, one shy of their goal totals in 1998-99, their previous worst offensive season ever. (And keep in mind that they only got this close by scoring 5 goals versus Calgary in their final game.) Is it any consolation that this season wasn’t just bad, it was so bad that now it’s a trivia answer? I say yes.
97 - Combined points for Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who still finished the year first and second in team scoring. Both players have had seasons with more points than their combined points totals this year. That’s rough.
.71 - Zack Kassian’s points per game over the final 17 games of the season. The big winger put up 12 points in the months of March and April, which is an impressive pace for a guy playing primarily on the third line. He appeared to be putting things together towards the end of the campaign, and if he still has it together next year, that’s a 57-point pace over 82 games. Could Kassian hit 60 points with continued development and perhaps a larger role next year?
1031 - This is how many shots the Canucks missed this year, 6th in the NHL and third in the West. But before you lament the statistic, note that the two Western teams ahead of them are LA and San Jose. You miss a lot of shots when you take a lot of shots, and you take a lot of shots when you have the puck a lot. To Vancouver’s credit, they actually outplayed their opponents more often than not, which is a good sign for next year if they do decide to return with the core mostly intact. The one tweak they should make, though, is winning more.
3 | Teams with a corsi rating above 50% that failed to make the postseason, one of which was the Vancouver Canucks. The other two? The Ottawa Senators and the New Jersey Devils. Meanwhile, the 10 other teams that outpossessed their opponents over the course of the season are in the dance. Possession metrics like Corsi and Fenwick aren’t the be-all and end-all — there’s simply too much randomness, luck, and other junk that goes into deciding an NHL game — but it’s generally the best indicator of a good team, which is why most of the teams that win the possession battle are playoff teams. Unfortunately, as with every statistic, there are always outliers, and this year, the Canucks were the Western Conference team that couldn’t turn their puck possession into playoff spot possession.
-39 | Alex Edler’s plus/minus, a league-low. Just an incredible accomplishment here. Even Steve Ott had to recognize it:
It was a helluva race but congratz to Edler for taking @ovi8 and myself down! Gold jacket Green jacket who gives a shit.
— Steve Ott (@otterN9NE) April 14, 2014
Here’s the thing, though: the only player that got worse luck on the ice was Steve Bernier, who finished the year with a league-low PDO of 95.0. Edler’s right behind him at 95.2. PDO is basically a stat that measures luck, combining your team’s shooting percentage and save percentage, two elements you can rarely control, when you’re on the ice. It tends to settle around 100, which is where most of the Canucks lie. But not Edler. He had a bad year. He was at fault for many goals against and he didn’t produce as much offence as he can. But you don’t get anywhere near minus-39 without a staggering amount of rotten luck, and the stats bear out just how much rotten luck Edler faced.
1217 | Shots blocked by the Canucks in 2013-14. It’s 198 more than they blocked in Alain Vigneault’s last full season. As if you needed any more evidence that the team’s philosophy has changed somewhat. Similarly, the Rangers went from 1338 in John Tortorella’s last full season to 1119 this year. Thus, in effect, the coach swap of Alain Vigneault for John Tortorella was good for a blocked shots swing of 200.
6.2% | The Canucks’ chances of winning Tuesday night’s draft lottery and with it, the right to draft first overall. I like those odds! Sadly, this may be yet another instance where the Canucks are beating out for the first overall pick by Buffalo, who have the best odds, at 25%. No doubt they end up with Gilbert Perrault, and we end up with… *sigh*… Dale Tallon.