The Sedin Experiment
With Daniel Sedin out, Henrik has found a way to keep up his point per game play, something that people didn’t think he was capable of. For their entire careers the Sedins had played together, and rarely missing a game, no one really knew just how talented the twins were individually. In 17 games without his brother Daniel on his wing, Henrik Sedin has had 17 points, capped with a hat trick night against the Avalanche to date.
While Henrik has struggled without his brother, there’s been a positive side to his time with different line mates. Henrik’s biggest struggles have been in the face-off dot, but when you look at the numbers that have come out of his time away from Daniel the Canucks are going to come out on top when Daniel returns to the line up. One of the biggest criticisms of Henrik was his pass first mentality. Since Daniel went down, Henrik’s had to adapt his style of play and start shooting more and it’s finally paying dividends. The perfect example was his hat trick goal against the Avalanche. He was wide open at the side at the net, and in year’s gone by we’ve seen him wide open in similar fashion, and he’s elected to pass. He’s starting to shoot more, he’s starting to go to the net, and without the cycle, we’re starting to see some of the real talent Henrik Sedin possesses. Most importantly, he’s proved to us that he doesn’t need his brother to continue being a point per game player.
With Daniel’s return, what happens to Henrik’s play? Does he go back to his pass first mentality since his brother will be there to do all the shooting? Daniel needs someone to set him up. Anyone can set him up, and he can find the back of the net. That’s why he’s led the Canucks in goals the last couple of seasons. With that in mind, the Canucks could use another player with a shoot first mentality and now would be the perfect time to experiment with splitting up the Sedins. With Daniel’s return, I’d be interested to see how the team would fare if Henrik started and centered the first line with Samuelsson and Burrows, while Daniel joined Raymond and Kesler. It’s a gamble worth a try, and with the way Henrik’s found his own, certainly if there was any time to try this, now would be the time.
The only downside to the gamble is if it pays off Burrows would likely resume his spot on the 3rd line. It’s clear that Burrows just isn’t the player he was last year without both the Sedins to play with. If splitting the Sedins results in more goals for this team, for the time being I’d certainly entertain the two on separate lines. Even if Daniel returns and joins his brother Henrik, the Canucks are going to come out on top because this time apart has shown Henrik that he doesn’t always have to pass the puck. Why have one offensive-minded, shoot-first twin, when you can have two?