Canucks Season Preview Series: Putting the Kill Back in the PK
[As we approach the start of the NHL regular season, members of the Canucks blogosphere give their two cents about your Vancouver Canucks and address the issues, questions and expectations of the team in their 40th year anniversary.]
Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
To say that the Canucks’ penalty-kill last postseason was woeful is a vast understatement. In the biggest and most important games of the year, the Canucks were shorthanded 54 times and allowed 17 powerplay goals against. Their 68.5% PK rate was easily the worst among the 16 teams that made the postseason.
In the regular season, the Canucks had an 81.6% PK rate, which ranked them 18th among all NHL teams. It’s a far cry from the 2006/2007 season – Luongo’s first season with the Canucks – when their PK led the league with an 86.5% PK rate.
Have the Canucks done enough to address this?
J.J.: Adding Manny Malhotra, Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard will help – especially Hamhuis and Ballard, both of whom led their respective teams in PK time on ice last season – but if the preseason is any indication the Canucks still have some work to do.
One of the few bright spots from the PK last season was Alex Burrows. He led the team – and the NHL – in shorthanded goals and points, but will start this season on LTIR. Nothing against Peter Schaeffer, but I doubt he provides a similar threat to score shorthanded.
Chris: Based on what we’ve seen from the pre-season, the jury is still out on this one. On paper, the Canucks have improved their PK but unfortunately for the team, the game is played on ice. If I were to have suggestions, a strong commitment to discipline will be the first step to avoiding the special teams demon that plagued the Canucks last year. The second would be a more aggressive PK that more quickly closes down shooting lanes while harassing the opposing special teams unit into making mistakes of their own.
Richard: No. That said, they have so many other things going for them I don’t think a bottom half PK will be the end of the world.