The Canucks season may be over, but the Canucks affiliate the Manitoba Moose are ripping up the post season in the AHL which has those Canucks fans still around, excited about a few things.
There’s been one thing the Canucks have had problems over the last few seasons. Scoring. Scoring comes from shooting. Some of the most promising Canucks prospects, Hodgson, Grabner, and my personal favourite, Bolduc have just been racking up shots in the playoffs. One of the most telling stat of the Mooose’s playoff success thus far has been their shot dominance. Grabner has a whopping 68 shots 14 playoff games so far. Hodgson has 22 shots in 6 games and Bolduc has 26 shots in 10 games. Second leading shot getting is Jason Jaffray with 60 shots in 16 games.
Aside from shots, what’s impressed me is how Hodgson has fit in. He’s made is pro debut in the middle of the Moose’s run and in 6 games he has 3 points, 1 goal and 2 assists and as mentioned, 22 shots. He’s already showing that he’s closer and closer to being ready for the jump to the NHL as he’s fitting very nicely in with the Moose. In his 6 games he’s also a +2.
One guy that’s impressed me on the back end (which could be important if Ohlund goes and we don’t fill that void with a top 4 defenseman) is Shaun Heshka. He’s got 20 shots on goal, 3 assists, and is tied for the team lead in +/- with +10. Looks like he’s the Willie Mitchell of the Mooose, and had the Canucks not had so much depth on defense at the start of last season, I think he would have made the lineup. He’s developed into a very solid defenseman. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the legitimate contenders for the blue line next season.
The Baby Canucks top players have also been producing on the score sheet. Grabner is averaging just under a point per game. What’s impressed me most is the play of Bolduc. He’s played 6 games less than most of the other players, and yet he’s also averaging a point per game. He’s making his time on the ice count. Krog leads the team in points with 18 points in 16 games, Jaffray is second on the scoring list and Grabner sits 3rd.
The fact that all these kids are playing so well only adds to the Canucks depth charts. Say we do lose Wellwood to Free Agency, bringing up one of the young guns from the minors wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Hodgson is making his bid for the big team next year, he just has to keep consistent. I think next year Bolduc is going to get his break. If Pyatt is gone (and I hope Gillis doesn’t re-sign him) that would be a nice spot for Alexandre “Bold Duck” Bolduc to slot in. Either way, Moose are in the Calder Cup Finals, and there’s nothing more important that that team can take away from all this, than learning how to win. If they can learn how to win at a minor level, thats one step closer to learning how to win in the NHL.