Feb 242009
Feb 232009
Feb 212009

In an interview on the TEAM 1040, Mike Gillis mentioned that playoff success was not a prerequisite to getting a contract done with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Maybe not, but if they hope to get that $6.5 million per year contract, it should be.

The Sedins’ current $3.575 million per year contract was signed prior to the 2006/2007 season – the season after the Westcoast Express was dismantled and the Sedins became the Canucks’ go-to guys. And in the 2+ regular seasons since then, they’ve done just that. Consider their production against other players with a cap hit of $5 million or more this season or those who have already signed contracts effective next season with a cap hit of $5 million or more.



Not that anyone was questioning their regular season prowess but this table illustrates how proficient the Sedins have been. In terms of regular season points production, Henrik and Daniel fit in nicely in that group of highest-paid players in the league. In fact, Henrik is also 4th among that list in total assists and Daniel is 10th in total goals scored.

But if the Sedins are going to be expected to be paid alongside premier players, then they cannot disappear when it counts. Premier players make everyone around them better, which they’ve done (see: Klatt, Trent, King, Jason and Burrows, Alex). But also, premier players step it up in the playoffs when it matters the most, and unfortunately, this is one area in which they haven’t proven themselves. Consider the playoff production of the same group of players since 2006/2007.



Now I realize that this is a small sample seeing that there’s only been 2 postseasons since 2006/2007, but I think the numbers are still telling. The other players in that group – most of them anyway – have more or less been able to keep up their production in the playoffs. The Sedins haven’t, and in fact, Henrik and Daniel have 2 of the worst playoff point per game averages (0.33 and 0.42, respectively).

Also, the dropoff off from their regular season production to playoff production is tremendous. Only 5 people from that list had their production drop by at least half, and unfortunately, the Sedins are 2 of them. Henrik goes from 0.95 points per game in the regular season to 0.33 points per game in the playoffs – a 65.44% dropoff in production. Daniel goes from 0.98 to 0.42 – a 57.03% dropoff. (The only others are Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Gaborik and Paul Stastny.)

As a point of reference, scoring in the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 postseasons dropped off by 10.15% from the regular season (2.95 to 2.65). As another point of reference, almost half of this group of highest-paid players did not have their production drop off by more than 10.15%; 2/3rds of them did not drop off by more than 20% (the difference between a point-per-game player to a 0.80 point per game player). And if you look at the players at the top part of that list, you wouldn’t be questioning the amount of money they make.

To be fair, the Sedins have only appeared once in the postseason as first-line players (2006/2007), and even then, they had very little help offensively and teams keyed in on them. With Mats Sundin, Pavol Demitra and Ryan Kesler forming another scoring line, that won’t be the case this year and the Sedins won’t have any excuses left.

When Mike Gillis took over as GM, he said he wasn’t sure the Sedins were the type of players he wants to build this franchise around, and in only a couple of months, the Sedins will finally get a chance to respond. They’ll either prove they can elevate their game when it matters the most and deserve to get paid like the players who do, or they can take their $6.5 million contract demands elsewhere.

Feb 202009
Feb 192009
Feb 122009

When it was put together 3 games ago, the Demitra-Sundin-Kesler line was expected to provide some secondary scoring and take the heat off the Sedin line. It has, of course, done more than that, outscoring the Sedin line 22 (9G-13) – 6 (3G-3A) in 3 straight wins.

The other thing I noticed is that Vigneault has taken to putting the Sundin line (with Bernier on the wing, and sometimes, Demitra on the point) out first on the powerplay. In fact, Demitra, Sundin and Kesler combined for 36:58 minutes of powerplay ice-time the last 3 games vs. Sedin, Sedin and Pyatt’s combined 30:58 minutes.

I don’t think even the most optimistic of Canucks fans would have expected this when Sundin signed.

The beauty of the emergence of the RPM line (Ryan, Pavol and Mats), as they’ve now been dubbed, is it forces opposing teams to choose which of their best defending players they should play against which line. Against Chicago, the Sedins played primarily against Chicago’s best defensemen, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, while the RPM line played primarily against Brian Campbell and Matt Walker. Against St. Louis, it was the RPM line that faced Barrett Jackman and Carlo Colaiacovo, while the Sedins faced Jeff Woywitka and Jay McKee.

I realize this is a small, 2-game sample, but at least it’s a glimpse of the goodness of having some secondary scoring. Not all teams are blessed with dynamic defensive duos a la Niedermayer/Pronger, Chara/Wideman, Lidstrom/Rafalski, Blake/Boyle or Phanuef/Regehr that can defend more than one scoring line. In fact, most teams don’t and those teams would have to pick their poison. Defend the Sedins and hope the RPM line doesn’t score? Or vice-versa?

Feb 102009
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