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Canucks-Red Wings Game Day — Potential Top 10 Pick Zach Benson — Wrinkles

February 13, 2023, 11:26 PM ET [2302 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Vegas Golden Knights Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A few notes as the Canucks get ready to play game two-of-two of a home-and-home against the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight’s game takes place at Rogers Arena.

Defensive Wrinkles
It would be understandable if you tuned out early on Saturday.

Two goals against in the first 2:35 of play. Both goals beat Spencer Martin on his right side. The first one brought folks back to the Cloutier days — it went right under his right arm.

Fast forward to 13:17 of the second period. Martin gets beat by Larkin. Again on his right side.

That’s when the 27-year-old starts compensating. The next two goals are, well, let’s just look at the positioning.

Goal four.


Goal five isn’t on Martin, but you see how far he’s angling to the right side. He’s putting all of his chips on the right side shot while leaving it up to Ekman-Larsson to prevent the back door pass. Didn’t work out.


The coverage isn’t bad on most of these goals. The primary issue and something you hope they addressed on their day off is:

Getting sticks in the passing lanes
Detroit forced so much lateral movement from Spencer Martin. You’re going to see plenty of games where the opposition racks up +4 goals if Vancouver can’t find a way to shut down traffic through the middle of the defensive zone.

You don’t just start coaching a 31st-ranked defence without expecting wrinkles to iron out. Rick Tochett has such little time to address everything.

Speaking of.

Zach Benson
We have to agree by now that the Canucks simply have horrible lottery luck.

Slightly better fortune would lead to Auston Matthews instead of Olli Joulevi. Brady Tkachuk, Rasmus Dahlin, or Andrei Svechnikov instead of Quinn Hughes. Even in 2019, if Chicago hadn’t been bumped nine spots, the Canucks have one of Trevor Zegras, Phillip Broberg or Dylan Cozens falling to them instead of Vasili Podkolzin.

Currently, in 27th place, the Canucks would have a 7.5% chance at picking first if the season ended today.

It only took 20 rolls.

This year will likely hurt a lot less given the depth of the top 20. One player I really like around the Canucks’ range is Zach Benson of the Winnipeg Ice.

His release and hockey IQ are already NHL-quality and he looks fast enough to put defenders on their heels at the highest level. He would need to get stronger, but this looks like a top-2 guy in most drafts.

While the Canucks really don’t need more small guys, Benson is 5’10” — you have to go best player available when that much skill is on the board.

The Chilliwack, BC native has 28 goals and 46 assists in 47 games this season. Interestingly enough, he has more shorthanded goals, 5, than power play goals, 4. The all-positions forward generally serves as the set-up man for Flyers 2020 sixth round pick Connor McClennon when the Ice have the man advantage.

Fitting In
While the defence continues to work on it’s self — it’s nice to see that Anthony Beauvillier is finding chemistry early on. Particularly with Elias Pettersen. The two collaborated on both Canucks goals on Saturday.

The left shot, left wing has two goals and an assist in four games with the Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks Projected Lineup
Courtesy of undisclosed nhl.com staff writers. Spencer Martin was waived for the purpose of re-assignment, but will serve as backup tonight.

Di Giuseppe-Aman-Lazar


Colin Delia is expected to start. Martin serves as backup.

Game time is 7:00pm PST. Catch the broadcast on Sportsnet Pacific in Canada and Bally Sports Detroit in the United States.

Trevor Neufeld


Stats via naturalstattrick.com, nhl.com, whl.com, and eliteprospects.com.
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