The Vancouver Canucks’ last win was November 7th against the San Jose Sharks; since then they have fallen to all three Californian teams and the Dallas Stars. In each of their past four losses, the Canucks have only been able to score one goal in each; offense is an issue. While there are many players who have not met expectations or performed to their true potential (or players who have been sidelined by injuries or put on waivers), here are three players who could be and should be playing better than they have been.
Booth has only played 13 games this season, and interestingly enough, his statistics almost mirror those from last season. Last season he played 12 games, with one goal and two assists. This season, through 13 games, he also has one goal and two assists. Booth has missed nine games this season because of a groin ailment followed by a conditioning stint with the Canucks’ AHL team, the Utica Comets. In his three games with the Comets Booth had one assist, and really enjoyed the chance to be able to play more than the 12 to 16 minutes he had been playing with the Canucks. His good attitude has impressed coach John Tortorella as, “It shows me and the organization that he wants to get better.” Booth has been prone to injuries (the reason he missed most of last season as well), and is far from the Booth that scored 31 goals and 60 points in 72 games with the Florida Panthers in 2008-09. His only goal so far this season came on October 6th against the Calgary Flames, and since then has been fairly quiet with two assists, playing on the third and fourth lines. When Booth first arrived in Vancouver in 2011 he was slotted in on the second line with Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler; the Canucks liked his size, speed, shot and willingness to go for the net.
Like Booth, Burrows has missed several games this season because of injury. Injured in the first game of the season blocking a shot, and returning on October 28th against the Washington Capitals, Burrows has played 10 games, but has been unable to score a goal. He has three assists, two of which came on November 7th against the Canucks’ win against the San Jose Sharks, one of Burrows’ best games so far this season. Last game against the Dallas Stars, Burrows played on the top line with the Sedins for the first time since coming back from his injury. He had many chances, including a shot that hit that post, but was unable to get any pucks in the net. This is fairly unusual for the undrafted winger, who has been one of the Canucks’ most consistent and reliable players over the past few years. Once a 35 goal scorer in 2009-10, Burrows is getting the chances (the only game in which he did not have two or more shots on net was the first game in which he had zero) but has been unable to finish them.
Edler is currently on a 13 game goal scoring slump. His two goals through 19 games this season were scored October 8th against the New Jersey Devils and October 19 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. While Edler has had some brighter moments – such as 12 shots against Toronto on November 2nd – his offence is virtually nonexistent, as is his defence it seems. Edler has the worst plus/minus on the team with minus-9. It is a bit nerve-racking when one of a team’s top four defenders is one of their worst both defensively and offensively. There are only two Canucks defenders with fewer points than Edler: Andrew Alberts and Yannick Weber. Alberts has only played three games this season and Weber is on waivers. Edler is capable of contributing offensively; in 2011-12 he had 49 points, has been effective for the Canucks on the powerplay in past seasons, and has constantly been hailed as a productive, All-Star defender.