Two years ago, when he led the National Hockey League with 104 points, Daniel Sedin also led the league with 18 power play goals. Just two seasons ago — not four or six or eight — two seasons ago no one in the NHL scored more on the power play than Daniel.
Fast forward to this season with the same player stuck in an 18-game power play goal drought. That seems preposterous until you dig a little deeper. What’s truly preposterous is the notion that Daniel would score power play goals at all if he never shoots the puck while the Canucks have the man-advantage. And that’s the issue facing both the player and his team right now.
When Daniel Sedin led the league in PP goals he was the trigger man on the top power-play in the NHL. Last season his production dropped considerably to 10 PPG, but the Canucks still had the fourth best power play in the league. Right now, after going 0 for 5 against San Jose on Tuesday night, the Canucks power play ranks 20th in the league. From first (at 24.3%) to fourth (at 19.8%) to 20th (now operating at 15.9%) in a relatively short span of time.
Daniel Sedin logged 7:54 of power play time on Tuesday night. He did not register a power play shot on goal. And he hasn’t in any of the team’s past four games. In fact, Daniel’s last PP shot on goal came in the 8-3 loss in Detroit on February 24th. That is his only PP shot in the past 27 times the Vancouver Canucks have had the man-advantage. Stop and think about that. The team’s leading goal-scorer has put one puck on net the last 27 times the Canucks have worked on the power play.
It’s shocking and yet it shouldn’t be a huge surprise because that’s the way Daniel’s season has gone so far. Incredibly he has a grand total of seven power play shots on goal. The Canucks as a team have had 88 power play opportunities — and save for a brief one with overlapping penalties, it’s safe to assume that Daniel has been on the ice for each and every chance the Canucks have had with the man-advantage. And he’s amassed a staggeringly-low total of seven power play shots.
Daniel Sedin scored a 5-on-4 power play goal against Anaheim on opening night January 19th. That is his only 5-on-4 goal of the season. His only other power play marker came a few nights later in Anaheim when he converted on a 5-on-3 opportunity to open the scoring. In 18 games since, he has 0 PPG and just 4 PP shots.
In 22 games this season, Daniel Sedin has just six 5-on-4 PP shots. In a related matter, the Canucks PP is 0 for it’s past 15. Clearly the system they are using right now — and for most of this season — is not working for them. They had a system not that long ago that featured the top power play marksman in the NHL. They have a player in their line-up who has scored 105 power play goals in his career and they are not getting him involved nearly enough.
With the Canucks spinning their wheels midway through this lockout shortened season, they can’t afford to squander many more power play opportunities. Tuesday against San Jose, the Canucks had a golden opportunity with a 4-on-3 PP in overtime and failed to convert. The Sharks ended up winning the game in a shootout.
The numbers don’t lie. The Canucks need to get Daniel Sedin in positions to shoot the puck on the power play and he has to pull the trigger. Given his recent history, it only make sense to give it a shot.