The Canucks’ top scorer since the All-Star break shouldn’t come as a surprise. J.T. Miller has been ridiculous all season, but particularly in recent games: he has seven goals and 17 points in the 13 games since the All-Star break, including six points in his last three games.
The second-leading scorer isn’t surprising either: Quinn Hughes. Not only is Hughes second on the Canucks in scoring since the All-Star break, his 16 points in 13 games leads all NHL defencemen.
What might come as more of a surprise is the player in third: Adam Gaudette.
Yes, since the All-Star break, Gaudette has more points than Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. He has nine points in those 13 games, which is very good production even before you take into account that he’s 15th in ice time on the Canucks in that time. He’s been efficiently racking up points on a third line that really gets ice time like it’s a fourth line.
Gaudette may celebrate his goals loudly, but he’s been quietly putting up points all season, not just in the last 13 games.
Looking across the entire NHL, 344 forwards have played at least 500 minutes in all situations this season. If we split those into four groups to approximate four different lines, we get four groups of 86 players. Where do the Canucks rank among these 344 forwards?
Because we’re looking at all situations, those forwards that play on the power play get a big advantage, but we’re looking for scoring, and the power play is a major part of that.
In all situations, Gaudette has been the Canucks’ third-most efficient forward when it comes to putting up points, behind only Pettersson and Miller. In his limited ice time, Gaudette has been incredibly effective, particularly on the second power play unit, where he helps drive the unit with Jake Virtanen.
Gaudette leads the Canucks in power play assists per 60 minutes and is second only to Virtanen in power play points per 60 minutes. The second power play unit has become a serious threat to score, which has helped when the first unit has stalled at times.
At even-strength, Gaudette falls down the ranks a bit, but is still sixth on the Canucks among forwards with at least 500 five-on-five minutes. In a sheltered role, Gaudette has provided crucial secondary scoring this season.
What really stands out about the Canucks’ forwards compared to the rest of the NHL is how many rank as “first-line” forwards.
The Canucks have six forwards in the top-86 in points per 60 minutes — in other words, adjusted for ice time, they have six forwards producing points like first-liners. Bo Horvat is just outside that range at 88th.
Along with Horvat, Tyler Toffoli and Josh Leivo also fall into the second-line box. Most of Toffoli’s games came with the basement-dwelling Los Angeles Kings and he’s now playing with Pettersson and Miller at even strength and on the first power play unit, so that number will likely come up.
Brandon Sutter sits alone in the third line box, while Loui Eriksson and Jay Beagle sit in the fourth-line box. Beagle, in fact, is one of the least-efficient forwards in the entire NHL in scoring. Only six NHL forwards have played at least 500 minutes and have a lower points-per-60 than Beagle. Four of them are on the Detroit Red Wings and one of them is Tim Schaller.