There’s lots going on in Canuck-land, so here’s a little dose for you on Nils Höglander and his fellow depth forwards.
Höglander the motor
You may have heard this tale before, so if so, let us tell it again. And if you haven’t heard it before, well listen closely…
Nils Höglander, former Canucks scouting director Judd Brackett said, has an incredible motor. He never stops moving his feet. He’s also got a great set of hands; he knows how to score goals.
That’s a thing most young players have to learn, but he already knew it. He knew that no matter how many shifts he might have in a game, every shift needed to be high energy.
Now, in the NHL, his fourth season in North American hockey — how is it four seasons already — he’s finally recognized how to make that high-energy efficient. He threw a big centre-ice hit Friday in Seattle, knocking Brandon Tanev from the game.
And he scored a goal, a beautiful wrist shot off his off-wing.
There was a time when people felt he wouldn’t finish enough to prove effective as a diminutive fourth liner.
But here he is, with more goals that Conoor McDavid, Nathan Mackinnon, Jack Hughes, Jason Robertson, Kirill Karpizov, Alex Ovechkin and Mitch Marner.
Those are the stars of the game.
Call Höglander a pocket battleship. He keeps playing like this, the Canucks’ coaches won’t take him out of the lineup and the Canucks’ brass won’t look to trade him.
Big day for Åman
Not only did Nils Åman finally play his first NHL game of the season, but he also got himself a new NHL deal.
He signed a two-year contract extension that averages US$825,000 per season, through 2026.
Rick Tocchet is a big fan of his defensive game and said he was great in Abbotsford.
Åman missed out on a roster spot coming out of training camp to Jack Studnicka, but will he be in the NHL now for the rest of the way? Between his coach praising him and the way other depth forwards are scoring, it does look like there’s space on the NHL roster for a quiet, no-nonsense centre who can skate but can’t really score.
Thatcher Demko continues to be a solid foundation for this team.
They struggled a little on Friday to maintain control in their own end at times, especially in the second period, but one thing was certain, Demko always saw the shooters.
And when he sees the shooters, he’ll tell you he should be making the stops.
The Kraken piled the pressure in the second, but Demko never wavered.
And he hasn’t wavered once this season.
As long as the Canucks keep maintaining their defensive environment like they have so far, they’ll keep getting great performances from their No. 1 goalie.
And that as much as anything will tell the tale of their playoff qualification and perhaps even their playoff success.
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