Fantasy Hockey – Available Canucks Players to Help Clinch Your Season

By: Brayden Fengler / February 21, 2024  

We officially have just under two months until the end of this NHL season. Although the road to the playoffs is still a ways away for real-life NHL General Managers, fantasy hockey GMs are gearing up for their playoff run a lot sooner.

If you dabble in the dark arts of fantasy hockey in either head-to-head categories or head-to-head points leagues then depending on the size of your league, your playoffs are likely right around the corner.

There is no better time than right before a playoff run to start scouting for some undiscovered talent, especially if your league has a trade or free agency acquisition deadline that is passing soon or has already passed.

What’s better than finding diamonds in the rough? Finding said diamonds who happen to play for a team you already watch, and a good team at that!

This article will highlight under-rostered Canucks players that may be worth a second look if they are available in your league. This article is not gonna tell you “Hey this Pettersson guy isn’t doing half bad, pick him up if you can”. But what we might say is “Tyler Myers… in the right league, might be worth a closer look.”

All players listed in this article are well below 50% rostered in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues as of February, 21th 2024. So if any player is speaking to you, you can more than likely grab them.

Points Players

Probably the least surprising names on this list are guys that have been scoring for the Canucks, but perhaps just not enough to make them staples on everyone’s fantasy roster.

Percent RosteredESPNYahoo
Conor Garland1.6%9%
Ilya Mikheyev2.2%3%
Nils Höglander1.7%4%

Conor Garland, Ilya Mikheyev and Nils Höglander are all top ten in points among the Canucks roster, and for a team that is leading the entire NHL in goals, this is not an insignificant achievement.

With regards to Conor Garland, even with Dakota Joshua out as of last week, Garland has stayed on the score sheet, registering an assist in Vancouver’s close loss to Winnipeg on February 17th. However, with Joshua out, more people might be holding off on potential Garland acquisitions. So if you think Garland is more than the sum of the third line, it might be a good time to grab him.

Ilya Mikheyev is a harder sell than Garland and more of a gamble to pick up than Höglander. Mikheyev has 25 points on the season, parking him at 9th on the Canucks overall leaderboard. However, his individual numbers on a nightly basis are not too impressive. It’s the sum of his season from a fantasy perspective that makes him worth considering. With the Lindholm acquisition still new and the Joshua injury causing line shake-ups, picking up Mikheyev would be gambling on some new deployment to hopefully shake him into production.

Like Mikheyev, Nils Höglander has 25 points on the year, He doesn’t shoot as much as the two players mentioned above him, but when he does he seems to always score. Nils has a shooting percentage of 21.5% on 79 shots. This percentage slightly bests that of Miller, Pettersson and Boeser, with the notable caveat being that Höglander does not shoot as much as those players. Still, Höglander’s scoring touch has improved drastically this year. The young Swede has been seeing more deployment up the line-up recently as well, resulting in two points over his last four games. This may be a great time to consider Höglander as a depth pick-up.

Backing Up the Best Team

If you’re gonna own a goalie on the Canucks, you want it to be Thatcher Demko, unfortunately, a Demko find in free agency is not something anyone should get their hopes up for.

While the Canucks back-up Casey DeSmith is in fact not Thatcher Demko, he is still doing a remarkable job for this club when deployed.

Percent RosteredESPNYahoo
Casey DeSmith3.4%11%

DeSmith has played 17 games for Vancouver so far this season, with 16 of those games being starts. During his contests, he’s won seven games and forced overtime – ending in a loss – during five contests. DeSmith has only four regulation losses on the season.

The biggest drawback to DeSmith is his deployment. However, as the Canucks inch closer to the playoffs it’s only natural that they may want to consider the workload of Demko in the remaining regular season games. With DeSmith proving his abilities during the limited games he has played, not only may he be trusted to start more games in March and April, but he is well positioned to win with the team that will be playing in front of him.

Best Bruisers

The above players could be potential fits in either a category or a points league, but these next three players are more likely to shine in category leagues where their muscles can potentially earn the most millage.

Percent RosteredESPNYahoo
Nikita Zadorov1.3%6%
Tyler Myers13.3%16%
Ian Cole1.2%1%

Nikita Zadorov has played 30 games so far this season for the Canucks and averages over 17 minutes of ice time per night. This gives the 6’6″ defensemen ample time to make an impact. If your team needs help in the PIMs and hits department, there may be no better player on the Canucks.

Zadorov leads the team in penalty minutes with 69 on the year, and he ranks 8th in hits with nearly 20 fewer games played than most of his teammates above him. Zadorov will do absolutely nothing for you in the points category, but if your team is already covered there, Zadorov may be worth a look.

Tyler Myers, oh boy, it feels crazy how easy it is to recommend Tyler Myers in some fantasy situations. If you’re looking for help in the “bruiser” categories, but can’t fully sacrifice on-point production Myers may be the fit. His four goals and 17 points on the year is nothing to scoff at. Myers is also second to Zadorov in PIMS with 59 in 58 games played and is only one of two Canucks to eclipse over 100 blocks on the season.

Speaking of blocks, Ian Cole is your man if that is literally the only category that you care about. At 117 blocks on the year, no Canuck sacrifices the body more than Ian Cole. Cole also has a respectable 64 hits recorded this season as well. Like Zadorov, Cole is not going to fill out any points categories for you, but if you have a specific need, Cole might be able to help you out.

When Healthy

The latest news on Dakota Joshua’s hand injury is that he is out week-to-week. This is a massive disappointment to fantasy owners who picked him up earlier in the season and were relying on his depth scoring and physical play to check a lot of boxes on their fantasy team.

However, if you have a spare IR spot available, or fellow GMs in your league have given up on Joshua since the injury, this may be your last chance to add him to your roster.

Percent RosteredESPNYahoo
Dakota Joshua6.2%30%

Joshua has 26 points on the year, split evenly between goals and assists. Like Höglander, he doesn’t shoot as much as the stars on the team, but his shooting percentage is still up there with the best, sitting at 18.8%.

Beyond the points production, Joshua also has an impressive physical side. Even since missing a few games due to injury, Joshua is still the leader in hits at 195. J.T. Miller holds the two spot in this category with 146 hits to his name.

Joshua has been a force and a difference-maker for the Canucks this year, if he’s on the table in your league, and you have the capacity to hold an injured player, absolutely consider grabbing him.

All There Is

All of the players listed above no doubt have their faults, and there are reasons why even if available, they may not make sense to roster in many fantasy leagues. But the one thing that they all have going for them is that they’re on a good NHL team.

With this being the case, there are fewer risks associated with rostering Canucks players, than similar players on other NHL teams. With a good team, there is less worry about players plus-minus stats being run in the wrong direction. With more talent around on every line, there is also a greater chance that “worse” players are exposed to scoring chances due to the nature of the company surrounding them.

It’s never been a better time to be a homer fantasy GM than this season.