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Left on Read: OEL and Chiasson Surprise + Will the Canucks Ever Lose Again?

Brayden Fengler / April 9, 2022  

Canucks Twitter is a fascinating place, full of reasonable, and unreasonable discussions. However, it is also a loud place, and not every opinion gets a counter, not every witty joke gets the minimal acknowledgment it deserves.

We here at StadiumChinatown.ca have developed this series in an attempt to chip away at that problem. Below you will find five tweets that were regrettably “Left on Read”. These people heard nothing in response to their less than 280 character question, and well that stops right now. Here are some answers to Canucks related questions that were Left on Read.

Ekman-Larson Can Play

Believe it or not, Oliver Ekman-Larsson gets paid $8.25M a year because he isn’t actually that bad at the game of hockey. This tweet is still warranted though because OEL hasn’t exactly embodied that sum of money in most games this season.

However, Ekman-Larsson hasn’t exactly been a bust in recent games for the Canucks either. In his last 20 contests, Ekman-Larrson has earned nine helpers to his name with six coming in even strength and the remaining three coming from his time on the power play. Ekman-Larsson does have a near-team leading record in giveaways in that same time span though, handing out 15 in that stretch, only beat out by J.T. Miller who has 16 giveaways in his last 20 contests.

Despite Ekman-Larrson’s hobby of giving the other team the puck, his plus-minus sits at +5 since mid-February. So even though he’s been proven to contribute to chances for the other team, he hasn’t contributed to too many critical ones.

On the whole, Ekman-Larsson has been respectable for the Canucks, not amazing, but good enough. He’s earned himself three points in the last two games, with this Tweet in question coming after the Canuck’s recent contest against Vegas, where OEL earned two points on the night.

Does OEL’s not completely atrocious performance make him worth his price tag? No. Does it calm any nerves about the cap implications he will bring for years to come? No. But hey, at least that amount of money isn’t in the press box.

Bringing Fan Bases Together

It’s always amusing to see which fan bases cosplay as other fanbases this time of year. The reason of course why Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators fans had all of the sudden become temporary residents of the 604, doesn’t have to do with the Canucks themselves, but it more so has to do with who the Canucks were playing.

Vegas and the Canucks are the closest rivals in the standings from Vancouver’s perspective, so their games do/ did matter a lot in terms of positioning. But make no mistake, Vegas sits on top of the Canucks in that equation.

To Vegas, the Canucks are less of a concern, the real concern for them is Nashville and Dallas, and the feeling is mutual between the fans of those franchises. Currently, Nashville and Dallas sit in wild card spots one and two of the Western Conference, bumping Vegas out of a playoff spot. So of course the more Vegas losses the less Nashville and Dallas have to stress about being dethroned from their current wild card spots.

It’s a reality of sports, but it’s also strange to think that right now, in the Canucks next contest against Vegas on Tuesday at Rogers Arena, that game will likely mean more to the fans of Nashville and Dallas, than it will to the fans where the game is being played.

Brock-Star No More?

There was a time not long ago when Brock Boeser was the hottest sh*t in town. It felt as though statues were nearly commissioned in his image during his first full rookie season of 2017-18. That Canucks team hadn’t seen a young talent like that in years.

It was a relief to the fan base, Boeser was one of the first significant signs of effective drafting in the Benning era. However, the next season came with it Elias Pettersson, and well, Boeser has never quite been as admired since. He hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth, he’s continued to have respectable seasons, but of the top players on this team, he always seems to be seen as the most expendable by fans.

Speaking of the player that stole Boeser’s spotlight, Pettersson has often found himself falling out of favour with this fanbase as well. Not too long ago this season Petey was the topic of trade speculation amongst fans. The question was being raised by the media “Is Pettersson still an elite level player”. Now though, who in their right mind would be saying that about Pettersson? 

Boeser has earned this team four game-winning goals on the season, only trailing (of course) J.T. Miller in that category. Boeser also sits 6th in total points contribution on the year among Canucks. Boeser is still a solid player, and yes he has been trending down this season, but betting that that won’t last forever is not a terrible bet to take on the 25-year-old. In fact his performance this year may even help the Canucks talk down his upcoming qualifying offer price tag of $7.5M. 

Chiasson the Dream

Clearly, Alex Chiasson touched some sort of magical piece of sports equipment akin to Space Jam, before Thursdays’ game against Arizona. Chiasson had two goals and one assist with four shots on net. Making his shooting percentage for that game equal to a coin flip every time he shot the puck. 

For whatever reason Chiasson was electric out there with Petey during their deployment together. What’s interesting is that Chiasson was 13th out of 18 on the Canucks roster in terms of TOI last night. He was deployed for 15:51 on the evening, yet his impact was felt throughout the whole 60. However, I wouldn’t go out and buy a Chiasson jersey just yet. Maybe there was a little something to Travis Green’s fondness for him after all, there is clearly some “there there”. 

But like anything in sports, it’s not about the there being there when it’s there, it’s about the there being there and there and there, night after night after night (are you still there?). Chiasson has not demonstrated a level of consistency anywhere close to his performance in the desert this season.

Alex currently sits with 16 points in 59 games with the Canucks, a point total that he earned last year in 45 games in Edmonton. Even though he had a good night recently, Chiasson is not even currently out-pacing his own personal best on the year. 

Winning For What?

The Canucks have to virtually go undefeated to have a sliver of a chance at making the playoffs still. I love that they’re winning, don’t get me wrong, it makes it fun to watch.

If you’ve lived only in the moment when watching the last two Canucks games, you probably had a riot of a time. However, when considering the odds continually mounting against the Canucks those games may as well have been exhibition games.

According to Dom Luszczyszyn’s model, the Canucks are the team with the lowest odds, that have yet to be 100% eliminated from playoff contention, as they sit with a 96% chance of missing the playoffs. Their odds are at 4%, all but erased, so much would have to go right for them for that number to climb.

It’s not impossible, winning against Vegas recently certainly helps their odds, and at least getting one point in their OT loss to Vegas on April 3rd makes that loss not as bad as it could’ve been. Yet unfortunately, out of the three teams above the Canucks, Nashville, Dallas, and Vegas, all of them have earned six or more wins in their last 10 games played, compared to the Canucks who have a 4-3-3 record in that time span.

That isn’t even a terrible record, yet they’re still losing ground. It just proves how crushing the odds are for teams like the Canucks at this point in the season.

Read and Replied ✓

That’s it! It’s a trying time to be a Canucks fan right now, so hopefully, these over-ambitious responses brought something of value to the few engaged fans that we selected for this piece. With 10 games left, the finish line is closing in on this Canucks team, no matter how you choose to engage with this hockey club or its fan base, just know we’re all in this together… which sounds endearing, but really I think it’s a sickness.