The Vancouver Canucks power play is getting a few new faces this season. J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland and Tyler Myers will all get time on a man advantage that has fluctuated in recent seasons. Rookie sensation Elias Pettersson certainly helped prop it up last season accumulating 22 power-play points (10 goals, 12 assists). It still felt like it was missing something. Miller, Ferland, and Myers will help, but the real difference-maker is the addition of Quinn Hughes to the number one unit. Here are the formations the Canucks could throw over the boards when they get on the man advantage this season.
Canucks Power Play Units
PP1: Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Micheal Ferland, Quinn Hughes
This unit has the makings of a number one power play in the NHL. Pettersson drives the right side with his creativity, accurate wrist shot and one-timer. Brock Boeser resumes his role as the one-time threat from the left faceoff circle and Bo Horvat moves to the bumper position transitioning from his usual net-front role last season. New addition Ferland gets the dirty job in front of the net providing screens and deflections.
Hughes is the wild card of this unit. You can call him the missing ingredient. He is tailor-made for the power play. Smart and shifty, along with a shot that gets to the goaltender. His ability to enter the zone with control and speed will be key to the success of this unit. Too many times last season the Canucks used the drop pass in the neutral zone. This caused them to enter the zone with no speed, even being stopped in their tracks at the blue line sometimes. This allowed the opposing team to kill 30 seconds way to easily.
If assistant coach Newell Brown gives Hughes the freedom to run the power play as he sees fit, this unit will be fun to watch.
PP2: Sven Baertschi, J.T. Miller, Jake Virtanen, Alex Edler, Tyler Myers
Here comes the hard part, deciding who is on the second power-play unit. Miller, Myers and Alex Edler are here by default, but who joins them? In this option, Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen have been tapped on the shoulder. Miller is the focal point on this power-play unit at center ice. If he can bring some luck from the potent Tampa Bay Lightning man advantage, this unit could be one of the better second options in the NHL.
Miller is also proficient at faceoffs, which can help get possession right off the bat. You can’t score power-play goals if you do not have the puck. Jake Virtanen has elite speed and can be the net-front presence while Baertschi has experience being the bumper forward.
Edler drops down from his usual spot on the first unit and joins Myers to form a formidable duo on the point. They both have experience on the power play and Myers brings something the Canucks power play has not had since Sami Salo, a big shot. If you look at the best power plays in the NHL, they all have at least one defenceman with a threatening shot. If these five can gain some chemistry and score some goals, the Canucks power play will have a two-pronged attack that could be difficult to defend against.
Other Options Going Forward
Those are just two options the Canucks could roll out when they are up a man. For the first time in years, they actually have other options. Players like Josh Leivo, Adam Gaudette, Loui Eriksson, and Nikolay Goldobin all have experience on the power play. Head coach Travis Green could adjust the units based on the opponent’s penalty killing as well. This added wrinkle could be the difference between winning and losing. Too many times the power play has been the reason for a loss. It will be nice to have it become an advantage again.