September 7, 2006

Brendan Morrison

The new Canucks will rely heavily on Brendan Morrison he will no longer be the small guy hidden behind Naslund and Bertuzzi, but are the articles such as “Morrison looks to Increase Scoring” and “‘Mo’ Production Expected this Year

"When you play with those guys, the tendency is just to get them the puck," Morrison said after skating with some of his teammates at a local arena. "Now I might have the puck a little more, get the chance to create a little more and definitely shoot the puck more. That should lead to more production."

So is he right? That is hard to answer on its own, but Morrison has a few times when he played with out Bertuzzi simply because Bertuzzi has a habit of being suspended. The first time occurred early in Morrison’s Vancouver Career when Bertuzzi was suspended 10 games leaving the players’ bench to join a fight. During these 10 games Morrison got 4 goals and 6 assists, which put him on pace for a point a game compared to the 0.611 ppg1 in the other 72 games.

Bertuzzi was suspended another 13 regular season games when he sucker punched Steve Moore. During these 13 games Morrison scored 5 times and assisted another 7 times for 12 points in 13 games for 0.912 ppg1 (again very close to 1), but scored a mere 0.637 ppg1 in the other 69 games. Note this is very similar to the results 2 years prior. (Now whether their line improved is a more complicated question).

In the playoffs after the 2003-2004 seasons the Canucks matched up with Calgary (defensive team). The top line struggled mightily and Morrison got 5 points in 7 games for 0.74 ppg1.

I should state that these differences between Morrison with and without Bertuzzi are not statistically significant (at the 95% level). The differences are large, but the sample size is too small to make any real conclusions, but I will say this is promising, although it only really indicates Morrison will score around 30 goals (as apposed to his usual 20). Naslund should be able to get 40 goals and Cooke/Bulis/No-name should be able to get another 20-30, which results in a net goals for the top line of under 100, but then again that’s not different than what happened last year.

Maybe Morrison is driving this lines bus. If so Nonis made a good decision here. It would be hard to tell because Morrison is always healthy.

[1]. PPG = Points per game.


Vic Ferrari said...

I'm alone in this I'm sure, but I think that Morrison is a better player than Bertuzzi at every aspect except the PP.

Just generally I think Nonis has had a terrific summer, if I was a Canuck fan I'd be impressed.

Jovo was far overpaid compared to what he brought to the table imo. Bertuzzi looked great, but he's always bled goals against when he played vs quality. He's responsible for a huge chunk of those scoring chances too imo. Carter is a replacable player and is asking for far too much coin. He did well to dump Cloutier's contract and he actually managed to get something in return. The Sedin contract was very good from the team's POV. Mitchell is a very good defender though the price for UFA dmen was pretty inflated this summer. I'm not a big Bulis fan, he looks soft and sometimes indifferent to me, but dude keeps getting results against a pretty good level of competition.

And acquiring Luongo and signing him long term ... that's probably the best move any GM made all summer.

All teams are going to have weak spots in their lineup in this era, and Vancouver's is a dearth of quality depth.

Should be an interesting year.

RiversQ said...

I agree with Vic. If Nonis had signed Dvorak for $1MM/yr, he would've been lights out in terms of making good hockey decisions. He made a difficult decision to be top heavy with respect to the cap at the expense of depth. It's paper thin there especially on the blueline, but that's his strategy and it's hard to argue with it.

The problem is that I don't think he handled his cap situation very well. He left himself on the high end without many players under contract for far too long. The result was that he left himself exposed. Everybody and their dog thought that Kesler was ripe for an offer sheet. Sure enough, it happened.

RiversQ said...

We don't agree on Bulis though. That was a player I was hoping the Oilers would target if they were going to let Dvorak go. Markov was the other value UFA player I liked this offseason.