Almost all Vancouver Canucks headlines for the 2013 season have focused on the goaltending situation, as Roberto Luongo seems to be in top form after it being assumed for the entire offseason that he was on his way out of town once the lockout ended.
The Canucks have a talented offense, with the Sedin twins, Mason Raymond and youngster Zack Kassian, and may soon get Ryan Kesler back as well. In the meantime, the team has gotten a lot of offensive help from their defenseman, including a big overtime game-winner against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
Daniel Sedin is tied for the team scoring lead with defenseman Alexander Edler, who continues to improve in his sixth NHL season. The Canucks have gotten a goal and four assists from Dan Hamhuis, a goal each from Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison; and perhaps their biggest goal from a defenseman this season, Chris Tanev’s OT-winner against Edmonton, which was the first of his career.
With the team getting little or no offense from Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre, Andrew Ebbett, Keith Ballard so far, this added production from the back end has enabled the team to stay competitive so far. Vancouver’s 5-2-2 record has the team first in the Northwest Division, despite a rough start for Cory Schneider and a lack of production from some of their offensive stars.
As the St. Louis Blues showed last season, a team that gets a significant amount of offensive help from their defensemen can be dangerous. If the Canucks can continue with that model this season, they should be able to overcome any goaltending issues that arise.