There’s a lot of hockey about to be played in Vancouver over the next couple of months, but very little of it will be done by the resident NHL club. Once the Canucks play their final game in GM Place before the Olympics on the 27th of January, they won’t return until the13th of March.
That means the Canucks will play an extraordinary 14 games on the road, and in light of the Canucks markedly worse performance on the road this season, there is cause for concern.
What does the Canucks extended road trip mean for your fantasy team?
How Bad Is It?
So far this season, the Canucks have won 16 of 22 games played at home, but only nine 20 on the road. They’ve scored 74 goals at home (third in league), but only 56 on the road (in a three-way tie for 14th in league).
By simply taking their per-game averages to date, you might reasonably conclude that the Canucks are only going to win six of the 14 road games, and score an average of fewer than three goals per game for a total of 39 goals along the way.
Yet, a closer look reveals that things might not be so bad for any canuckle-heads in the coming months.
Below is a graph showing the Canucks relative win/loss record, where zero equates to playing .500 hockey. Each data point represents one away game (numbered one through 20); a loss moves the graph downwards, while a win moves it upwards.
The Canucks have been below .500 all season when it comes to their road record, however it has improved of late. A turning point seems to have occurred after their 12th away game (played on the 14th of November), and the recent trend, while still up-and-down, has been remarkably better, especially considering that the 18th road game (played on 29 December) was a shoot-out loss to Phoenix.
Taking into account only road games since the middle of November, the Canucks have won six of nine away from GM place, and have captured 13 of 18 points. Not so bad at all.
The turn around becomes even more apparent when you look at the Canucks’ goals for numbers while in their road-whites.
Up until the middle of November, the scoring slope was quite flat; the Canucks earned a disastrous two goals for average over the first 11 road games. However, from the 12th game on, the slope steepens dramatically and the Canucks have been scoring at a rate of 3.9 goals a road game since that 12th game played on the 14th of November. Daniel Sedin’s return on the 22nd of November, after missing 18 games, has only helped this trend.
Your Fantasy Take Aways
The Canucks face a daunting task with 14 roads games to play in a row over a month and a half. And it’s true that the Canucks, while brilliant at home so far, have been less sparkling on the road, but since the middle of November, consider that:
- The Canucks have been winning on the road twice as often as they lose, suggesting that might win far more during their upcoming 14 game road trip than a simple season-to-date projection suggests; and
- More importantly, they have been scoring at almost twice the rate of their earlier road games, and are now averaging 3.9 goals a game on the road.
So while some GMs might be scared of the upcoming and daunting road trip for the Canucks, by looking more closely it becomes clear that the Canucks have greatly improved their away game performances of late, and the other GMs’ fear just might be your opportunity to gain a leg up in your league.
So go get your show on the road.