Daniel Sedin nabbed his 1,000th career point on Thursday night, joining twin Henrik to become the only brothers ever to hit such a mark. But it was the manner in which Daniel got his milestone that caught my eye.
Sedin had just 12:34 of ice time in the win over Nashville, while getting three points in the process. Henrik also had three points and played a minute more than that.
Meanwhile, young bucks Bo Horvat (23:28) and Brock Boeser (17:48) led all Vancouver forwards in ice time on the night. That’s how it should be, but give credit to first-year coach Travis Green for actually making it happen.
We know the Sedins are not the top-10 NHLers they were a few years ago, but they’ve proven so far this season that they still have enough talent to be contributors to a surprisingly plucky club currently hovering just outside the Western wild card.
Which is why the Canucks should let the Sedins retire in Vancouver jerseys.
If that means re-signing them to one-year contracts for the next couple seasons, then fine. What the Sedins have demonstrated so far is that they are still the ultimate team players and ego will not dictate attitude.
Now, I’m not saying that you give them $7 million each again next year – we have to be aware of the salary cap, after all – but the twins and the city are such a match that I’m sure something reasonable can be worked out (and knowing the Sedins they’ll probably give a bunch of that money to a local hospital anyway).
And while Vancouver is ostensibly rebuilding, the Sedins are doing their part to help the future. Their most frequent linemate this season has been young Jake Virtanen, a player who had been struggling to live up to his draft slot, but showing glimpses of what he can be this season. Virtanen’s possession numbers are much better with the Sedins than without them, but that shouldn’t be a surprise since the Sedins are the best possession players on the team right now. That’s a huge luxury for Green to have – two future Hall of Famers helping with development while the team is still winning a decent amount of games.
Most importantly, the Sedins aren’t taking time away from the Horvats and Boesers – the guys who have already become the most important players on the team and will continue to serve in that role for years to come. I think a lot of people worried about the transition of power for the rebuilding Canucks, but it’s been pretty good so far.
With center Elias Pettersson ripping the roof of the SHL and defenseman Olli Juolevi bouncing back in Finland, Vancouver will likely have two more hot-shots in the lineup next year (maybe Juolevi needs a season in the AHL, but let's see). If the Sedins are willing to continue playing a depth role on this team as it begins to shape into something potent, why wouldn’t you want their experience and leadership in a young room?
And sure, the Canucks could use Rasmus Dahlin, but keep in mind: the draft lottery isn’t weighted so heavily to the very worst teams anymore, so Vancouver could miss the post-season by a couple points and still win the right to draft the sublime Swedish defenseman.
Someday soon, the Canucks will have a new captain. I’d go with Horvat, though I’m not in the room. But the Sedins – captain Henrik and alternate captain Daniel – have earned the right to stick around. Green seems to have found the formula to make it work and Vancouver’s future is looking decent. So play on, I say.