Possible Betting Impacts With Rick Tocchet Taking Over Vancouver

Possible Betting Impacts With Rick Tocchet Taking Over Vancouver
© USA Today

So, the Vancouver Canucks finally turned to Rick Tocchet on Sunday afternoon. The hammer fell on Bruce Boudreau’s tenure around 12:30 p.m. ET. The fault could not be placed at Boudreau’s feet. This Vancouver team is a total mess. 

This Canucks team stands 18-25-3 with just a few games until the All-Star break. With 39 points, Vancouver finds itself 15 points out of a playoff spot with 36 games to play. That is a lot of teams to hop over and points to overcome. 

Let us quickly dive into what Tocchet and his staff face and what he might bring to the table. 

Crooked Betting Numbers?

Again, the Canucks squandered plenty of leads. That said, Vancouver was a respectable 22-24 against the spread on the season. Mostly, they were a decent bet on the Over, too. At 25-16, it connected at more than a 60% clip. 

One of the biggest problems for Vancouver was the inability to win at home. At 8-13-1, that is unacceptable for a team with playoff aspirations at the start of the season. Teams and bettors alike keyed in on Vancouver, especially with home games. Vancouver lost four of its last five home contests. It couldn't keep things close. All four losses were by two goals or more. 

The last three saw the Canucks get outscored 13-5. Injuries played a role, but this team is terrible defensively. Their strength of schedule ranks third in the league, but 183 goals allowed ranks 29th. Even goal scoring fell off to 14th at 154 goals. The power play dropped below 25% and is down to 23.6%. Vancouver became almost predictable to bet against.

Even More Dire Stats

Over the last 10 games, the Canucks lost their will completely. It seemed gone at times, but recently there was no going back. It is known players will be shipped out. Bo Horvat is already out the door (according to rumors) despite 30 goals this season.

Thatcher Demko has missed the past six-plus weeks because of a knee injury. Some argue he missed the first few months of the season, too. Demko was 3-10-2 in 15 starts with a 3.93 goals-against-average, and a .883 save percentage. This spearheaded a penalty kill that functions at a mere 65.9%. That is dead last in the NHL.

Teams do not make the playoffs with substandard goaltending. Vancouver allows 3.96 goals per game. Only Anaheim allows worse. Goaltending has saved a whopping 33.5 goals less than expected in 46 contests. That is partly why so many Overs were hitting for opposing teams (31-15, 67%).

What Can Rick Tocchet And His Staff Do? 

The answer is hoping a change in voice helps bring some urgency on the defense. With the postseason out the window, all Vancouver can do is play with some pride. Jim Rutherford and Vancouver will be sellers at the deadline. A few pieces besides Bo Horvat might get shipped out of town. From there, Rick Tocchet, Adam Foote, and Sergei Gonchar must inject a commitment to a team game. It got so lost no matter what Bruce Boudreau tried. 

Also, this team needs to see what Thatcher Demko has left in the tank when he returns. Will the goaltender be 100%? Either he was injured, or Demko fell off that badly at the start of the season. Whatever the reason, Tocchet, Foote, and Gonchar need to straighten the goaltending out ASAP. No team can give up that many deflating goals and expect to win or compete. 

Another part of that aspect is short-handed goals allowed. Vancouver yielded nine of those. For perspective, Philadelphia leads the league with nine scored, so yes, the Canucks are at the bottom of the pack there too. This will take lots of work, and tangible results will be hard to attain early. 

Quick Closing Outlook

The Rick Tocchet era begins tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. Then, Vancouver faces new “rival” Seattle tomorrow night in Seattle. After a game Friday against Columbus, the Canucks get more than a week off before heading East post-All-Star Break. That time off will be pivotal not only for sports bettors but also for Vancouver.

Some semblance of systems should be in place after that point. From there, it will be easier to handicap what Vancouver can and cannot do for the final two-plus months of the regular season. 

Right now, betting on them tonight is usually a go but wait. See what happens first. Expect change not from a record standpoint but from a personnel and philosophy perspective.