No success without a dependable fourth line


In my first article back in October I talked about the Canucks bottom 6 not being good enough. A month and a half into the season, I can say I am content with the part of the bottom 6. The third line has been dependable. The fourth line hasn’t.

John Tortorella doesn’t have faith in his fourth line and is reluctant to put them on the ice. I can’t blame him for that. For the better part of the season, it seems like whenever the fourth line is out on the ice they are getting scored on or can’t get out of their own zone. The Canucks best fourth liner is Dale Weise. He’s hurt. Darren Archibald showed more in his 8 games up with the big club than Tom Sestito, Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh have shown in their games, but the Canucks sent the big forward back down to Utica to room for David Booth.

Injuries have forced the Canucks hand all year. They had not, until Sunday, been able ice the line-up they had envisioned during training camp and arguably still haven’t considering Jordan Schroeder is out for the second time this season. Jannik Hansen’s return and Richardson’s move to the fourth line didn’t make a difference in how much the fourth liners played. Richardson has averaged 13 minutes throughout the season; he played under 8 Sunday night against Dallas. Tom Sestito has played an average of five and a half minutes so far this season, he played 30 seconds Sunday. Jeremy Welsh played just 2 shifts in the game, totalling 18 seconds. It’s not a recipe for success.

Like I mentioned in my previous article, teams that win the cup have dependable fourth lines that can at least go out there to give the top guys a little bit of a break. This year’s Canucks team doesn’t have the luxury. Last year’s team didn’t have that. Amongst forwards, the Sedins and Kesler are in the top 4 for average minutes played a game. It’s not sustainable. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but until the team upgrades the fourth line, it will be tough to make a deep run come April, May and June.

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  1. Brian says

    The bottom six is supposed to Help out and score sometimes. They have been scoring sometimes – but the top lines have to score sometimes ,too. Any pressure and they tend to hang around in the corners , have ‘good puck control’, but not scoring much.

  2. The Brown Knight says

    I don’t think our bottom 6 has been too bad. Santorelli, Richardson, etc., are what they are……….and I think they’ve done a decent enough job.

    Kesler and the twins have been cold of late, but they started the year on fire.

    The biggest thing that I think the Canucks need is a consistent second line.

    If Evander Kane is available, do whatever it takes in getting him (sans, trading Horvat and/or Shinkaruk). The ONLY way both Horvat and Shinkaruk should be moved, is if a franchise player is on the block (i.e. Claude Giroux).

    If no trades are to be made this year, then the best thing to do is to wait…………and pray that Shinkaruk and Horvat can become significant impact players either next year or in 2015-2016 while the twins, Kesler, and Luongo maintain their current level of play.

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