The Keith Ballard trade was difficult to react to. While we acquired Ballard and Victor Oreskovich, two players with high ceilings and glaring problems (Ballard's diminishing point totals, Florida-ness, goalie-bludgeoning and other famed blunders and Oreskovich's awful corsi rating and similar Florida-ness), we also traded away two forwards with high ceilings and glaring problems. So it's a wash. Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner are nearly polar opposites (one big, lumbering, and seemingly no good any further from the net than two feet and the other small, slick and, well, kinda spindly). That said, they both had a lot going for them, and showed flashes of the better players they could be. Here is every goal they scored last season, so as to induce mass hysteria when Vancouver fans realize they were twin Gretzkies. Today: Steve Bernier & Michael Grabner.
1. Oct. 7 vs. the Montreal Canadiens
Bernier's first goal of the season (and first of four in October) is the sort of goal we imagined he'd score on a regular basis in Vancouver. Parked in front, on the power play, he takes a feed on the powerplay after some wizardous sedinerie and puts it into the empty net. Not shown in this clip: the multiple times he received this same feed and the puck turned into a Gingerbread Man and hopped away, laughing.
2. Oct. 19 vs. the Edmonton Oilers
Bernier scores here after a ridiculous giveaway by the Oilers to Kyle Wellwood. Wellwood shows nice patience to hold onto the puck until his passing lane opens up, then center for the big winger. Bernier takes it off the skate, and gets it to settle down before popping it in.
3. Oct. 21 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks
Another power play goal, this one is again set up by the Sedins, but Alex Burrows is the net presence here created unorganized noise in front. He draws some attention, Antii Niemi loses sight of the puck, and Bernier finds the loose puck.
4. Oct. 30 vs. the Anaheim Ducks
Bernier's fourth goal in October comes directly, like the previous three, in front of the net, as he tips home a Willie Mitchell shot. Most of Bernier's goals come from here, as they should have. He was a big body, and if he had played like it every night rather than intermittently, he'd still be a Canuck and this post would be much longer.
5. Nov. 14 vs. the Colorado Avalanche
I want to give Johnson, Hansen and Bernier credit for their great boardwork here, but, I mean, come on. Did the Avalanche players think the puck had gone over the glass? How do you let Steve Bernier go to the net alone? All he does is go to the net. Maye they read that article on Ryan Johnson being the worst player in the NHL and figured there was no way he knew how to center a puck? I don't know.
6. Nov. 14 vs. the Colorado Avalanche
Goodness gracious, Colorado sucked on November 14th. It's not even that they got scored on 8 times. It's that they gave up goals like this one to the Canucks' fourth-line. How does Matt Pettinger give you the wizard treatment? How? In any case, Bernier goes hard to the net and the Avalanche, thinking he's Steve Bernier, don't respect his ability to receive a pass in front of the net.
7. Nov. 20 vs. the Colorado Avalanche
Another great tip from Bernier, this time off of an Ehrhoff pass. I've been impressed, throughout these clips, at how many goals come by Ehrhoff passes and shots from the point. He has an impressive bag of tricks from back there.
8. Dec. 5 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes
Bernier gets a juicy rebound here after some good work by Samuelsson and Wellwood, whose little drop pass by the side of the net creates the chance.
9. Dec. 16 vs. the Anaheim Ducks
Again, it's Bernier from directly in front of the net. I said earlier that he was good at going there, and he was definitely tough to move from the crease. I do wish he got to those rebounds a little more regularly. It must be hard, though, when Henrik Sedin almost never misses an opportunity to put in a loose puck. Bernier is almost always going to look awful by comparison. Still, after watching these clips, it's apparent the Canucks' strategy is to score on loose pucks around the net, so Bernier's going to get heat when he doesn't.
10. Dec. 22 vs. the Nashville Predators
The Glass-Wellwood-Bernier line was the bane of my existence last year. They shouldn't be together. Wellwood needs somebody who can receive his shifty little passes, and Glass needs to be in the press box. That said, this is a good goal that comes on a Wellwood setup to Glass and, as usual, a Bernier rebound.
11. Jan. 23 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks
Bernier's finest goal of the season, and, like all the other ones, it's a rebound. He shows some surprising hands to corral this one and backhand it upstairs. Shortly after this, Bernier's season was cut short due to a sports hernia, and he wouldn't score again. He has it in him to be a good net presence if he can get his hands to the level we just saw on a consistent basis, but if he doesn't, expect him to get about 10 goals a year, all in the way he scored 11 last season.
Oct. 21 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks
Grabner's first NHL comes off a feed from Ryan Kesler. I think Kesler is only a decent passer, but he's willing to take a hit to make a pass, and it creates offense. Here he comes across the blue line and feeds Grabner streaking in. Grabner's shot is perfect and it beats Niemi.
2. Oct. 25 vs. the Edmonton Oilers
This goal is a perfect tip on a Christian Ehrhoff shot and I don't have much more to say. Grabner's in great position and he does a good job tracking the puck.
3. Apr. 2 vs. the Anaheim Ducks
My favourite thing about this clip is the group of Canucks' fans with giant printouts of the player's heads. Grabner's shot is nice, too, as he streaks down the wing and beats Hiller with a wrist shot. Pavol Demitra does a nice job of not being passed to, which was probably Grabner's smartest decision since giving up soccer forever.
4. Apr. 2 vs. the Anaheim Ducks
Another beautiful shot, as this time Grabner comes off the wall and fights off Eminger's attempt to hold him up. To Canucks fans ruing the day we traded this guy: relax. Grabner's got skill, but he's not what this team needed. Raymond does what he does better, and we've got stronger, faster smallish forwards guys coming up in the system.
5. Apr. 2 vs. the Anaheim Ducks
This goal is almost identical to Grabner's second goal of the season, except that the puck's two feet off the ground. His tip here is gorgeous. Kesler's board work is good as well; it's what starts this play. And, of course, if you didn't realize, this is a hat-trick goal. Grabner scored a hat-trick in his first NHL season. Does this terrify you? It shouldn't. Jonathan Cheechoo once scored 56 goals in a season, and now he manages the Langley Arby's.
1st Round PickThe 1st-rounder we gave up scored 0 goals last season, so we definitely won the trade.