Canucks' Boudreau: Hoglander 'needs to learn how to play the game'

Mark LoMoglio / National Hockey League / Getty

Nils Hoglander appears to be one of the latest victims of the dreaded sophomore slump.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau is optimistic about the forward's future, but he admitted Hoglander needs to become more well-rounded.

"He's got some scoring potential, but he needs to learn how to play the game," Boudreau said Tuesday. "He's still a young kid, quite frankly, and I don't know, someday he might score 40 goals, but if you're going to hover around the 20-goal mark, you better learn to play both ends of the ice.

"As a guy that played overseas, he's still learning that game. There's a lot of things that he could do better, but his natural talent is definitely there."

Hoglander was one of the few bright spots on an underachieving Canucks team a year ago. The Swede tallied 13 goals and 14 assists and averaged 15:27 of ice time in 56 games as a 20-year-old rookie while finishing eighth in Calder Trophy voting.

However, his production is down this season, as he's only recorded 14 points in 38 games. His average ice time per contest is also down by more than a minute.

The analytics tell a similar story. Here's a look at Hoglander's underlying numbers from 2020-21:

Evolving-Hockey.com

And here's a look at this season:

Evolving-Hockey.com

The Canucks have flourished since Boudreau took over as head coach on Dec. 5, posting a 9-3-1 record. The majority of the team's players are playing closer to their potential, but Hoglander's ice time has decreased to 13:20 per tilt, and he's recorded just four points in 13 games.

Hoglander was selected 42nd overall by the Canucks in 2019. He ranks fourth among his draft class in games played (94), trailing only the top three picks - Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, and Kirby Dach.

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Canucks' Boudreau: Hoglander 'needs to learn how to play the game'
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