Demko Doing Everything and More for the Canucks

Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

It is amazing what a terrific player who has been somewhat injury-prone can do when he or she is finally healthy.

That is exactly the case when it comes to Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko. Demko, 27, missed many games over the last few seasons due to various injuries.

Last season, Demko played in just 32 games due to a lower-body injury. In 2019-20, he played in just 25.

Injuries have not been an issue so far this season for Demko. With him perhaps the healthiest he has ever been, Demko is having one of his best seasons.

Demko is 12-6 with a 2.26 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage, and two shutouts. He is one of the main reasons his team is currently second in the Pacific Division and sixth in the league, with a record of 15-8-1.

In terms of where Demko is, statistics-wise, he is in the top ten in a lot of significant categories. Just take a look at where he is heading into his team’s game against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, December 2nd:

  • Fifth-best goals-against average (2.21)
  • Second in wins (11)
  • Seventh in saves (465)
  • Seventh in save percentage (.926)
  • Ninth in games played (17)

There are several reasons why Demko is off to a terrific start this season. For starters, it is clear that the puck looks like a giant beach ball to him this season.

As of this writing, he has stopped 465 of the 502 shots he has faced. That is a lot of pucks that are being thrown his way on a nightly basis, as his team gives up close to 31 shots per game.

Nevertheless, Demko has done his job in stopping a lot of them as his save percentage shows. While that will be tough to keep up over the rest of the season, there is no reason to doubt that Demko will continue doing his job in terms of stopping the puck.

Speaking of stopping the puck, another reason why he is having a lot of success this season is because he battles every night to stop every puck thrown his way. Demko never gives up on a play, as he can use his athleticism to stop the first shot and second, and third shots.

Another reason why he is having success is because his teammates and head coach have all the confidence in the world in him. In a recent article by Adam Kimelman over at NHL.com, several of Demko’s teammates and his head coach gave him a lot of praise.

The first bit of praise came from Canucks captain Quinn Hughes, who is also having quite the season for this Canucks hockey club.

“He’s our best player and he’s going to have to be for the whole year for us,” Hughes said.

Demko’s defenseman, Ian Cole, also had a lot of great things to say about the man he plays in front of on a nightly basis.

“Thatcher is incredibly mature, he’s incredibly stoic in his approach, he’s very confident in himself and he’s very determined to be successful individually and as a team,” Vancouver defenseman Ian Cole said. “You put all those together in a recipe, along with all the physical attributes of being tall and long and athletic and big and strong and quick, and I know it’s going down the checklist, but he’s got it all. I think the coolest thing about it is, acknowledging how great he’s been this first quarter of the season, how focused he is and how unwavering he is in his approach to the game and his approach to himself. His ability to park a goal or park a game, move on and keep going and then have that next big save. It’s always that next save.

“I think everyone in here has a ton of confidence and faith in him that, hey, if we can do our job in limiting quality chances and taking away backdoors and taking away the things that are nearly impossible for a goalie to save, he’ll make all the other saves.”

Tocchet, someone who should be in the early running for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, mentioned how Demko keeps things simple and goes out and gets things done.

“His game is very quiet, which I love,” Tocchet said. “He’s not all over the map. Our team, we take his personality. He doesn’t get rattled either. There might be a goal, but he doesn’t let it rattle him. I feel that his demeanor is a big part of our team. When we see him, the way he acts, it’s business. He’s a business-like guy and I love that. You see him crack a smile once in a while, but even after a shutout, it’s tough to get him to crack a smile. 

“He’s just a business-like type of guy. I love the kid and he is obviously a hell of a goalie.”

With the way Demko is playing, there is a lot that both he and the Canucks can still accomplish this season, which could mean big trouble for not only the Pacific Division, but the entire league.

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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