The hockey world in general, and the Vancouver Canucks in particular, have always wondered how the Sedin twins would do if they were split up. The problem was there was never any basis for making a determination until now.
Well, we’re getting at least half of that answer and we can say with no equivocation that Henrik Sedin can function as an NHLer just fine without his doppelganger Daniel playing beside him.
In the nine games since Daniel has been sidelined with the Vancouver Canucks, Henrik has scored three goals and 10 points playing primarily between Mikael Samuelsson and Alex Burrows.
All of which should come as no surprise at all. Henrik Sedin is an intelligent, highly skilled and defensively sound player regardless of who his linemates are. He’s an elite NHL player and his skill set stands him in very good stead on his own.
That Henrik has remained productive without Daniel has been even more important to the Canucks given that he is the No. 1 center and the pressure to produce is even more crucial given the fact the Canucks have so many injuries up front. Neither Jannik Hansen nor Pavol Demitra has played a single game this season and Kyle Wellwood, Ryan Johnson and Alexandre Bolduc have joined Daniel Sedin on the injured list.
But what is probably most impressive about what Henrik Sedin has done is how he has adjusted to life on the ice without his brother. There is no disputing the Sedins share an uncanny and unique chemistry and they have an ability to hang onto the puck between them for almost entire shifts. You’re not seeing as much of that from Henrik, who has become more of a straight-up center who gets the puck to his wingers and doesn’t cycle as much as he does when he’s playing with Daniel.
Henrik is probably not as dominant a player without his brother and there have been stretches of low productivity while Daniel has been out, but the Canucks have to be thrilled about the fact Henrik has managed to still thrive and put up points.
And that brings up an interesting question. What would happen if the situation were reversed and Henrik was out of the Canucks lineup? You could argue that because Henrik is such a responsible two-way player – and the set-up man – that Daniel needs Henrik more than Henrik needs Daniel.
But on the other hand, that might be selling Daniel a little short. Daniel is a terrific finisher and chances are if he had a centerman other than Henrik who could get him the puck on a consistent basis, he would be just as effective as well.
It also begs the question, could the Canucks ever contemplate splitting the $12.2 million Sedins up once Daniel returns to the lineup? It would spread out the Canucks primary offensive weapons over two lines instead of one and the two could still play together on the power play.
After all, we now know at least Henrik can play on his own just fine.