The Vancouver Canucks have few options in the goaltending department with Thatcher Demko out a few more weeks with a lower body injury. It’s up to Spencer Martin to carry the workload, a tall task for a 27-year-old netminder under a ton of pressure and with just 25 games of NHL experience.
The back-up at the moment is just that. 28-year-old Collin Delia has just 33 games of NHL experience and a career goals against average of 3.66. His lone performance for the Canucks this season earned him an unorthodox victory on December 5th against the Montreal Canadiens. After the Habs scored four first period goals, starter Martin was yanked. Delia took over, gave up two goals on 17 shots, but watched his team storm back for a wild 7-6 win in overtime.
That’s the present state of Vancouver Canucks goaltending.
Meanwhile, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out following the 5-1 loss to the Jets on Saturday night that Martin’s not exactly getting a lot of help. Winnipeg had 16 blocked shots to Vancouver’s five.
“You can look at any team, and you have fifteen-plus blocks on any night, that team wins the game,” ‘Gabby’ said. “I didn’t know five was our number, but that was indicative of them getting in (scoring on) the long shots and us not blocking them, but getting in the goalie’s eyes so that he can’t see them.”
At one point, Boudreau considered pulling Martin out of the Jets game with the visitors running up the score early in the third period.
“I asked him,” Boudreau stated, ” and Martin wanted to stay in. A guy that’s been a warrior like that for us, I’m not gonna pull him out if he wants to stay in, but I definitely asked him and thought about it, and not because of him, but because … (the team) … he has been the warrior for us and played every game, it just didn’t look like we were going to be able to catch up.”
Martin impressed last season in limited stints replacing Demko and Jaro Halak during Covid protocol absences and mild injuries. He went 3-0-and-3 with Vancouver in 2021-’22. The organization was very confident with him in his slot moving forward.
Especially with Demko struggling early on, Martin’s role this season with the Canucks is a whole different animal.
Vancouver management’s leap of faith has grown longer.