Farm Puzzle Pieces
The beautiful thing about the playoffs is that there’s no limit on roster size, meaning the Canucks could have a Black Aces squad bigger than the actual dressed Canucks roster if they wanted. Something tells me Mike Gillis has considered this in one of his more out there moments.
The Chicago Wolves are poised to make a deep playoff run of their own, currently sitting first in the Midwest division and third in the conference.
Whenever that dream come to end however, the Canucks are free to pluck as many Wolves as they want to join their playoff taxi squad.
For a number of reasons, let’s hope the Wolves time in the playoffs is shorter than the Canucks.
So let’s take a look at who these lucky young (or not so young) faces might be.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the type of situation that would need to occur in the playoffs for Eddie Lack to be called up and agree to not even broach the topic. It would take an injury, either physical or mental, and to even look it in the eye brings bad energy.
If Kevin Bieksa, Aaron Rome, and Keith Ballard all return from their injuries/maintenance days in time for the first round the blueline will be packed. Of course, Canucks defencemen get injured all the time so it won’t last.
In Chicago, Kevin Connauton has had a breakout year on the backend. He was an All-Star where he won the hardest shot contest and has 13 goals and 29 points on the year.
The former Vancouver Giant is showing that he has the skills to make the leap to the pros but his defensive game has always been his biggest issue.
Could the Canucks trust him to find his way in his own zone on the biggest stage?
Yann Sauve has already had his short time on the Canucks previously so the chances are good he’ll be eating popcorn come May.
Nolan Baumgartner seems to always have one more life left in him, and while Ryan Parent’s comeback chance seems to wane every year, it wouldn’t be altogether surprising to see him get another shot at some point.
There’s a lot of interesting options up front. Andrew Gordon for instance was picked up at the deadline for Sebastian Erixon and has 37 games for the Anaheim Ducks this year.
Bill Sweatt already has two games with the Canucks under his belt this year and the versatile forward clearly has some value.
You also have the prospect duo of Anton Rodin and Jordan Schroeder, two young players who could really benefit from simply being around NHL pros.
Mike Duco and Mark Mancari have already had stints on the fourth line with the Canucks this year and will most likely be around as options if injuries rear their ugly head. Duco’s agitating nature would be very interesting to watch in the playoffs. Would he more Dave Bolland or Ben Eager?
Finally, there’s Steven Reinprecht who came over from Florida in the David Booth trade. The 35-year-old veteran was once the cornerstone of the trade that sent Rob Blake to Colorado and has cup ring with the Avs from back in 2001.
By all accounts he’s one of those savvy character vets and his experience would make him a preferable option than a forward still trying to find his way.
His eligibility for recall waivers has kept him in Chicago during the regular season but again the playoffs have no rules.
Coming to the team soon or new to the team now
We found out this week from the Sudbury Star that the season isn’t over for Sudbury Wolves defenceman Frank Corrado. This week he was assigned to the Wolves. The Woodbridge, Ont., native, who turned 19 late last month, had three goals and 23 assists in 60 regular-season games, he also had a team-best +26 rating.
Today news hit the wire that the Canucks have assigned right wing Nicklas Jensen to Chicago.
The 19-year-old ranked third in Oshawa with 25 goals and was third on the team with 58 points in 57 regular-season games.
He also ranked second on the Generals with a career-best 33 assists. He amassed 54 goals, 62 assists, and 116 points in 118 career OHL games with Oshawa spanning two seasons (2010-12).