Canucks Roster Decisions
One of the more pleasant surprises at Vancouver Canucks camp this year has been the play of 2009 first round pick Jordan Schroeder. After a lackluster training camp last year and an average year in the AHL, Schroeder is reminding people why he was considered at one point a top 10 draft pick before falling to the Canucks at 22 with a stunning training camp.
The diminutive American has one goals and two assists in four pre-season games, showing good chemistry with fellow first rounder Niklas Jensen, and has been turning heads with his vastly improved offensive game while proving he isn’t a passenger in the defensive zone.
The secret to Schroeder’s turnaround? Intense offseason training with Zach Parise.
If the Canucks were healthy this would merely be a feel-good story where the organization and fans smile at his improvement and wish him success in Chicago, but with Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and possibly Manny Malhotra out to start the year, there is room for a few players to take advantage of an extended look in October and Schroeder is in that conversation.
Excluding the three injured Canucks, there are only 8 forwards that are a lock to make the team.
The Sedins and Burrows will return to form the first line, Sturm/Higgins/Samuelsson/Hansen will be the wingers for the second and third lines, and Lapierre will centre the fourth line.
The major role to be filled in October is the second line center spot vacated by Kesler, and while former 1st round pick Cody Hodgson may be the frontrunner in camp currently, there is still a shot for Schroeder to earn a few looks.
The fourth line wings meanwhile are also vacant and while AV has stated his preference for crashers and bangers, the injury to Pinizzotto combined with the lackluster play of Mancari, Duco, and Victor Oreskovich may force Vigneault’s hand.
The depth of the Canucks affords them the luxury of not relying on prospects to hit their potentials in order for the team to find success yet it may be worthwhile to find out exactly how much Schroeder has improved under his training partner Parise.
It’s a low risk/high reward situation in an era where rookies playing above their entry level cap hits have proven to be very very valuable.
At the least, some more time with the big club can only help Schroeder and the Canucks in the future.