A look at the rook
After two disappointing games with Andrew Ebbett as the second line center, master juggler and lozenge enthusiast, Alain Vigneault did a little line juggling.
Included in that juggling was the call up and dressing of Jordan Schroeder.
First NHL Game
On January 23rd, 2013, exactly 1,306 days after being drafted, Jordan Schroeder suited up for his first NHL contest against the Calgary Flames. While he may not have scored, or registered any points, I thought that his first game in the NHL was good.
He had a few mental errors, one of which was a holding penalty, but other than that he looked good. He finished the game with 2 PIM, shots on goal and 1 hit. He also won his firs faceoff of the game, which turned out to be the only one he would win.
Schroeder went 1/4 in the dot. He played a season high 14:49 in this game.
Small Sample Size…No Pun Intended
While we’ve seen very small sample of him this season (just four games so far) it appears that Jordan Schroeder has done well enough to impress the Canucks coaching staff, or at least enough until Ryan Kesler returns.
The point is, for a team and coaching staff who aren’t given a fair shake at…well, giving a fair shake to rookies or young players, the Canucks and more importantly Alain Vigneault have really let Schroeder get his feet wet so far this season.
In the four games he’s played he’s +1, registered 1 assists (Mason Raymond‘s 3rd goal of the season against Anaheim), is 50% in the faceoff circle, he’s playing on the second unit power play and is also averaging 13:56 per night.
Not too shabby, not through the moon “we have the next superstar” in Vancouver, but it’s a start, a good, solid start.
The Return of Ryan Kesler and David Booth
We can speculate when Ryan Kesler will return from his offseason surgeries to his wrist and shoulder surgeries until we puke coat hangers, as for David Booth (groin), there is a little more of a timeline (4+6 week), but in the meantime we get to enjoy watching a young player earn his keep.
What happens when Kesler returns?
That all depends, it’s a safe bet to assume that when Ryan Kesler returns he’ll take back his job as the second line center from Alex Burrows and resume playing 20 minutes per game.
This could lead to one of a few things happening: It could push Jannik Hansen and/or Chris Higgins back into the bottom six. Leaving Mason Raymond and Alex Burrows to flank Kesler on the second line while Schroeder stays on the third line and centers Hansen and Higgins.
In my mind, if Kesler returns before Booth, however unlikely that scenario might be, I think it would shape up to something along these lines.
That is of course assuming that Booth isn’t back before Kesler and that Jordan Schroeder has played so well that they’ve forced the coaching staff to make a touch choice and alternate between Weise and Volpatti on the fourth line, all while keeping Maxim Lapierre and Manny Malhotra on the fourth line.
Of course when Booth returns and Kesler, it could throw everything into one giant mess, but, having internal competition, especially when the team is healthy isn’t a bad thing.
Players motivate other players and hopefully Jordan Schroeder is motivated enough to make the team make a tough choice and keep him with the big club.