Not to be confused with Conundrum
Having lost Samuel Pahlsson to the Swedish Elite League, the Canucks are currently relying on Chicago Wolves’ center Jordan Schroeder to step up in Vancouver to begin the year.
Schroeder made big strides this season, reaching career totals in the AHL with 21 goals and 23 assists over 76 games played; however replacing a former Selke trophy winner is no easy task.
If Maxim Lapierre is moved up to the second line to begin the season, the 5’11” Schroeder would be left to assume a defensive role as the third line pivot, presenting another significant challenge to the diminutive forward.
Manny Malhotra is expected to hold down his position as Vancouver’s defensive-zone faceoff ace, but can only eat up so many ugly minutes to support the Canucks’ scoring talent.
Can the Canucks really afford to start the year with Sedin, Schroeder, Lapierre and Malhotra up the middle?
Mike Gillis currently holds a significant asset in Roberto Luongo and should be looking for some form of relief at center to start the year. Schroeder may not be ready for a permanent position in Vancouver’s top-six; however a baptism by fire could be a positive step in Schroeder’s development.
A difficult transition from U.S. College to the AHL has already taught Schroeder what it takes to elevate his game, but at the doorstep of the NHL the stakes are that much higher heading into this season.
“I had a lot of learning to do,” Schroeder told Jim Jamieson of The Province, reflecting on his first year in the AHL.
“Claude Noel told me you’re going to realize what you need to do to be successful. He was pretty hard on me, but I think I’m a better player for it.”
Following a successful season with the Chicago Wolves under Head Coach Craig MacTavish, Schroeder has his sights set on improving his offensive game and breaking into the NHL.
In the meantime, it is up to Gillis to decide if his hockey team can afford to learn on the fly with Schroeder or if reinforcements are needed.
With a premiere goaltender on the trading block and a player of Dave Bolland’s calibre rumoured to be offered in return, the acquisition of another center makes all too much sense for the Canucks, regardless of what hockey history has to say about it.
Lastly here’s some Ryan Kesler Canucks Tweets in the last month. #GoodTimes