Canucks without second line center for another 4-6 weeks
The Vancouver Canucks announced Wednesday afternoon that forward Ryan Kesler will be out several weeks with a fracture in his foot. The injury is a tough break (sorry) for the Canucks after just beginning to adjust to life with the former Selke winner back in the lineup.
Kesler has played only seven games with the Canucks this season after nursing previous injuries to start the year, and was believed to be the key to Vancouver’s mid-season push. With Kesler potentially out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season Andrew Ebbett is expected to fill in at second line center.
I’m told Ryan Kesler broke a bone in his foot against Dallas last week. That was 3 games ago.
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) February 27, 2013
The timing of the injury announcement speaks to just how extremely unlucky Kesler and the Canucks have been. As Matt Sekeres noted on twitter today Kesler apparently suffered the injury three games ago in Dallas, only his fourth game of the season.
“He’s blocked a few shots since he’s been back,” Alain Vigneault told The Globe And Mail Wednesday. “That foot had taken two X-rays. He’s been playing. Other than some discomfort he was handling it well.
Whether or not you believe Kesler unknowingly played through the fracture for three games, it is extremely hard to fault him for playing through the pain after already missing the first third of the season. NHL players aren’t always honest when it comes to injuries they’ve suffered, and in the case of a fractured foot the cost of attempting to skate through the pain is minimal.
In addition to Andrew Ebbett, young center Jordan Schroeder will be looked towards to play a portion of Kesler’s minutes. Schroeder played well before Kesler’s return to the lineup, and should be rewarded with additional time on the Canucks’ power play after playing with both units earlier this season.
Jordan Schroeder taking Ryan Kesler’s spot on first Canuck pp unit at practice with 22-33-14-23. Second unit is: 2-5-9-21-7. #canucks
— Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) February 27, 2013
While Jordan Schroeder and Andrew Ebbett stand to benefit from Kesler’s absence, Aaron Volpatti appears to have been left on the outside looking in. The Canucks also announced they had waived Volpatti during Wednesday’s press conference, but Alain Vigneault denied the move had anything to do with the discovery of Kesler’s injury.
AV says Gillis made Volpatti decision last night. Has nothing to do with Kesler. Team wants him to play more minutes in Chicago. #canucks
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) February 27, 2013
Your move, Mike Gillis
Naturally, the announcement of Ryan Kesler‘s latest injury has given new life to trade rumours surrounding Roberto Luongo. While Mike Gillis has made it clear before that he will not cave to make a deal that doesn’t fully benefit his club, the absence of a player of Kesler’s calibre is something to seriously consider. Assuming Kesler is out at least four weeks with a fractured foot, he could have the month of April to get into mid-season form before the playoffs begin.
Is one month enough time for the Canucks to come together as a championship calibre team, or will Mike Gillis elect to acquire another forward to advance his team’s chances of Stanley Cup glory?
The NHL trade deadline occurs on April 3rd this season, exactly five weeks from today’s injury announcement. Until then, the experiment without Ryan Kesler continues Saturday night versus the Kings when the Canucks take on the reigning Stanley Cup Champions at Rogers Arena.