That’s right, I said it. Pavol Demitra revealed on Tuesday that he will likely miss another six weeks with a shoulder injury and what ensued was what can be described as mild jubilation on sports talk radio and message boards. Demitra has been described as too soft and too streaky, and many are suggesting that the Canucks would be better off without him.
While Demitra is soft and is streaky, that by no means is an indication that the Canucks are better off without him. Every teams needs grinders like Kesler and Burrows, but they also need skilled/versatile guys like Demitra. Lets review. Demitra started last year at centre in between Taylor Pyatt and Mason Raymond on the 2nd line. Amazing he kept that line afloat. He also played the point on the power play when needed. When he actually had players to play with at his natural position (on the wing with Kesler and Sundin), he put up 31 points in the last 32 games of the regular season. He only put up 3 points in 6 playoff games, but the Canucks were 5-1 with him in the lineup. And if you need further convincing for his value, consider that he scored an overtime goal to beat Calgary in October and had the best shootout percentage of any Canuck that took more than 2 attempts (including the only shootout goal against Calgary in February).
Yes, I’m aware he makes $4 million. Yes, being out for a bit of time may help their cap situation. But having a skilled, experienced, versatile, enigmatic European on your team has its value.
Kiprusoff still hasn’t moved on this one: