In a weird twist this season, the Canucks have all 8 of their defencemen healthy (defencemen usually are the most injury prone), and a whole whack of injuries to forward, and then of course there’s Roberto Luongo. The result has been a lot of dull hockey, with the team trying to play more defensive due to their lack of fire power. With that said, here’s a review of the replacements for Luongo, Daniel Sedin, Pavol Demitra and Ryan Johnson (as well as Kyle Wellwood and Rick Rypien here and there).
Chicks are digging the speedy Austrian sniper, and why not? Grabner has been impressive with the big club. He has five points in his first nine NHL games and has been generating a lot of scoring chances. Unfortunately, a replacement for this replacement will be needed. Grabner was lost to an ankle injury that he suffered during the pre-game hallway warm-up. It’s been that kind of season for the Canucks (kind of reminds me of when the Canucks lost all those defencemen in the 2007-08 season and Lukas Krajicek slipped on some ice and injured himself).
Glass has looked good thus far. Sunday’s game against Colorado was probably his best, notching a goal and hitting a crossbar. He’s been pretty reliable, finishing all of his checks and responsible in his own end.
The Canucks’ forward (forward!? Yes, forward) has been impressive since being moved from defence. Vigneault moved him from defence to forward because of all the injuries up front, and must have sure liked him there. He lead all Canucks forwards in ice time in Friday’s game versus Anaheim. That’s clearly ridiculous, but he hasn’t looked out of place at forward (unlike Mathieu Schneider who looked completely lost in his one game at forward… Vigneault clearly hasn’t heard of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks).
Bolduc, like Grabner, has also been injured since being called-up. While healthy, he played pretty much error free, but didn’t offer anything notable.
The “Pocket Russian Rocket” hasn’t been able to lift-off as of yet. In six games in the NHL, he has been unable to get a single point and is a minus four. Disappointing, sure, but even more disappointing is that he hasn’t been noticeable. He has been sent to the Moose a couple of times already, and continues to rip it up down there, but so far he hasn’t been able to translate that to the NHL level.
Raycroft has played pretty well in his limited action. I thought he was unfairly pulled in the loss to Anaheim on Friday, but responded with a shutout against his old team, the Colorado Avalanche. He wasn’t tested a lot against Colorado, but still, I have more confidence in him than any back-up goalie they’ve had since Alex Auld. He should get all of the starts until Luongo comes back.