My eyebrow was raised a little bit with the news this morning that Sergei Shirokov has been re-called by the Vancouver Canucks. Remember him? Shirokov had some good seasons in Russia since being drafted by the Canucks in the sixth round back in 2006. He made the move to North America last year, dazzled everyone in preseason and earned a spot on opening night.
Fans expected something resembling Pavel Bure but what they got more resembled the second coming of Fedor Fedorov (minus the attitude). Shirokov played only six games last year and was given only a quick look this year in preseason, dressing only twice.
Fast forward to the regular season, Shirokov has been a consistent point producer and now leads the Moose in scoring. While Cody Hodgson was getting all the press early on, Shirokov has quietly been producing at the same level.
What’s puzzling is not that Shirokov would get a call-up given the way he’s playing, it’s puzzling that he gets called up after Alex Bolduc (a fourth liner) got injured. Shirokov would seemingly need to be on a scoring line to be productive. Does that mean the Canucks will boast a fourth line including Tambellini and Jannik Hansen? If so, that’s a lot of skill for a fourth line, perhaps taking a page out of the Detroit Red Wings template.
Personally, I would have expected another recall for Mario Bliznak, who looked good in spurts earlier this year and who also plays centre. In any case, look for Shirokov to have a lot of jump (at least in the short term) in order to try and prove himself.