August 27 2009 11:15AM
Mike Gillis continues to do things differently; in an era where both the media and NHL GM’s seem to focus on young players, he’s going the opposite direction – and we aren’t just talking Mathieu Schneider. Word came on Wednesday that Gillis plans to bring at least two, and possibly as many as four, players in the process of trying to “rekindle their careers”. From the article:
Gillis also said he wanted young players such as Hodgson, a centre and the organization's top prospect, and Grabner, a scoring winger at the AHL level, to be pushed.
This is a very good idea. I’ve always disagreed with creating holes for young players – if they’re ready for an NHL job they can earn one by beating out established (or in this case less-established) options. Ultimately, the team benefits from strict competition for jobs.
The first player brought in is Dave Scatchard, who was originally drafted by Vancouver in 1994. The combination of a faster game (Scatchard isn’t exactly lightning on the ice) and some brutal injuries (including a serious concussion suffered on a Sergei Gonchar hit) took his career away from him. He attempted a comeback with the Rangers in 2007, but played only eleven games – all in the AHL. He didn’t play last year.
In his prime, Scatchard was a beauty player. Skating was always a weakness, but he could win faceoffs and play a defensive role well, all while adding size (6’3”, 210lbs) and toughness (165 PIM in his rookie year) to the lineup. In 2002-03, he matched his career high in points (45) and scored 27 goals.
Scatchard’s a long-shot to land a regular job with the Canucks, but he’s saying all the right things:
“I think I can play any role or any style. I can hit, fight, take faceoffs, play a defensive role or move the puck. Playing 600-plus NHL games will teach you how to play in any situation. I told them I’ll do whatever they need me to do out there.”