Player Profiles - Andrew Alberts

Yankee Canuck
October 01 2010 12:31PM

CHICAGO - MAY 03: Andrew Alberts #41 of the Vancouver Canucks passes the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Canucks 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

We continue our series where Canucks Army will profile various players of interest leading up to the new season.

Andrew Alberts may stick out for a few reasons to Canucks fans, but here's one worth noting: he's the only NHL trade deadline acquisition Mike Gillis has made as GM (sorry, Yan Stastny doesn't even remotely count). He was brought in not just for Willie Mitchell insurance, but as the largest Canuck at 6'5'', obviously his hitting, ability to clear the crease and a relatively friendly cap hit ($800,000 last season) too. Unfortunately, blame the speed in the West or blame simple growing pains, but Alberts didn't endear himself to many last spring. So what happens with the Canucks and Alberts now?

Background

As one of only three American-born players on the Vancouver roster, Alberts played for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL until 2001. In his final year at Waterloo Alberts was selected in the sixth round (179th overall) by the Boston Bruins in the sixth round (179th overall) of the 2001 draft, the same round that produced Dennis Seidenberg, Ryan Clowe, Marek Zidlicky and Jussi Jokinen amongst others. From there he would play for Boston College from 2001–2005 and then the Providence Bruins before making the leap to the NHL in 2006. He was traded to the Flyers in 2008 and though he lead them in hits and played in every single game, wasn't re-signed and instead inked a two-year deal with the Hurricanes last summer. Gillis moved a third rounder in the 2010 draft (Austin Levi) for Alberts in March. He's a free agent after this year and is on the books for $1,050,000, making Alberts the second cheapest defenseman next to Aaron Rome.

In Vancouver, Alberts struggled to keep pace with the speed of the opposition. His worst moment couldn't have come at a worse time: in game one against the Kings, he boarded the King's Brad Richardson and was promptly tossed, forcing Vancouver to kill off a major during a tense first game. Alberts returned in game two and took three more minors, resulting in him being benched for most of the third period. He would gradually find his composure - and with their injuries Vigneault had no choice but to keep using him - but the rest of his playoffs were forgettable and he ended with the 8th highest PIMs of any player.

2009-2010 Stats

Counting Stats: 3g-9a-12pts (1g-1a-2pts with Vancouver)

Quality of Competition: -0.043 (9th amongst Vancouver defensemen)

CORSI Rel QoC: -0.430 (9th amongst Vancouver defensemen)

5x5 GFon/60: 2.97 (3rd amongst Vancouver defensemen)

5x5 GAon/60: 2.67 (6th amongst Vancouver defensemen)

5x4 GFon/60: 0.00 (n/a)

5x4 GAon/60: 0.00 (n/a)

4x5 GFon/60: 0.45 (8th amongst Vancouver defensemen)

4x5 GAon/60: 6.37 (4th amongst Vancouver defensemen) 

Going Forward

We'll need to learn to forgive Alberts for his past transgressions since it would appear he showed up in camp and responsibly outplayed Vancouver's other defensive paraiah Shane O'Brien. Judge for yourself:

“He has played real well,” Vigneault said of Alberts. “I think he has been real dependable, real physical. In Shane’s case, he hasn’t done anything wrong, he has been steady. So there is a good battle there. If you look at it, you have got Alberts, Shane, Rome, all those guys are in a pretty tight battle for that sixth, seventh and eighth spot.”
 
"Played real well" verse "he hasn't done anything wrong." Keep a taxi on stand-by Shane.
 
If Alberts truly is more dependable and can keep his aggressive play in check, he's not a bad option for the third pairing. His size will remain a formidable weapon and, even with sheltered minutes, could very well end up leading the back end in hits. He'll remain a suspect pylon in certain situations, but perhaps being paired with Bieksa or Ballard will help his overall game, allowing him to truly stay-at-home and focus more on shutting down the opposition. The KISS model (keep it simple stupid) applies very well to Alberts in 2010-11 except that last part...I'm not calling someone that large big because I value breathing and enjoying life from a vertical perspective.

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The Yank has been blogging about Vancouver since 2005 and is a founding manager of the Nucks Misconduct community. Occasionally he pops up on canucks.com. Frequently there is whiskey in his hand. Feel free to yell at him over email or Twitter.
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