March 11 2013 11:15AM
Jordan Schroeder got pushed around the past few games. As a result finds himself returned to Chicago.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
It was only a month that we were talking about whether or not Ryan Kesler might be bumped over to play the right-wing alongside Jordan Schroeder upon his return from his first injury. That's how impressed we were by the Canucks rookie centreman. But that seems like ages ago as Jordan Schroeder found himself demoted to the fourth line, called out by Alain Vigneault this past weekend, and was then put in the spin cycle by Minnesota rookie Charlie Coyle in Sunday's ugly loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Add it all up and Jordan Schroeder has been sent back to Chicago to rejoin the Wolves. He'll be replaced by diminutive veteran centreman Andrew Ebbett, who started the NHL season off slowly but has been lighting it up in the AHL of late per Wolves play-by-play guy Jason Shaver:
Andrew Ebbett has been recalled by the Canucks...he has been great in his games w/ the Wolves. His 10game point streak was snapped yesterday— Jason Shaver (@theshaves) March 11, 2013
Read on past the jump.
Let's start by re-visiting the quotes Alain Vigneault gave Jason Botchford ahead on Sunday's game:
"Jordan is supposed to be a highly skilled player who can move the puck and skate well," Alain Vigneault said. "His play, and he's aware of it, even though we have to hold him back from being over-frustrated, he's having a tough time right now making plays.
"Maybe he's not playing with the same type of players he was before. But that's still no excuse when you have the puck not to make the right play with it."
I'll be honest: I find those statements a bit mystifying. While it's inarguably true - Jordan Schroeder's line with Tom Sestito and Dale Weise were on the ice for a couple of goals against in under 25 even-strength minutes (or roughly four games) as a group, and were controlling only 41% of corsi-events - it's frustrating that Schroeder was playing with those guys to begin with.
Before being bumped down the lineup, Schroeder was deployed alongside David Booth and Mason Raymond and that line was crushing it in terms of puck possession. With Mason Raymond in particular, a winger with whom Schroeder appeared to have some chemistry, Schroeder succeeded at driving play against soft competition in roughly 160 even-strength minutes. The production wasn't there but that's largely related to the bounces (Schroeder has a on-ice shooting% below 5 and a PDO of 94.4 in twenty-two games this season). For all of Mike Gillis' gusto about "designing success" for young players, it doesn't appear to me that Schroeder was put in a paritcularly good position to succeed towards the tail end of his time with the big club this season.
That said, I guess you have to earn your stripes where ever you're deployed. If you're on the fourth line you have to be better than Jordan Schroeder was over the past week. Still, where I understood why Cody Hodgson was used in such a limited, prescribed role by Vancouver's coaching staff a year ago, due to being a defensive liability, it seems to me that Schroeder was snakebit and got a bit of a raw deal.
But that's professional sports, it's a tough business. In Chicago Schroeder will get more minutes and he'll also hopef get a chance to skate with Nicklas Jensen and fellow speedster Bill Sweatt. Perhaps this bit of adversity will help him figure out what the Canucks coaching staff requires of him. In particular, I'd say he needs to up his anemic shot rate and figure out a way of winning puck battles more consistently against larger men...
As for Andrew Ebbett, he's pretty much a known commodity. He can drive play, he's a smart offensive player and he's got sneaky-good hands on deflections and the like. He's pretty much a helpful, unspectacular role player and I'll be curious to see if he gets a look in the top-nine. Based on the performance of Maxim Lapierre of late, I don't think that would be the worst idea...
One more bit of Wolves related news, it looks like Steve Pinizzotto will be joining the big club later this week per Dan Murphy:
Doesn't sound like #canucks Bieksa will play in CBJ. Luongo starts. Pinizotto has one more game w/Wolves before he joins team.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) March 11, 2013