On Vancouver's Center Depth, Steve Pinizzotto versus Aaron Volpatti, and Mindless Panic

Thomas Drance
March 01 2013 10:10AM

"Welp the Canucks lost this guy on waivers, guess we're screwed" - a dummy.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam/Getty Images

I can't remember a more histrionic week in Canucks coverage. I suppose that's inevitable when the team loses a couple of games in ugly fashion, will be without their best two-way forward for another month at least, and waives a fourth liner (who they maybe could've traded for a late-round draft pick, I guess). But nothing we've seen this week dramatically changes my assessment of this club or their trajectory, and the tone of the conversation seems particularly divorced from reality (even by Vancouver sports media standards).

Look, I get it, it's tough to sell papers these days, but here's the thing about cogent analysis: if the tone shifts dramatically from week to week, then that analysis probably isn't of a very high quality. We all know that the Canucks aren't a contender without Ryan Kesler, this isn't a surprise, but the timeline we've been given for his return suggests that he'll be back in time for the playoffs. It strikes me that this recent "panic" is unfounded and simplistic and we may as well address that at length. 

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Grinder Aaron Volpatti Claimed by Capitals

Thomas Drance
February 28 2013 10:55AM

Per Ryan Rishaug, who has spent the past twenty-four hours pumping Aaron Volpatti's tires very publicly, the Canucks grinder was claimed on waivers by the Washington Capitals today. 

Read on past the jump.

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Ryan Kesler Out (Again) with a Broken Foot

Thomas Drance
February 27 2013 04:51PM

It wasn't clear when the Canucks waived grinder Aaron Volpatti on Wednesday morning what angle the club was playing at. The roster maneuver began to make more sense however, at the team's practice on Wednesday afternoon when Ryan Kesler was wearing a boot. It turns out the Canucks' Selke winning centre was injured, and the team will recall Andrew Ebbett to plug a major hole in their top-six.

According to Alain Vigneault, the injury is a broken foot and Kesler should miss the next four to six weeks as a result. Yikes.

Read on past the jump.

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Aaron Volpatti on Waivers, Pinizzotto to make NHL debut?

Thomas Drance
February 27 2013 11:33AM

Aaron Volpatti fought Ryan Reeves nine days ago which is crazy.
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

The Canucks have placed popular BC-born pugilist Aaron Volpatti on waivers today, as first reported by Darren Dreger and since confirmed by the club. The move was recieved with skepticism from the fan-base, partly because Aaron Volpatti is a "louder" presence on the ice than chronically under-appreciated fourth line winger Dale Weise.

Some theorize that the Canucks are sending Volpatti to Chicago in order to call up diminutive center Andrew Ebbett, who has the advantage of being a left-handed centreman. That makes some sense but I prefer to trust Bob McKenzie who suggested that that the Canucks are waiving Aaron Volpatti - who I'd describe as relatively unlikely to be claimed by another team - in order to clear space for Steve "editor's bane" Pinizzotto who is finally healthy.

Read on past the jump.

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Forget the recent kerfuffle, Nicklas Jensen's year with AIK is all upside for the Canucks

Thomas Drance
February 25 2013 01:38PM

Photo Credit: Marcus Ericsson / Bildbyrån

Appearing on the Team 1040 late last week with Matt Sekeres and Blake Price, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis was asked a pointed question about Nicklas Jensen's status with his Swedish Elite League club, Stockholm based AIK. You'll recall that Jensen took a non-traditional route for his 19 year old season, choosing to leave the Ontario Hockey League in favour of a tougher professional men's league in Sweden. This season he's adjusted seamlessly and performed extraordinarily well for a nineteen year old skater in the third most difficult professional hockey league in the world. In 46 games this season, he leads AIK in both goals and power-play goals and is the most productive teenager in the Swedish elite League by a wide-margin.

So it seemed odd that - following a coaching change at AIK - Jensen found himself a regular healthy scratch...

Read on past the jump.

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