With Daniel Sedin out anywhere between three and six weeks with a broken foot, the Vancouver Canucks needed to recall a forward from their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose.
The Canucks had some options; the Moose lead their division with a 3-1-0 record, and have some guys of interest, including Sergei Shirokov, the talented Russian winger who has three points in two games since being demoted and Michael Grabner, the Canucks’ 2006 first round pick who is currently scoring at a point-per-game pace for the Moose.
Instead, the Canucks opted to call up Guillaume Desbiens, a 24-year old who as recently as two seasons ago could be spotted playing for the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL. Last season, however, the 6’3", 216lbs forward took a big step forward and showcased himself as a two-way AHL’er. Here are his AHL statistics for the past three seasons:
- 2006-07: 54GP – 3G – 6A – 9PTS – 118 PIM
- 2007-08: 23GP – 2G – 1A – 3PTS – 30 PIM
- 2008-09: 78GP – 21G – 26A – 47PTS – 158 PIM
Last season, Desbiens was among Manitoba’s leaders in Quality of Competition, playing against very decent AHL’ers. It was that two-way play that prompted Moose head coach Scott Arniel to recommend Desbiens to Alain Vigneault:
"I talked to (Manitoba head coach Scott Arneil and GM Craig Heisinger) and both of them said Desbiens had been their best player at both ends of the rink. They played last night, and I think Grabner got a couple of goals. But it was only his first game where he played pretty good. And it was Alex Bolduc’s first game back from injury. So, out of the guys who had been there since the beginning, Desbiens had done the best."
Desbiens suffered a broken toe in training camp or he might very well have challenged Tanner Glass for a roster spot. Desbiens played 9:25 in last night’s victory over Dallas, and it will be interesting to see if he can use this opportunity to take another leap forward, perhaps gaining some clearance on other bubble players.