Bubble Players – Who’s About to Burst?

Calgary Flames Olli Jokinen gets thrown to the ice by Vancouver Canucks Jeff Tambellini during the first period of their NHL pre-season hockey game in Calgary, September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Todd Korol (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

This brings me pleasure. All the time.

After last night’s poor showing in San Jose, the Canucks roster situation became a lot more clear with only one-preseason game to go.

So the question, who do you think will make the team this year, and who will be relegated to the minors or elsewhere?

Well, here’s what I think.

Cody Hodgson

Consensus on Hodgson’s play this pre-season has been that he’s just not quite ready for prime time, much like Jordan Schroeder. His hockey smarts are there, but he is having trouble keeping up with the men playing this. These ain’t boys playing anymore, Cody. He lost a year rehabbing this ridiculous back injury and needs to regain that year at playing a year of minor pro hockey to get his game up to speed.

Brendan Morrison

If it was up to me, Morrison would have a contract in his hand. It wouldn’t be a big contract, because the Canucks just don’t have the cap space to hand him big money.. or even medium money for that matter. Surely Morrison is aware of the cap situation here in Vancouver. As Ben Kuzma wrote last night, it’s hard to think that BMo would come to Vancouver and expect a contract more than $750k. He’s a versatile player and has been one of the most impressive non-roster players this pre-season for the Canucks.

Sweatt Brothers

I like the story of the Sweatt brothers both trying out for the Canucks simultaneously. But neither has shown that they are ready for the NHL yet. Billy has shown some good flashes, but nothing more than that. Lee has been sub-par and at times been down-right poor. It’s a bit disappointing but hopefully they’ll get the seasoning they need with the Moose this year.

Peter Schaefer

The other ex-Canuck here on a PTO, Schaefer is unfortunately going to get squeezed out. There just isn’t a fit for him in the lineup. Especially given the fact that the Canucks are dealing with 48 professional contracts right now (the league limit is 50 per club), leaving Vancouver with only 2 open contract slots. Let’s assume that Morrison gets one of those slots. Tat’s leave a single contract slot for the Canucks all season. What if they need to make a trade? What if they need to replace a player due to injury? Schaefer just won’t get squeezed in here. And frankly, he hasn’t done enough to force the hands of Canucks management to really WANT to have him on board.

Jeff Tambellini

I’m ready to declare him a roster player. In fact, I’d like to see him on the 3rd line with Torres and Malhotra, and then moving to the 4th line when Burrows returns. It bumps Hansen out of the spot where most people, including me, had him pencilled in. I haven’t seen Hansen earn that spot, and he has once again squandered an opportunity to solidify decent minutes with the Canucks. Hansen is a good penalty killer so he is certainly worth giving a spot. But I like Tambellini’s speed and upside a lot more than Hansen, and should get more minutes as a result.

Darcy Hordichuk

Waive him. The End.

Alexandre Bolduc

As Richard Loat wrote last night, why is he on this team? Canucks seem to have some inexplicable faith in him. I don’t share that sentiment. Punt him.

Guillaume Desbiens

He’s closing in on Bolduc territory.

Victor Oreskovich

He claimed to have a new-found love and vigour for the game. I didn’t see it.

Joel Perrault

Meh. His whole pre-season has been completely meh.

As you can see I spent very little time on those players that didn’t impress me.  I really don’t see any spots being made to Bolduc, Desbiens, Oreskovich, Perrault, or Schaefer.

Per Jason Botchford last night, we’ll see the final cuts for the Canucks after Friday’s game in Anaheim.