Aaron Rome was a divisive figure during his tenure with the Canucks, which is surprising considering he is a low-risk, low-event bottom pairing defenseman. Rome was a whipping boy for those in the fan base who disagreed with some of Alain Vigneault’s personnel decisions (namely playing Rome over the much more talented Keith Ballard).
Rome was a well-liked teammate, a hard worker, and a very solid defenseman relative to his cap hit. It is unfortunate how his 2011 season ended (the Nathan Horton hit), especially considering the Canucks were already without Dan Hamhuis, and both Alex Edler (broken fingers) and Christian Ehrhoff (shoulder injury) were far from being 100 percent.
Rome suffered a broken hand before the 2011-12 season even started, and he didn’t make his debut until November. And what a debut it was.
On November 6th, 2011, Rome returned to the lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks.
His uncanny ability to chip the puck out of the zone off of the glass was still there, but that is not why Rome clocks in at number seven on this list.
Cody Hodgson makes a nice centering pass to David Booth, who channels his inner Mario Lemieux to “dummy” the puck to Rome, who has all the time in the world to rip the puck past an unscreened Corey Crawford. Rome is now a member of the Dallas Stars, where he will play a big role with a club in the middle of a significant transition.
Let’s break it down.
Hodgson rushes the puck into the corner, and fires a beautiful back hand pass to Booth, who is loading up for a one-timer from the slot. Rome is lurking in the background.
Swing and a miss for Booth, who has his stick checked at the last second. Rome is still out of the frame. Hodgson has drawn two Blackhawks to the corner, freeing up some open ice near the blue line.
Rome makes his first appearance in the clip. He receives the puck, winds up for a fake slap shot to give the forwards time to screen Crawford. Hodgson gets set up to tip in a wayward shot or pounce on a rebound.
After finally finishing his shot fake, Rome decides to test out his new bionic hand.
He was a bit wide open, eh? Again, great work by Hodgson to lure a check away from the point. Crawford also is nice enough to give Rome the entire net to shoot at.
Higgins doesn’t get over to screen in time, but it doesn’t matter. Becasue it’s Corey Crawford, he gets beaten clean.
The goal kick started a Jeff Cowen-like hot streak for Rome, who scored another goal on November 10th, then had a goal disallowed against Los Angeles before adding one more on November 13th for good measure. In 105 previous games with the Canucks, Rome had exactly one goal (of the empty net variety).
Rome has been a productive defenseman at the AHL level, and it will be interesting to see how his role changes with the Stars. His time with the Canucks wasn’t full of highlights, but he did provide a few of them.