Jim Vandermeer fights Todd Fedoruk during the 2011 preseason.
On Sunday the Canucks signed defenseman Cam Barker to a one year deal, and in doing so made a bet that we didn’t particularly like. On Monday Vancouver’s club added another veteran defenseman, and a good Western Canadian boy, in punchy veteran Jim Vandermeer. Vandermeer will apparently be on a two-way deal according to Iain Macintyre.
Jim Vandermeer has been working out with the Canucks for months, presumably in the hope of scoring exaclty this type of deal. At this point in his career Jim Vandermeer is nothing more than a depth defenseman, but he’s an NHL defenseman who probably does legitimately belong in the league in some capacity. So that’s good news. Read past the jump for more.
One thing that Jim Vandermeer will bring to Vancouver’s blue-line is "toughness" and the ability to fight when necessary (Bieksa can fight and I suppose Ballard can here and there – not that it really matters). Over the past two seasons Vandermeer has racked up a 3-3-3 record in regular season fights according to the good voters at HockeyFights.com. None of the old wives tales about having an enforcer on the ice helping you win games or protecting your best players from injury are true, of course, but it’s something.
More important is that Vandermeer seems to be able to hold his own, for the most part, on a sheltered bottom pairing in the NHL. In San Jose he battled injuries in his short stint, and his underlying numbers were pretty ugly (despite his +3). But the previous season in Edmonton he was reasonably competent (despite his -15) on an absolutely woeful hockey club. Looking over his WOWY’s it seems like he wasn’t too much of an anchor when paired with guys like Burns, Braun or Demers on the Sharks last season; and in Edmonton the year previous it’s reasonably clear that he was a better option for the Oilers than the likes of Theo Peckham or Kurtis Foster were. That’s about what you should be able to expect from a ninth guy.
Vandermeer, at this point in his career, isn’t going to handle tough matchups or log top-four minutes; though if the Canucks find themselves in that position they’re probably screwed anyway. But I’m pretty comfortable that Vandermeer won’t take too much off of the table if he’s called on to fill in, in a limited role, in 15-20 regular season games in 2013.
Update: Here are the terms of Vandermeer’s contract, per Ben Kuzma:
UFA Jim Vandermeer gets a one-year, two-way contract with Canucks at a $600,000/$275,000 US split between NHL/minors.
— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) January 14, 2013