The young fella’s on his way back.
Following Saturday’s loss of David Booth and the news that Zack Kassian is battling a wonky back, it was painfully obvious that, barring some trade-based miracle, the Canucks would be recalling a forward from Chicago.
There weren’t many options to be had.
As I tweeted yesterday, the options from the Wolves were hardly inspiring; only Nick Jensen, Andrew Gordon and Jordan Schroeder looked at all like NHL-calibre call ups. Jensen’s case was examined by Drance yesterday, while Gordon has skated in 49 NHL games for the Capitals and the Ducks; he’d be the definition of a replacement-level call up.
But the call has gone to Jordan Schroeder. The kid’s been discussed to death, but to re-cap, we know that he’s a useful two-way player, who has earned some trust from the notoriously-untrusting-of-young-players Alain Vigneault. The Canucks clearly believe in his offensive potential, how else to explain all the time he spent on the first power play unit in his first stint with the big club this season?
In the three games with the Wolves last week that followed his demotion, Schroeder scored a goal and added three assists. He’s found that scoring touch that had deserted him in the latter days of his time in Vancouver, which saw him dropped down the pecking order.
Now he’s back, but will he slot back into a second line spot, where he spent most of the season so far? Andrew Ebbett has had one good game and one middling game since he was brought back up. He’s got decent tools, but as was written before the season, you’d still rather see Schroeder in the second line spot because that would mean he’s thriving.
The debate is complicated by Kassian’s wonky back. Booth being out means that Raymond, Hansen and Higgins remain to fill the second- and third-line winger spots. Does that fourth spot get shifted to Ebbett, with Schroeder moving back into the middle? Ebbett’s struggled in the faceoff dot – winning only 40 per cent of his draws – so you could see that happening, but then again, at just 44 per cent, Schroeder hasn’t been much better.
No matter where Schroeder and Ebbett end up, we can count on seeing a whole lot more of Max Lapierre, the only healthy Canucks centre above 50 per cent on his faceoffs. Vigneault trusts Lapierre to get the job done, even if he may not have the offensive prowess of either Ebbett or Schroeder.
Schroeder must be an two-way influence to stick in the NHL. He’s shown flashes of that ability; he needs to find that energy all the time.