Photo via circlingthewagon.
On Wednesday morning the Canucks recalled depth defenceman Derek Joslin from the Worcester Sharks, where he’s played the past 12 games on loan from the Chicago Wolves. With Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev out of the lineup, and all of Andrew Alberts, Keith Ballard and Cam Barker appearing totally overmatched against the Blues on Tuesday night, this move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Read past the jump for some analysis.
Derek Joslin is a young veteran player – he’s only in his mid-20s – with some reasonable raw skills for a depth defenceman. Joslin is mobile, he’s got legitimate NHL experience and he can put a whole lot of mustard on his slap shot. He’s versatile too and spent a bit of time at forward in his most recent NHL stint with the Carolina Hurricanes, though the fourth line he skated on primarily with Anthony Stewart was one of the league’s worst regular lines. So maybe that’s not a big positive.
In an appearance on the Team 1040 this afternoon, Canucks Assistant General Manager Laurence Gilman singled out Joslin as "a good example" of the team’s emphasis on finding "credible, serviceable" depth players to occupy roles in the team’s minor league system and fill the club’s "9th, 10th and 11th" defenceman slots on the depth chart. So I guess that makes Joslin the 9th defenceman, Jim Vandermeer and tenth and maybe Frank Corrado the eleventh? I’m not sure that Joslin is such a good example after all. He’s certainly no Munenori Kawasaki…
Asked whether or not the Derek Joslin call up should be seen as a sign of impending doom regarding Kevin Bieksa’s health status, Gilman did his best to calm the waters. "Kevin is currently day-to-day with a lower body injury," said Vancouver’s assistant General Manager, though the injury is serious enough that the club worried, "that if someone got hurt or got sick, because we’ve had some players that have had, like Cory Schneider who was sick last week, we could find ourselves up the creek and short a defenceman." Gilman added that he didn’t expect Joslin to be thrust into a role where he playing twenty minutes a night.
The most interesting part of Gilman’s Joslin comments however, had to do with the timing of the decision:
We have lots of cap-space right now, there are no roster limitiations, so we thought why not bring this guy up? He’s playing for Worcester, Worcester is not going to make the playoffs so we weren’t going to be screwing our partners anywhere. We were going to bring him up as a depth guy so we figured why not do it now?"
What’s relevant about that part of Gilman’s answer for our purposes? His admission that "screwing our partners" is a consideration in these types of late season roster moves. You think that might explain why Andrew Ebbett remains in the lineup while Jordan Schroeder stays put in Chicago as the Wolves scramble to keep their playoff hopes alive?
I wouldn’t expect much from Derek Joslin, frankly. In 2011-12 he was one of the league’s worst regular players and posted a 42% scoring chances for rate against soft competition. Perhaps those underlying numbers are a bit skewed by the fact that Joslin was used as a fourth line winger at times, and in fairness, Joslin’s underlying numbers during his time with the Sharks do suggest third pairing competence. Still, I don’t even really think Joslin is much of an upgrade over Cam Barker who has mostly been a pleasant surprise this season (ugly flub against the Blues on Tuesday aside).