Jordan Schroeder’s waiver situation complicates Canucks forward picture

As Allan Tung notes over at Fansided’s The Canuck Way, Jordan Schroeder is eligible for waivers this upcoming season. Last year Schroeder was up and down between Vancouver and Chicago, but it’s unlikely there will be any flights to Utica in his future—and not just because there are no flights from Vancouver to Utica offered by any airline.

This throws a small wrench into the situation of what to do about the Canucks’ 13th forward. Schroeder borders on being a “ANHL” player, equivalent to baseball’s AAAA, a player deemed to be a star in the minors but not quite there at the top level. Since he’ll be just 23 at the start of the season, it’s unlikely that the Canucks will leave him open to the waiver wire.

I commented to David Ebner of the Globe after Mike Gillis’ presser that it sounded that Schroeder was potentially on the trade block, and I’m a little surprised that the team has kept him around. Frankly, he’s a player that was 9th out of 12 Canuck forwards in points per 60 minutes last season, dead-last in individual shots per 60 minutes and ahead of only Andrew Ebbett in goals. He put together a plus Corsi season, but was a negative Relative Corsi despite having a 60.2% offensive zone starting rate. Part of the problem was a variety of linemates and half of them weren’t very much use, but his 2013 season doesn’t scream “deserves a roster spot before training camp opens”.

The problem is that the Canucks’ should-be 14th forward is waiver-eligible, and poor decision-making on the part of the Canucks by retaining the services of both Dale Weise and Tom Sestito means that there isn’t a lot of space for camp battles. Mike Gillis talked about the importance of having a clear roster spot for a battle by one of the rookies.

Even accounting David Booth’s injury, the Canucks will start the season with a clear nine forwards on the roster: Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Jannik Hansen, Brad Richardson, Zack Kassian and Dale Weise.

Tom Sestito can be pencilled in as the 13th forward, and I have to imagine that either Mike Santorelli or Benn Ferriero will be given a look. That’s ten and eleven. Is Schroeder number 12? What happens when Booth returns?

Somewhere the team is missing a centreman. Unless John Tortorella is fine replacing his 6’7″ Brian Boyle with a 5’9″ Jordan Schroeder or a Brad Richardson that doesn’t take faceoffs, the Canucks are clearly short one guy somewhere on the roster.

On defence the picture isn’t as bleak. The Canucks should be fine going into the season with their six signed defencemen. Frankie Corrado and Yannick Weber are a fine-enough bottom pairing in the absence of Chris Tanev. If the team sticks to their guns and get Tanev for cheap (I had him pegged at $1.2-million in the Grabovski post, which in some people’s opinion was way too low. These must be the same people that think Tanev is secretly Nick Leddy in disguise, but I can assure you that isn’t the case) there’s enough cap space for another forward somewhere on the roster.

The Canucks need a lot of games from Booth this year and a turnaround season for Higgins, who had a minus-11.5 Relative Corsi last season and suffered as a play-driver. More importantly, they need some sort of injection of offence, and I find it hard to believe that’s going to come from Santorelli. Zack Kassian’s closest comparables range from Jiri Novotny to Nick Bonino to Tim Kennedy, and while there’s the occasional Scott Hartnell in the group, the list isn’t exactly full of impact NHL players. The Canucks need Kassian to be an outlier, which isn’t something to count on, or they need Schroeder to be an outlier, but the view of those two as legitimate “prospects” dwindles every day.

So many things have to go “right” for the team at this point and I just don’t see the team being an offensive powerhouse (they’ll be more than fine defensively to compete for a shot at the 2013 playoffs) but there’s some empty cap space that should be used somewhere.

It’s going to be weird to find the odd man out. Torts didn’t use his fourth line much in New York, so I’d think that Weise and Sestito’s roster spots are secure. Schroeder is in place, as is Kassian. Is there a trade on the horizon? The team simply can’t run with the same forward crew as last year that was 19th in the league in scoring.

So, uh, that’s where we are today. The London Knights seem to think there’s just a 70% chance that the team will get Bo Horvat or Max Domi back to their team, but in the case of Horvat the real figure likely has three digits. There’s just no roster space on this team for upgrades, even if there is some available cap space.

  • 72minutes

    So why couldn’t Weise or Sesito be sent down and have one of them be risked being picked up on waivers, I hardly think having depth at camp is a poor decision. They have NHL experience and in all likely hood all 3 Weise, Sesito, and Schroeder would make the team regardless. I think you need to stop looking at corsi cause it doesnt give you a true look at a player who is developing, players develop at different rates in different situations with different coaches.

    • 72minutes

      I don’t think the they are redundant at all, Weise has a much more complete game who just happens to be willing to fight. But for some reason people seem to label him as a enforcer.

      Sestito has size and is willing to fight but can’t skate well enough to contribute on the ice, he doesn’t hit effectively, doesn’t kill penalties and is not good in his own zone. If we had Sestito/ and one of Mayers/Boulton/Bordeleau/Mcgratten then yes I would agree its redundant but Sestito will sit a large portion of games and Weise will play most the games.

  • 72minutes

    Cam I agree with the top 9 you have listed but I think one of Ferriero or Santorelli will be given one of those spots not both as you have suggested. The other will be sent to the minors and if lost through waivers it won’t be the end of the world.

    That leaves Schroeder and Sestito who IMO will stick with the big club for a total of 13 forwards. That leaves one spot available for one of Lain,Horvat,Gaunce, or a UFA Centre.

    Schroeder, Sestito and Santorelli will rotate in and out of the line-up. I hope that Schroeder proves that he is ready for the NHL as he needs to play to improve but because of his waiver eligibility, there is a chance he ends up sitting for periods of time in the pressbox.

    This of course is based on the assumption that the Canucks go with 14 forwards and 7 D.

  • 72minutes

    “I commented to David Ebner of the Globe after Mike Gillis’ presser that it sounded that Schroeder was potentially on the trade block, and I’m a little surprised that the team has kept him around.”

    How much trade value can Schroeder possibly have?

    If he can’t crack this group of forwards, the Canucks can put him on waivers themselves.

  • 72minutes

    I think Sestito will be ‘Mr. Healthy Scratch’ this year. He doesn’t skate well and offers little in offence/defence. He’ll draw in when the other team has a legit goon on the ice. Weise is a much more useful player; can be on the PK, fast skater and will hit. So not the same player.

    Schroeder has some up-side and last year was an odd season with the short year. Jordan got his first real taste of the NHL. He’s been brought along slowly so I am more than happy to see what he does in camp. I wouldn’t give up on him yet. Also, I doubt he brings much back in a trade. No need to decide what to do with him quite yet.

    • DCR

      One of the potential reasons for giving Sestito a two year contract is to make it less likely that he gets picked up when he goes to the waiver wire.

      Complete speculation, but the implication is that the Canucks intend to send him up and down as they see fit and not hold a roster spot for him.

      (Still a complete waste of a contract in my opinion, here we are.)

      • 72minutes

        Why would waiver wire pickup A be locked up to a multiyear contract when waiver wire pickup B, C or D can fill the same role without the multiyear contract?

        We’re talking about a 13th or 14th forward so it’s not too big of a deal.

        But the 2nd year always seemed unnecessary.

        • DCR


          I dunno, if you believe that Sestito has value to the organization (both in Utica and Vancouver) well in excess of his on-ice contributions (basically nil), then maybe you extend him a second year to ensure that no one else picks him up while he “contributes” in both locations. I’m thinking of a guy like Mike Brown in Edmonton as a comparable. He was allegedly “worth” a fourth round pick.

          Anyways, that’s enough groundless speculation for me, for now.

          • Fred-65

            As long as the contract doesn’t give Sestito an inside track on an NHL job, I’m fine with the goodwill aspect of it.

            Now if that one way multiyear contract actually gives him an NHL job over someone more deserving, then it’s a legitimate problem.

            Albeit a relatively minor problem. The 13th/14th forward competition is going to have a minimal impact on the Canucks’ season.

      • Fred-65

        This makes sense. Although I see him more in the minors with Utica. I’m not sure I’m correct on my interpretation of the new rules but I think you can still bury up to a certain amount in the Minors. So lower end 1 ways like his won’t count unless they are up on the roster.

        I could be way off here but I’m certain somebody will correct me for the sake of furthering the discussion. I’ll save the flamers the effort and point out how dumb I am for not knowing this, but who has time to read the entire CBA? Either way, can anybody save me the time reading and explain? Thanks.

  • DCR

    I really see Sestito in Utica – local boy makes good, face of the Comets franchise.

    Makes sense to lock him in for two years if he’s going to be doing that. Playing in the NHL, not so much.

  • Fred-65

    I want to see what the following players look like come Sept.

    Schroeder, now he has had his shoulder surgery.

    Sestito after his supposed loss of weight to bring more speed.

    Weiss ( I agree he bring some good skills, speed hitting and toughness ) now he’s been resigned.

    I can’t see AHL players Santorelli and Benn Ferriero playing anywhere but Utica. How can you explain taking a run in the playoffs but depending on those 2 players to get there ….yeah right….these 2 are supposed to be better than any of Horvat, Jensen, Gaunce, or Shinkaruk….not what we were lead to believe and how about the face off king Lain in this mix

    • Fred-65

      Santorelli and Ferriero are depth players, I don’t think anyone is expecting them to contribute any more than Ebbett did last season they are bodies who can hopefully bring a bit of energy and not screw up when injuries occur. Having Horvat,Jensen, Gaunce or Shinkaruk sitting around in the press box waiting for an injury isn’t going to help them develop at all.

      Lain I do think has a shot at making the roster as he is a big body who can apparently win face-offs, he projects to be similar to guy like Boyle who Torts. Not as talented on the offensive side but Boyle makes his money as a gritty, shot-blocking bottom 6 C and if Lain bring that type of play I think he could be the 4C.

  • Mantastic

    can’t agree with you Cam about Schroeder being a AAAA player. he was never a star in the AHL but he is a ‘tweener tho, this season should be a defining year for his career.

  • 72minutes

    I’m not really worried about offense because the Canucks are in transition from Offensive powerhouse to a defensive team. Watched a replay of game 4 against San Jose and the turnovers were unbelievable. Torts will have this team playing a responsible team oriented game not the free for all circus that AV had. Depth scoring will be the need, not top heavy 30-40 goal seasons from the top line.

    • Fred-65

      “I’m not really worried about offense because the Canucks are in transition from Offensive powerhouse to a defensive team.”

      That’s a pretty ridiculous way to rationalize the Canucks regressing back to 2007.

      With many of the same characters only 6 years older no less.

  • Fred-65

    I actually think Schroeder is under valued. When he had Hansen and Raymond on his wings they were often driving the play in most games.
    He showed that he is pretty sound defensively, is an under rated passer, and has NHL speed and skating ability.
    Yes, he is small, and his faceoffs certianly could use work, but his ability to create space with his skating and speed in the offensive end of the ice was impressive. He should have shot the puck more for sure, but a near 11% shot accuracy is pretty good for a rookie who is gun shy.
    A projected 8g 16a over 82, I would consider not a bad first outing.
    Maybe I just like the little guy, but I think there is something there and he deserves a shot to prove it.

  • BrudnySeaby

    @5minutesinthebox. Sure, Schroeder get’s my sympathy as well for making the team and having a good year. Unfortunately, he had an injury and surgery at the worst time in his career with a new coach coming in, having to prove his worth and fight for a NHL spot and contract. After all, he could really have benefited from a summer working on his face-offs to round him into a more complete C. I guess I’ll cross my fingers and see how he does. If he can impress, it will have the added bonus of leaving our “new talents’ to play big minutes and learn lots in the AHL.