Canucks Send Joacim Eriksson Down to Utica, Along with 6 Others

Image via Ward Perrin

The Vancouver Canucks are headed to Edmonton for their 3rd preseason game tonight. 7 players from their training camp won’t be joining them, however, as they’ve been assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets. There’s no doubt that Joacim Eriksson – perceived to be Eddie Lack’s main competition for the right to back-up Roberto Luongo – is the biggest name out of the bunch. The others sent down include Darren Archibald, Henrik Tommernes, Alexander Mallet, Peter Andersson, Alex Biega, and Adam Polasek.

Some analysis on the move just past the jump.

Me too, Brad. Me too. Although I don’t think it necessarily means all that much, as Joe Cannata has about as much of a shot at challenging The Stork for that back-up gig as I do. 

This certianly isn’t an indictment of Eriksson or his abilities, though. He stopped the only 9 shots he faced in preseason action (on Wednesday night against the Oilers), and was one of the team’s shining stars at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton. I knew very little about him as recently as a few weeks ago, but feel much more optimistic about his future now.

The fact of the matter is that he never really had a chance to win the job this season, barring a setback for Lack (as he rounds back into form from his hip surgery). It’s a business decision. Lack is on a one-way deal this year, and will make $850k regardless of where he plays. Eriksson on the other hand will make only $70,000 playing in Utica, and will get some much needed experience playing in North America under his belt. Next summer, Lack will be an RFA, so the team will likely be faced with a similar decision once again. I’d expect Eriksson to have a much more realistic shot at the gig by then.

As for the others, Tommernes came in as our 9th ranked prospect this summer, Mallet as our 13th, and Archibald as our 14th.