So Brandon Prust is out for a while. Like, a long while; possibly as long as six weeks down the road. It’s an interesting conundrum for the Canucks; Willie Desjardins certainly likes his recent acquisition, and he embodies a lot of the traits that the team wants to instill in their core moving forward. But this isn’t EA SPORTS NHL Ultimate Team; you can’t just use an injury card and heal a player.
In the meantime, somebody has to benefit from his absence. So, a few of us sat down and tried to decide who would benefit the most. Here are our responses, straight from the Canucks Army Staff Slack Room, with usernames left unedited:
I’m going to go with Sven Baertschi, or as I like to call him, Linden Vey 2.0. You see, you have to earn your spot, not coast with the second line opportunity you were gifted to start the season. I know all the 40-year-old virgin stat lovers will point to him leading the team in possession metrics, but we all know Willie’s too sharp to pay any mind to those types. Maybe with Prust out, Baertschi will finally earn a full-time spot in the lineup.
I would like to think Brendan Gaunce benefits the most from this, as we inch closer to judgement day for the likes of Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann. Depending on which combination of the latter they decide to keep or send back to junior, there’s a huge opportunity for Gaunce to establish himself at the NHL level.
Brandon Prust benefits the most. With 5 even strength assists, he currently leads the Canucks in Points per 60 with a very impressive 2.90, while rocking a 41.5% offensive zone start percentage to top it off. It’s entirely possible that no one catches that P60 number, so Prust can rest for a month knowing that’s he’s on top of the fancy stats mountain. Prust is also on an expiring deal, so maybe his agent can work a little magic with one of those management groups that cares about that kinda stuff. Not only is his staged fights per 60 right off the charts, but now he’s an “efficient setup man” too. That’s money in the bank.