Report: Canucks likely to pursue Anton Rodin

Rodin

Source: Vancouver Canucks

The oft-mentioned former Canucks prospect Anton Rodin is currently injured with a skate cut suffered in practice last week. Rodin is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which means his season in Sweden is likely over; although, a return in time for the playoffs hasn’t been ruled out. These developments don’t seem to have altered the discourse surrounding Rodin, who the Canucks are rumoured to be circling the wagons on.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Rodin has seen his name spent in this space often of late. J.D. Burke suggested this prior to the season that Rodin might be a worthwhile gamble and I reasserted this myself much more recently. Of course, I’ve been advocating for the Canucks former second-round draft pick frequently on several different platforms, for quite some time.

Our interest was merely speculatory at the time though, as there was no telling where the Canucks interests lied with Rodin. The Canucks would have to offer a one-year contract and there was nothing that suggested this was imminent. That’s since changed though, as Jason Botchford dropped this delightful piece of information in last night’s “The Provies”:

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.44.21 PM

Excuse me for one second…

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

In Rodin, the Canucks have the ability to pick up free money and that’s always a win. This is exactly what we hoped for when Rodin came back on everyone’s radars.

From a roster standpoint, it makes sense for the Canucks to offer Rodin a one-way contract on short-term. Ultimately with Radim Vrbata, Adam Cracknell and Brandon Prust being unrestricted free agents, the Canucks will have an opportunity for Rodin to see if he can translate his success in the SHL into an NHL career. It does create a bit of a crowded top-nine, but that is something that can quickly be solved by relinquishing veterans at the deadline – a discussion for another day.

If this does happen – which would be an extremely good use of resources by the Canucks – the question is, what can we reasonably expect from Anton Rodin? 

Some comparisons to come to mind that recently made the leap over the Atlantic include Bud Holloway, Carl Soderberg, and Melker Karlsson. All of these players were successful in the SHL before coming to North America or trying for the first time to make it in the NHL. Prior to his injury, Rodin was averaging 1.15 PPG for Brynas while playing just under 20 minutes a game. When he was on his game, he was shooting a lot and driving Brynas’ finely tuned offensive machine.

Holloway was a former LA Kings draft pick who took his talents to the SHL after struggling to make it in the NHL. Not long after, Holloway won the SHL scoring title in 2012-13 with 1.29 PPG at the age of 25. A slightly higher rate than Rodin, but still a comparable figure; to his credit, Rodin was second (by only one point) in the SHL scoring race prior to his injury. Holloway is currently playing for the St John IceCaps of the AHL and is just under a PPG there. He got into one game with Montreal, where he was held pointless. This would be the low-mark for Rodin. If he  doesn’t crack the Canucks roster out of camp, the hope is he would go to the AHL and dominate. The Canucks would be forced to eat salary, but aside from him getting his contract bought out and returning to Sweden, this is the worst case scenario.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Melker Karlsson was an under the radar signing by the San Jose Sharks in the summer of 2014 that paid immediate dividends. Karlsson did come a full year earlier than Rodin would, as Karlsson is five months older then Rodin but had only put up 0.52 PPG before coming over to the bay area. He had a respectable 24 points in 53 games with the Sharks last season. So the Sharks were able to get a middle-six forward, who can play first line minutes, from a player who was averaging less than half what Rodin put up this season. If the Canucks can convince Rodin to make the leap, this would be a safe expectation for Canucks fans. A player who can play throughout the lineup and chip in offensively.

The last comparable is current Colorado Avalanche Carl Soderberg. Although Soderberg is not a very good possession player (43.9% CF%, which isn’t exceptionally awful on the Avalanche), he still has 34 points in 51 games this year after two 40+ point seasons with the Boston Bruins. Aside from him being a centre while Rodin is a winger, he is the most closely aligned to Rodin, having produced an eerily similar 1.11 PPG before coming over. Soderberg was 27 when he made the leap, so Rodin does have a full year and a half on him. This would be a dream scenario: the Canucks add a top-six forward in a ‘found money’ scenario. (Thanks to @jobjoman for his help with those comparables)

This said, Rodin’s strength has been and always will be a concern. He struggled to battle through physical play when he played for the Canucks affiliate Chicago Wolves. There was still the odd flash of skill, though…

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Through watching Rodin a few times this season, he has developed his game to handle that physical play and added an element of escapability to his repertoire. He will find that soft spot in coverage and then bury his chance. If he plays with a player like Jake Virtanen, there may be a match as Virtanen will do the battling, so that Rodin can use his skills to be effective.

Rodin will be 25 to start next season, so he’d slot in on the fringes of the developing youth movement. A lot closer to the nucleus, than away, though.

With all players like this, there is always a level of concern of translating success on the larger ice to the North American game. Players are bigger, faster and stronger here, so time and space are at a premium. Rodin has shown enough sustained production in the SHL that the risk well outweighs the cost of the one-way contract.

Signing Rodin would be a great use of resources. If he doesn’t work out, no harm. But if he is able to carry over his offensive success from the SHL, the Canucks just added a piece without giving up anything in the organization. 

That should always be considered a win.



    • Ryan Biech

      Even if he is signed for the $1.1M range that Botch is talking about. I would still take that $150,000 cap hit if he doesn’t somehow crack the roster.

  • Spiel

    Rodin needed to get stronger. AHL injuries derailed him in his first attempt at the NHL.
    Hopefully he has added some muscle and strength if he intends to play in the NHL.

    The scouting report on him was that he had offensive skills, but also speed and aggressiveness to be on a 3rd line.

    “Rödin is a superb skater with the ability to handle the puck at high speeds. Although he is a skilled passer and scorer, he does not shy away from physical play, despite not being very big.
    – Elite Prospects, 2014 – See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=7084#sthash.0GheM0kk.dpuf

    Hockey’s future said this about him before the draft:
    “Rödin’s offensive game stands out thanks to his superb skating, his shot, hockey sense and puck handling. Usually scores quite spectacular goals and does not shy away from playing physical. Could use some more strength though.He has the offensive arsenal to be a productive player in the future, but has also the fundamental skills to be used as a role- and checkling line player.”

    Could he be another Jannik Hansen type player. Speedy who can play up and down the lineup?

  • Steampuck

    I’m sensing another player like Baertschi and Shinkaruk: are those fair comparisons? If that’s the case, is that a glut of players of that ilk/type? By all means, explore signing, but presumably you need to move at least one of them?

    • Spiel

      Why don’t we see Rodin play first and make a decision then?

      Also, the size *and* playing style of the player needs to be considered. Baertschi looks to be playing more like a power forward, driving to the net on the rush and posting up near the crease to score goals. He’s not big but he’s playing big now. Contrast that with Vey, who is approximately the same size but isn’t playing in a physical manner. If each individual can play with aggression, then they won’t be crushed.

      • Dirty30

        My take with Vey is that he was the Coach’s darling in Junior and now he’s the Coach’s darling in the NHL and neither of them has grown up.

        Vey still makes too many ‘Junior’ type moves … handles the puck too much, skates around too much, tries too many passes and worst of all, is that when he does that crap, Baertschi follows suit.

        Sven is effective when he follows Bo’s lead instead — straight to the net with the puck and let your team mates set up and support.

        I think at times that Willie D believes that Vey will eventually break out and do something, but my belief is simply that he will either play himself off the team or some guy like Seabrook will lose patience and flatten him like a pancake.

        With Rodin, the lack of size, strength and now more injuries, doesn’t bode well. But if JB can do some kind of asset management thing with this guy and make it pay off, then go for it.

  • This would be a very wise move by the Canucks, but if they don’t plan to sign him i hope they try to trade his rights at the very least. That would be good asset management. Has anybody ever asked GMJB to his face or Trevor Linden if they are interested in bringing him back? That would be a very interesting conversation to me.

  • TrueBlue

    Rodin was injured about 2 weeks ago right? And another 4 weeks puts him on the optimistic end of his recovery schedule? Would be really great if the plan was to demo him this year, officially making Vrbata expendable at the deadline. We’d have to tread water for as long as Brynas’ playoff run lasted, but Benning has shown a willingness to cycle prospects on the wing already… why stop now?