Canucks Re-Sign Mike Zalewski

                                 Mike Zalewski 

The Canucks have re-signed AHL forward Mike Zalewski to a one-year, two-way contract worth $632,500. 

As an amateur, Zalewski played two seasons with the RPI Engineers of the NCAA, amassing 47 points in 71 games. He was one of many college free agents signed by the Canucks under Mike Gillis, and his signing was one of his last moves made by the former General Manager before being dismissed at the end of the 2013-14 season. 

Zalewski was a strong contributor for the Utica Comets last season, compiling 33 points in 58 games and earning himself an injury call-up with the big club. Management obviously believed his contributions were enough to earn him another one-year deal, and a modest raise at that. Zalewski’s deal will pay $632,500 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level, up from the $575,000 and $70,000 respectively that he received on his last deal. 

Clearly, the Canucks see something in Zalewski, who will be one of the many young forwards gunning for the 13th forward spot at training camp this fall. In the likelihood that Zalewski is re-assigned to the AHL for next season, he will almost certainly be among the first in line in Utica to receive a call-up in the event of an injury.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Well, thank God! Someone call Henrik and tell he can retire whenever now with a succession plan in place.

    OK, so I’m completely kidding and fully realize this is a depth signing mostly for Utica, but the front office needs to pick up the pace and figure out a succession plan sooner rather than later.

    Because if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s becoming less and less likely that Bo Horvat has a true 1C ceiling anymore.

    • Steampuck

      Apart from the Ghostbusters, at this point who are you really going to call? Not counting Stamkos, what 1C was even remotely available this summer? To suggest that JB doesn’t realize that the Sedins might retire one day is pretty disingenuous and thoughtless…

    • Almo89

      I’m a fan of internal competition and natural progression to take over the top line. That’s a spot that has to be earned.

      In two years you can throw a dump truck of money at Tavares to fill that spot or trade a king’s ransom for RNH, but I am more excited to see who grows into that spot from the prospects in the system now and yet to be drafted.

      • Steampuck

        I think the general point is that there isn’t anyone in the system at the moment who has anywhere near 1C kind of potential. Someone’s bound to pounce in and say that McCann was that guy, and poor asset management means he’s not here anymore and I’m still bitter over losing Corrado for nothing.

        Picking at number 5 this year was a golden opportunity to draft that future ace centre. But after Dubois came off the board (and I’m not convinced he’s a sure thing), the Canucks picked another area of need. It’s much too early to analyze the 2016 draft, but in five or six years, it will be interested to see where the chips fall. I’m quietly optimistic that Juolevi will turn out to be the right pick. But we’re still looking for a centre. We don’t have the assets to trade for one, so it will mean drafting or overpaying in free agency. If the Sedins continue their impressive form, they’re effectively buying us time…

        • Almo89

          at the moment, sure. At the moment most hockey players are playing golf.

          Potential is a funny thing because it’s hypothetical. You and I could potentially be 1Cs for the Canucks. Er, we’d have to battle it out at camp I guess.

          The Canucks signed Tom Nilsson, a right shot D-man who was drafted 50 spots ahead of Corrado in the same draft year. Are fans still sad because Nilsson may not play the guitar?

          It’d be ideal to get something for every asset going out the door but that is not always an option.

          • Steampuck

            I can say with 100% confidence that I am not the solution to the Canucks’ future need at 1C. I would also be inclined to wager that 1C is arguably the one position most easily identified in draft tables. With very few exceptions (Patrice Bergeron comes most readily to mind), elite 1C players are picked at the very top of the first round.

            Goalies are voodoo, NHL defensemen are harder to spot and slower to develop (though the elite are more readily visible even in Junior), wingers can be a mixed bag. But the C seems to be the easiest position to profile earlier—even if they don’t always pan out (Alexandre Daigle).

            I like Horvat a lot—and I wouldn’t trade him for love or money or to get that coveted 1C. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him take over the captain’s mantle from Henrik in a few years. And while he has shown some scoring acumen, I prefer him as the 2C in the future—playing Kesler’s old role in support of a scoring line. As of right now, Horvat could be the only key piece in the team’s long-term future (hopefully to be joined by Juolevi, Virtanen, Boeser, and Demko).

          • Steampuck

            We’ll see. I’m not sure he’s necessarily a sure-thing 1C. Or no more certainly a top flight player than Juolevi. We might find ourselves exceptionally pleased in the years ahead.

          • TheRealPB

            I don’t know that Horvat doesn’t have 1C potential; after all he was the de facto 2C center last year even if he looked overmatched on many occasions having to do that heavy lifting at such a young age. But he has better offensive skills than some often given him credit for and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take that role and thrive in 3-4 years time. There’s a big difference between first line centers in the league which is why the original comment by BuffaloBillsOfHockey about the Canucks’ lacking a succession plan to Henrik makes little sense. The Sedins are elite talents and it is very hard if not impossible to “plan” to replace them. Is Dylan Larkin an excellent prospect? Absolutely. Are Tatar and Nyquist very good young players? Yes. But are the three of them true “successors” to Datsyuk and Zetterberg? Hardly, any more than Kronwall is a replacement for Lidstrom. Paul Stastny is a very solid player, but he wasn’t a replacement for Sakic. You could argue that the Predators haven’t really had a true 1C between Cliff Ronning and Ryan Johansen, with all due respect to David Legwand. Let’s even take Jonathan Toews — an all-world player in so many respects, but last season he scored just 18 more points than Horvat (for $9.6 million more dollars). This is not in any way to suggest that Horvat is going to be Toews-good. But I think to write off a 20-year-old with the skill of a Horvat makes little sense. It is true that there’s precious little in the prospect cupboard behind Horvat at the C and the second best we had we got rid of (McCann). The general ineptitude of Gillis’ drafting left us with gaping holes at every position which Benning has addressed surprisingly quickly, with blue chip prospects on the wings, goal, and especially on D (which in itself is a massive change from the days that Sauve and Rahimi were top prospects).

          • Steampuck

            I’m not sure I disagree with any of that. Not sure I was arguing that Horvat wasn’t a potential 1C (and let’s face it, your first line centre is only the most capable centre on your roster). I simply said/meant that if we could use him as a shutdown centre with offensive upside behind the second coming of Henrik Sedin, then we can start to think about the Canucks as real contenders again (assuming other necessary parts fall into place).

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      Why do you rule out Horvat becoming a #1 center? If anything, he is far exceeding all expectations that have ever been laid on him.

      How many points did Henrik score when he was 20 years old? Answer: 29 points.

      Horvat? 40 points.

      Henrik didn’t break 40 points until THREE years later when he was 23 years old.

      If you were around then, you would know that just about everyone had written off the idea that Henrik could be a first line player, then he went on to win the Art Ross.

      I’d say Horvat is tracking well. He was a bit over his head last year, but performed well. Will he achieve as much as Henrik? Doubtful, but how about we let the kid develop before we write him off?

    • TheRealPB

      Bo Horvat was never a 1C. 2C was a hope and prayer. I see him as a 3C which is what scouts and pundits had said right from the beginning. They will trade him first,on his “potential”. Because a 3C is easy to replace in free agency or trade and they may get a late first rounder for him.

  • TheRealPB

    Salewski reminds me of a young Fred Gwynne from the Munsters, except he’s a Polock..
    How many Polocks does it take to make Jiffy Popcorn?? FIVE.. One to hold the popcorn and four to shake the stove.