Photo credit: Vancouver Canucks twitter (@canucks)
The Canucks resisted the urge as best they could, but they have finally succumbed to the inevitable and recalled Richmond legend Troy Stecher from Utica. Fans rejoiced around Vancouver as they’ve been clamouring for this since he was reassigned to the AHL prior to the start of the season. Vancouver’s hot start to the season assuaged some of the Stecher-angst, but their first regulation loss last night has turned the tide. The Canucks need Troy Stecher!
They’d do anything to get him here, so they’re even letting him bring a friend. Stecher has chosen 26-year old right shot centre Jayson Megna to be his travelling companion.
The call ups were no doubt in response to a series of injuries that have suddenly popped up in the Canucks lineup, which has already resulted in the unsavory occurrence of Alex Biega playing as a forward.
With Burrows (neck), Dorsett (shoulder) hurt Saturday and Tanev (questionable) banged up Sunday, expect two recalls today. #Canucks
— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) October 24, 2016
Derek Dorsett took a tumble in Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. He immediately headed to the dressing room and did not return.
Dorsett’s arm just dangling there as he goes straight to the room. I’m no doctor, but I have the internet, and that isn’t good.
— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) October 23, 2016
Later in the same game, Alex Burrows had his poor face smashed into the dasher. He was somehow able to finish the game, despite all the hubbub about the new concussion spotters, but didn’t dress last night in Anaheim.
Additionally, there are rumors that Chris Tanev could be headed to the infirmary. Tanev had a rough go last night against the Ducks, and was belted to the ice on at least a couple of occasions. Known for being willing to take a big hit to make the ideal play, Tanev might have bitten off more than he could chew against a Ducks forecheck that looked hellbent on destruction.
Tanev got tangled up with Kopitar on Saturday and took a heavy spill into end boards in ANA Sunday. #canucks
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) October 24, 2016
A potential Tanev injury opens the door for Troy Stecher, who spent 55 of the 65 minutes he played in preseason paired with Alex Edler. If the Canucks are intent on winning, the ideal move is probably to shoehorn Stecher right into Tanev’s spot on the top pairing, rather than trying to jam Alex Biega in there somehow.
Stecher has been alright in Utica so far. He’s played four games, all of them on the top pairing with Andrey Pedan. Stecher and Pedan also form the top penalty killing tandem on defence, and Stecher is also getting power play time, typically quarterbacking the second unit – though he has appeared on the top unit of couple of times (during a 5-on-3, and when Jordan Subban was scratched). He has one assist to show for his efforts so far, a primary power play marker from setting up a Subban slap shot. Despite the lack of points, Stecher has been the more reliable defender in his own zone, and has continued to handle the puck with poise and creativity.
The Comets’ penalty killing has been abysmal so far and Stecher has been on the ice for a lot of the opposing power play goals, though that’s slanted towards the first couple of games rather than the last couple. Stecher would likely be asked to kill penalties in Vancouver as well, if he did in fact come into the lineup in place of Tanev. Tanev trails only Alex Edler in penalty kill time so far this season, while third pairing right hander Phillip Larsen doesn’t kill penalties at all, leaving a large void. Stecher spent about nine and half minutes on the PK with the Canucks in preseason play.
Stecher has been wearing number 2 in Utica – no word on whether they’d grace him with Dan Hamhuis’ old number in Stecher’s eventual NHL debut. I sure hope so, I’m getting tired of all these high numbers.
Jayson Megna, an offseason signing who spent last season in the New York Rangers organization, has a goal and two assists in four games in Utica this season. He’s a versatile forward that plays multiple positions up front and in all situations. In Utica’s first two games, he played right wing on the first line; in the second two games, he centered the second line. Likewise with the power play, he’s played both wing on the top unit and centered the second unit. He’s also formed a penalty killing tandem with Michael Chaput that is usually second or third in the rotation.
While Stecher is in search of his NHL debut, Megna has already played 55 games in the NHL, split between Pittsburgh and New York over the past three years, including six last season with the Rangers. He’s tallied six goals and added six assists in that time, while averaging 10:48 of ice time. All of his points have come at even strength, giving him 1.30 points per 60 minutes. He also has a Corsi-for percentage of 46.1, and the three forwards he has spent more time with than anyone else are Brandon Sutter (!), Evgeni Malkin (!!), and Tanner Glass. Megna’s CF% would improve to 47.9 percent if it weren’t for Tanner Glass.