Canucks Recall Andrey Pedan, the Obvious Option in Utica

The Canucks announced this morning that Andrey Pedan had been recalled from Utica, which is not the least bit surprising.

Pedan has played 18 games so far in Utica, compiling two goals (both of which have come in the last handful of games) and one assist. He’s been a consistent presence on the top pairing and spends as much time as any other defender in Utica on the penalty kill.

In all likelihood, Pedan is just here to keep a seat in the press box warm, but we’ll go over how his season has gone all the same.

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This move was obviously necessitated by the injury to Philip Larsen, who was sent to the hospital (and subsequently back to Vancouver) after he was rocked by a hit from Taylor Hall.

I’m just going to get on my soapbox here for a minute (as John Shorthouse would say) and point out that I didn’t have a major problem with the hit itself, but rather the aftermath. I’ve heard from analysts that it’s instinct to “defend your teammate” in that situation, but isn’t that the problem? The so-called “hockey code” tells you to jump into a melee, rather than check on whether your teammate is okay, and as a result, poor unconscious Philip Larsen is getting kicked in the head while he lies motionless on the ice, and one New Jersey player even jumps right over him with his skate blades just inches from Larsen’s throat.

That seems absurdly archaic and monumentally stupid to me, and yes I’ve played the goddamn game, for 15 years of my childhood and young adulthood. If getting into a scrum at that point seems like the intelligent decision to you, then maybe you’ve taken a few too many shots to the head yourself.

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Anyways. On with the Pedan thing.

Other Options?

It didn’t take a whole lot of logic to figure that Andrey Pedan would be next in line, so even a simple computer boy like me was able to figure it out.

The Comets actually aren’t short on options for defensive call ups, there are in fact five other defencemen there on NHL contracts: two on SPC’s, being Chad Billins and Tom Nilsson; and three on ELC’s, being Jordan Subban, Ashton Sautner, and Evan McEneny. Being that Pedan played with the team last season, and also that he’s been one of Utica’s most reliable defencemen, he was the easy choice.

If the Canucks need another call up, then all bets are off. I could see them grabbing a veteran like Chad Billins, who at least has 10 games of NHL experience and plenty of games in the KHL and SHL before I could see them trying out one of the younger players.

Jordan Subban is of course the first name that most Canuck fans want to bring up, but I’ve cautioned that call up before and I’ll do it again. While Subban’s offensive talents are dynamic and undeniable (and I do in fact think he’ll be able to translate them to the NHL), his defensive lapses still need work. He’s prone to giveaways under pressure and trying to make moves at unwise times. However, these instances have become less noticeable as the season continues, which indicates to me that Subban is headed in the right direction. He could still be a viable call up by the end of this season, but for the sake of his development, I’d leave him in the AHL for now.

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As a side note on Subban, there’s an argument to be made that he just isn’t Willie Desjardins preferred type of defenceman. He’s a high event player that producing offence while also bleeding it in the other direction. Even though he might come out on top in the end, that doesn’t exactly mesh with the low event, outscore-the-opponent-2-1 hockey that the Canucks have been attempting to play for a lot of this season. Which is why there are a lot of us that believe there’s fire to the smoke that is the trade rumours surrounding him. But I digress.

Ashton Sautner was called up briefly last season, but never played. He’s missed half the season with a concussion and is just getting back into the swing of things, so he’s an unlikely candidate for now.

Evan McEneny has been good for the Comets, after splitting last season between the ECHL and the Injured Reserve. Green seemed hesitant to get McEneny in the lineup at first, but lately he’s been staying in there while other players like Subban, Sautner and David Shields are taking rests, getting second unit power play time, and spending his even strength minutes in the top four with Andrey Pedan.

Anyways, for all of those reasons, I felt that Pedan was the obvious choice to get called up, and here we are.

Pedan’s 2016-17 Season

As for Pedan’s current campaign, as strong as he’s been on the defensive side of the puck, Pedan has been stymied offensively until just recently. Through the first 12 games of the season, Pedan had no points. On November 25th, he scored his first goal of the season and added an assist, then scored again three games later.

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He’s carrying a 44.4 percent Goals-For ratio this season (+8/-10) at 5-on-5, and he’s been scored on eight times while killing penalties, which is tied for the most on the team (he also kill the most penalties, so take that into account).

Part of the problem at even strength for Pedan this season may be a lack of a steady partner, or even an experienced one. After starting the season with Troy Stecher, Pedan’s other side has been a rotation of mostly younger players or guys on AHL contracts, with the exception of a handful of games with Colby Robak and one game with Alex Biega. All told, Pedan hasn’t had the same partner for more than five of his 18 games.

Partner Games With AHL/NHL GP Age
Evan McEneny 5 3 / 0 22
Troy Stecher 4 0 / 0 22
Colby Robak 4 370 / 47 26
Ashton Sautner 2 50 / 0 22
David Shields 1 236 / 0 25
Tom Nilsson 1 44 / 0 23
Alex Biega 1 347 / 58 29

The point here being that there hasn’t been a whole lot of consistency or experience with his partners. Add to this that three of those players are left handed (McEneny, Robak and Sautner), meaning that he’s played 11 of 18 games with another lefty. This has been an issue for most Comets, with Stecher gone and Nilsson frequently injured – the Comets dressed five left handed defencemen last night.

As mentioned at the top of the article, it’s not entirely likely that Pedan will even get into a game when he’s in Vancouver, and I think that’s a shame. I thought he was deserving of making the team out of camp, and I think he’s capable of being an NHL defencemen. He’s got the raw talent, he just needs a little bit of time to settle in. Whether he’s ever granted that, that’s anybody’s guess.

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  • Riprock

    I’m happy with the call-up and hope Pedan gets some ice time. It would be good to see him do well.

    Changing the subject to Subban, with his offensive capability and defensive liability, why not just push him up to a wing and set him free?

  • Fred-65

    Reference players looking for retribution and scrumming around the prone Larsen. Hind sight is 20/20 I’m not sure any of the players were aware of the fact that Larsen was unconscious, it happened so quick, they were looking at the hit. It’s easy to view through a different lens after the event. Why do player do it ….. well could it be because the penalty for these actions are viewed as marginal and not compensatory with the incident …. by the players themselves ?? Did Hall get a penalty or suspension indicating the league doesn’t agree with predatory hits to unaware players….nope he got a pass, Kadri got a pass. How can you then blame the teams mates decide this is in our hands. The continued blindness of these issues are being avoided by the NHL. As a side view how about the NHLPA gets involved …it’s there member that’s lying unconscious on the ice are they not concerned ?

  • EddyC

    I like Pedan and think he is going to be one of our best D in the future. Look at Chara. Big D take awhile to really get themselves together. People have become fixated on being able to get whatever they want instantly. Look at Toronto they got the big fish this year, where are they in the standings? Proves a first pick doesn’t necessarily convert to a winning record. The group of guys we have now on the Canucks and Utica will become an excellent D core.

  • chinook

    If Pedan only makes it to the press box that means Biega will be in the line-up. Which is OK because he deserves a chance too, after sitting so long. Though I hope Pedan gets a chance too in the next few games.

    “Anyway” is the word you mean to use. “Anyways” is not a proper word though its often spoken in slang.

  • Rodeobill

    He brings an edge to the game our team is sorely lacking right now too. He’s fast, he shoots hard, he hits, he scraps. Lots of tools – I was worried when we exposed him to waivers.