Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara - USA TODAY Sports

Despite being the Canucks’ leading scorer, Derek Dorsett isn’t getting enough credit

It’s easy to find words to describe Derek Dorsett: heart and soul player, grinder, leader, warrior. Given the events of the past year, the word “warrior” doesn’t even do him justice.

About this time a year ago, it wouldn’t have been far-fetched to think Dorsett’s NHL career would soon be over. Within the span of a few months, he experienced the highs of playing in the league, to the lows of undergoing a career-threatening injury. Even so, he never backed down.

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It’s been talked about numerous times already, but the complexity and seriousness of Dorsett’s surgery were quite scary.

“They pull the disk out and put a little washer with mesh on the bottom, and they gouge out bone out of my hip and sprinkle it in on that little washer with the mesh. They just pry your vertebrae up and slide that washer in and then release it, and once it releases down, they put a plate in and four little screws holding the C5 and C6 on the front side, and after – I think it’s four months – it creates that fusion.” (Source)

I will admit that I was slightly skeptical of Dorsett’s ability to solidify his roster spot, but I am pleasantly surprised and elated that he managed to do so. Not only is he proving people wrong, but he’s doing it with extra kick in his step.

He’s not known for being a scorer – and far from it, really – but to score five goals in eight games as a staple on the fourth line is impressive. Dorsett is sporting a shooting percentage of 35.7%, which is sky-high but obviously not sustainable. Goals aside, the physicality that he brings on a game-to-game basis is unphased. Coming off surgery, it would be normal to see players shy away from that aspect. Not in Dorsett’s case. He’s back and playing the style that once earned him the Canucks’ Fred J. Hume Award as the team’s unsung hero.

Dorsett is the Canucks’ leading scorer, but that’s beside the point. He underwent a surgery that could very well have ended his career. He was a forgotten man after missing the entire season essentially. His rehabilitation and recovery was quiet, which had him set up as a write-off in some books. People thought he was done.

Come the pre-season games in China; nobody knew what to expect – that is, nobody except Dorsett. In multiple interviews throughout the summer, Dorsett insisted that he wasn’t finished. He only knew one way to play, and he would do whatever it took to help the team. He’s stuck to his word, but not with the mentality that he had to do it to keep his job. Whatever doubts there were that he wouldn’t be able to recover – those are now silenced.

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Dorsett isn’t expected to score goals, and providing offence isn’t even a part of his arsenal. He hit rock bottom last October, and his future as an NHL player was in jeopardy. Dorsett battled through the adversity, and not only is he back to normal, but he’s thriving and being rewarded – just like a warrior.

  • Roy

    Good article, and I don’t think it’s unfair to remind people that his shooting percentage is unsustainable given his average TOI, precedence, etc (this makes people grumpy for some reason), AND that this comeback is awesome and super fun to watch – nothing like seeing someone next-level themselves and unquestionably prove their worth in an elite league. Especially with all the doom and gloom to start the season.

    However, the headline is very problematic: if you say “despite [POSITIVE THING]”, then the dependent clause has to be something negative or critical. You can’t say, “despite the delicious ice cream, the sprinkles were amazing.” There is nothing in spite in either clause.

    • Vanessa Jang

      Good point! This really got me thinking and, in my head, I don’t take saying “Dorsett deserves more credit” as a positive because what I mean to say is he isn’t getting enough credit – which is a negative. Poor choice of words on my part, and I’ll change it because I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day haha

      • Roy

        It reads much better now, and it did not detract from a well-written article. Also, to be fair, it’s not like you or Biech (my favourite person to snipe for grammar or style lapses) are asking for feedback. It just annoys me the way an out of tune instrument annoys a musician.

  • Killer Marmot

    They pull the disk out and put a little washer with mesh on the bottom, and they gouge out bone out of my hip and sprinkle it in on that little washer with the mesh.

    Fun fact. That bone transplanted into Dorsett’s spine actually came from Ovechkin’s hip.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Good candidate for the Bill Masterton trophy. The goals aside, I’ve been very impressed by his play. He is actually earning that 3 million salary he is making. I don’t know if his play is sustainable, but I think it is feasible that the Canucks could trade him at the trade deadline and get some decent assets back and off load his salary from the books.

  • Dan the Fan

    I gotta admit, I didn’t think he’d make the roster this year. I thought his career was over. A career 4th liner on the wrong side of 30 coming off major surgery after not playing of almost a year… And the team added more legit NHL player than they lost, he’d have to beat out Gauce/Goldobin/Rodin/Boucher/LaBate/Archibald. I didn’t think he had a chance to even make the roster.

  • TK Smith

    Wow, a positive article that compliments a player for his “intangibles” without once quoting a fancy stat to tell us its all a mirage and he really isn’t playing very well. I’m guessing that we won’t be seeing many more contributions from Vanessa after this heresy. Too bad, I hope that she contributes elsewhere in the Smylosphere. Good luck Vanessa, there are lots of good options beside the arithmetic army.