Further insight into the Canucks’ goaltending situation and inaction on moving DiPietro as Delia hits waivers
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
3 months ago
The Canucks have solidified their NHL goaltending tandem.
On Tuesday morning, Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced 13 preseason roster cuts. Among those cuts were goaltenders Arturs Silovs, Michael DiPietro, and Collin Delia.
Obviously, this confirms the widely held belief that the Canucks feel Spencer Martin is their best option to serve as Thatcher Demko’s backup at the NHL level.
But there’s more to it than just that.
Collin Delia wants to be here
Of the three goalies sent down today, Collin Delia is the only one who must clear waivers before he appears on the Abbotsford Canucks’ roster.
Delia has looked competent this preseason, and even looked like somebody who could challenge for the NHL backup job, which many — correctly — thought was Spencer Martin’s to lose.
As one reader jokingly pointed out, perhaps the Canucks sent Collin Delia out to Edmonton on Monday night with an AHL squad defending him from one of the best forward groups in the league as a means of warding off any team who may be interested in claiming him.
In reality, the Canucks would love to keep Delia as a depth option, and both the player and the club are hoping Delia can have Martin-like success out in Abbotsford this season working with the Canucks’ goaltending coaches.
Speaking ahead of training camp, Delia was upfront about his reasoning for signing in Vancouver.
To work with Ian Clark.
Clark, along with his protegé — a sharp goaltending mind in his own right, Marko Torenius — sold Delia on what they were selling in Vancouver early on.
“We had a pretty lengthy video chat before I got here,” said Delia of his early conversations with Ian Clark. “Probably shortly after I signed, and he just pretty much said ‘you’re gonna be excited to come to the rink every day because you’re gonna feel it in your body, you’re gonna grow and you’re gonna develop, and you’re gonna push yourself.’
“That’s something that I can say I didn’t really have the same feeling of in Chicago.
“I was super grateful for my time in Chicago. But I think just right off the bat, when you establish that culture, that life culture, you’re thinking more holistically about who you want to be, not only as a goalie, but as a person. And they’re not always separate — hockey and regular life.
“Some of the things that I’m talking about with Clarkie — like I’m finding myself just throughout the day thinking differently about certain things in my life. It’s like, lifestyle changes. He’s not just a goalie coach, he’s also affecting the whole athlete.”
On the ice, Delia is almost reteaching himself the position, as the things he’s learning from Clark are quite different from what he learned during his time in Chicago.
“It’s almost like I’m like ‘okay, you want me to do what?!’ at first, then you need to shake it off and get out of that shock and awe phase, and just being like, ‘okay, blank slate, let’s start writing this book,” explained Delia. “It’s hard to strip it all back, too, it also requires a lot of work like, personally, to kind of check your ego at the door and not have any doubt — just do what he says, like, try it with all conviction and belief, because that’s the only way you’re really going to make strides.”
Delia even sees similarities between he and Martin’s playstyles — a view shared by Clark — which gives him hope that he can put it all together this season and earn himself a regular NHL job in the near future.
“I remember just playing against him and knowing his game, and then seeing him play in the NHL and being like, okay, this is a completely different goalie,” Delia said of Martin. “There’s things here that weren’t there previously. Proof of concept, you know? He applied himself, was super disciplined, got rewarded for it, and I plan to do the same thing in my own way.
“We have our own idiosyncrasies and whatnot, but I think holistically, we have a similar way that we play. Talking to Clarkie, he was like, ‘yeah, like you and Spencer, you shuffle way too much when you’re low, you’re really wide, you shuffle way too much. We brought Spencer’s stance and and you can still shuffle, but you’re more efficient, you’re quicker, and you’re lighter on your feet.'”
Even though he’s heading to Abbotsford, there’s a good chance that Delia is keeping his fingers crossed just as much as the Canucks are that he goes unclaimed on Wednesday morning so that he can continue the process of revitalizing and bringing almost an entirely new structure into his game this season.
So that’s the Delia angle.
Clarity on Canucks’ inaction on Michael DiPietro trade
During the offseason, Michael DiPietro requested a trade out of Vancouver. The Canucks were willing to honour that request, even agreeing to give DiPietro’s agent permission to talk with other teams to help facilitate a trade.
But yet here we are, just a week before the season, and Michael DiPietro remains a Vancouver Canuck.
Well, an Abbotsford Canuck, for now.
Some were confused why DiPietro wasn’t moved by the Canucks this offseason, but today’s waiver events provide some clarity.
NHL teams have been active in claiming goaltenders this fall, with Jonas Johansson going from the Colorado Avalanche to the Arizona Coyotes and, just yesterday, Magnus Hellberg transferring from the Seattle Kraken to the Ottawa Senators.
If a team claims Delia, the Canucks don’t want to be caught in a position where they’re lacking goaltending depth on short notice.
If the Canucks had moved DiPietro this past offseason and Delia were claimed on waivers, it would leave them with just young Arturs Silovs to man the crease in Abbotsford with no backup in sight.
The other factor to consider is that if trade packages for DiPietro aren’t sufficient — sources have suggested they’ve been everything but — then the Canucks simply aren’t going to drain their goaltending depth pipeline for no reason.
The best case scenario for the Canucks is that Delia clears waivers tomorrow and gets to pick up where he left off — a strong training camp that had Delia feeling motivated and excited for his future under the guidance of Ian Clark.
At that point, maybe the Canucks will be a little bit more open to the idea of trading DiPietro, as Allvin made it clear the organization doesn’t plan on having three goalies out in Abbotsford like they did last year.
We’ll be sure to update you tomorrow morning as to whether or not Delia has been picked up by another team.
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