Should the Vancouver Canucks claim right shot defenceman Marcus Bjork?
Photo credit:© Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports
By Dave Hall1 month ago
With the NHL regular season just around the corner, teams are making their last-minute roster decisions for opening night.
On Friday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that Marcus Bjork, a right-shot defenceman, has been placed on waivers. A position that always attracts a few looks.
The Vancouver Canucks have been relatively quiet on the waiver front, mainly due to their constrained cap space. Any addition to the roster needs to be a perfect fit for the team, and more specifically, for star defenceman Quinn Hughes.
Could Marcus Bjork be the missing piece that the Canucks’ defense needs?
In the lead-up to the regular season, indications are that Rick Tocchet appears to be leaning toward Cole McWard, a 22-year-old defenceman with just five games of NHL experience.
Is this the most ideal position to be in heading into an NHL regular season? Probably not.
However, Rick Tocchet spoke to the media today, and talked about his pairings: “We’re not scared to experiment. I don’t think that you have to play with this guy to build chemistry all the time”. He also mentioned, “I think the way we are built, that we are a committee team”.
So, while Filip Hronek is a potential candidate, it’s likely that we see him skating on a skating pairing in order to round out the depth, leaving player [insert name here] to skate alongside Quinn Hughes.
Who exactly is Marcus Bjork?
The 25-year-old Swedish defenceman signed as an undrafted free agent from the SHL in the summer of 2022. With four years under his belt, he was considered a veteran two-way defender and a large presence on Brynäs IF’s (SHL) backend.
Initially brought over to North America on a one-year “show me” deal, Bjork was deployed to the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL.
But, it didn’t take long for him to ascend the ranks.
As injuries piled up in Columbus, Bjork received his initial NHL call-up in early November. In his debut, he made an immediate impact by notching his first NHL goal.
Bjork went on to play 33 games for the Blue Jackets last year, jumping back and forth, averaging just over 18 minutes per night, while skating mostly with Vladislav Gavirkov on the club’s second-pairing.
During this span, he contributed three goals and 11 points, along with 45 hits, 42 penalty minutes, and a minus-nine rating.
Bjork is described as a quiet, yet highly effective defender. Standing as a 6-foot-4, 211-pound right-handed option, he brings a physical presence to the game and isn’t afraid to engage in the gritty aspects of play.
While he may not always grab the spotlight, he simply delivers a reliable and effective performance night after night.
Sounds like an ex-Canuck defender that Quinn Hughes knows well, doesn’t it?
In a league where right-shot defencemen are highly sought after, Bjork’s combination of size, reliability, and effectiveness could make him an appealing option for the Vancouver Canucks this year.
His profile aligns with the type of player we’ve seen paired with Quinn Hughes in the past, and he has shown that he doesn’t require a high-flying partner to be effective; instead, rather, a steady, smart, and reliable player who allows him to “do his thing” at the right moments.
At 25 years old, Bjork is a mature player who can handle significant minutes and adapt to various roles within the lineup. In crucial games where you need Filip Hronek to jump up into the offensive play, Bjork can seamlessly slide down and fulfill the requirements of a lower pairing.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Bjork recently signed a new contract over the summer, securing a one-year, two-way deal worth $775,000, making him an affordable and risk-free option for the next year.
What say you, Canucks fans?
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