Breaking News Adrian Peterson must stay away from Vikings until legal issues are resolved ×

Feb 9, 2012; St. Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth (7) looks on during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The Canucks defeated the Wild 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks' David Booth Hopes to Play Against Blackhawks

Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth says he is close to returning and expects to play during the team’s upcoming four-game road trip.

The Canucks will be in Chicago on Tuesday, Dallas on Thursday, and Nashville on Friday before finishing the trip in Detroit on Sunday against the Red Wings. Booth says the first game of the trip against the Blackhawks is a “possibility.”

In order to activate Booth off injured reserve and insert him to the lineup, the Canucks will have to make room on their 23-man roster. The Canucks placed Manny Malhotra on injured reserve on Friday to facilitate the return of Ryan Kesler, but this time they will surely have to send a player down to the minors to make room.

Zack Kassian, Chris Tanev, and Jordan Schroeder are all on entry-level contracts, which means they all can be sent down to the minors without having to clear waivers. However, all three have been playing well for the Canucks thus far this season.

Kassian leads the Canucks in goals with five and brings a combination of toughness and skill to the lineup. Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault has the option of playing Kassian alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin when the going gets rough. Tanev has formed what associate coach Rick Bowness calls as his best defence pairing thus far this season with Keith Ballard. Schroeder has also found some chemistry on a line with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen to form arguably one of the league’s fastest lines.

This leaves forwards Aaron Volpatti, Dale Weise, and Andrew Ebbett as possible candidates to go on waivers to make room for Booth.

Volpatti has played admirably this season by being a consistent physical presence on the fourth line and engaging in the fisticuffs. The Canucks were unwilling to place him on waivers at beginning of the season so he could play for the Chicago Wolves during the lockout fearing they would lose him. It is unlikely the Canucks will be willing to take that risk now either.

Weise is another candidate due to his inability to win a fight in a Canucks uniform (according to Hockeyfights.com, he has no wins in a Canucks uniform). However, Weise has been a contributor on the Canucks penalty kill and has shown the versatility to move up and down the lineup. His physical play has also vastly improved this season as he is third on the team behind Maxim Lapierre and Volpatti with 31 hits. Last season, he had less than half (118 hits) the number of hits Lapierre did (244 hits).

This leaves us with Ebbett and if I am a betting man, he’s going to go on waivers to make room for Booth. He is a versatile player that can play anywhere from the first line to the fourth line, play all forward positions, play on the power play and penalty kill. Ebbett is a jack-of-all-trades player, but that might be his Achilles heel—his inability to play a specific role and do it well for a team.

Calgary Flames centre Blair Jones cleared waivers on Sunday and there was belief that he would not since he is considered a good fourth line centre. There doesn’t appear to be much interest around the league for depth forwards, so Ebbett has a good chance of clearing. The Chicago Wolves could also use Ebbett after losing Anton Rodin and Andrew Gordon to injury last night against the Lake Erie Monsters. They could use a first line centre on their team as well and that’s something Ebbett can be at the AHL level.

Tags: Aaron Volpatti Andrew Ebbett Chris Tanev Dale Weise Jordan Schroeder Vancouver Canucks Zack Kassian

comments powered by Disqus