Vancouver Canucks F Brandon Prust is Here to Stay


The Vancouver Canucks may trade other unrestricted free-agent veterans this season, but not Brandon Prust.

Brandon Prust is making himself a fan favourite with the Vancouver Canucks. After being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens through a controversial off-season trade, the veteran left winger is settling in nicely into the Canuck blue.

But before looking into the real reasons to keep Brandon Prust in a Canuck uniform, let us bask in how much love this first-year Canuck forward has for his team.

The Brad Marchand incident certainly did not hurt his popularity level.

Prust was eventually fined $5000 by the NHL, but he didn’t mind.

Understandably so for the former Montreal Canadien. If there is one thing the Vancouver Canucks and the Montreal Canadiens have in common, it is the open hatred against the Big Bad Bruins.

Even when he was off the ice with his ankle injury, Prust was making himself a fan favourite. This came after the New Jersey game, when Jake Virtanen picked a bad time to fight with Bobby Farnham.

But the case to keep the 31-year-old goes beyond his exemplary Canuck mentality. Brandon Prust, in 18 games thus far, has not taken a minor penalty yet. All of his 45 PIM come from fighting majors and game-misconduct penalties, which shows that he never has taken a bad, undisciplined penalty as fourth liners so often do.

His single goal and seven points in 18 games is not dazzling, although on the struggling Canucks squad, that is good for fifth in points per 60 minutes of ice time, according to His 1.83 points per 60 have him tied with none other than Jason Pominville (for 158th in the league).

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Prust has been the second coming of our favourite utility man, Alex Burrows, but at three years younger. Prust is killing penalties, defending late-game leads, and doing the dirty work defending the Kids. Surprising to see him with a plus-two rating deployed on such defensive roles.

Watching Prust play is awesome. He is physical, but does not go against the run of play to force hits to happen. He is strong, yet so agile when stripping his opposing defenders off the puck. He darts around the puck carrier and refuses to let go of his check. Even at his age – considered ripe ‘n’ old by modern NHL standards – Prust is playing that fast checking brand of hockey that GM Jim Benning wanted so badly.

Even with critics big on how expensive the Canucks’ fourth line was, Prust has done a great job of proving them wrong. Yes, six million dollars is a lot to pay for a line of Derek Dorsett, Adam Cracknell, and Prust, but it has proved to be a refreshing source of energy, always managing to put together energizing shifts when the team needed them the most. Along with Prust’s seven, his linemates have recorded six points each.

In a squad where Chris Higgins has three points and Yannick Weber has four, six-seven points by a fourth liner is certainly a sign that they are playing hard with confidence.

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There is the obvious case to make against Prust. He is old, he is costly to keep around, and his contract is expiring this year. Why not replace him with Alex Grenier, who is physically better suited to play the fourth line role as a 6’7″, 200lbs right-winger?

Maybe I am contradicting myself too much here, but I sure want Grenier to throw his large frame around in the NHL.

The case with Prust — as well as is with Brandon Sutter and as was with Kevin Bieksa — is that he is a leader in the locker room. That is exactly why the Canucks kept Dorsett with a high price tag, traded Zack Kassian away, and acquired Prust. Leadership beyond the Sedins, which is so crucial to the Youth of the Vancouver Canucks going forward.

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I imagine that the “scoring kids” have their leaders in scorers like the Sedins, and that the “checking kids” have their sights set on guys like Dorsett and Prust. They demand respect of another kind.

With all these things considered, two million dollars for a guy who can play an effective bottom-six role, as well as a highly defensively role, might not be a bad Canuck to keep around until the Kids are ready. Dan Hamhuis, with his partner-in-crime, Yannick Weber, may go. But not Brandon Prust.