It is a Vancouver Canucks season defined by injuries.
The Vancouver Canucks are grinding out rival games night after night without their top defence pairing, their captain centreman, and their leading defensive forward. Perhaps there is optimism to be found in the fact that the Canucks managed to stay in the game for nearly 50 minutes against the red-hot San Jose Sharks on Monday.
That being said, the veterans are the ones going down with the injuries. The average age of the currently injured Canucks is 29.2.
Henrik Sedin is out with an upper-body injury and is questionable for Saturday’s showdown versus the Nashville Predators. That is also the case for Chris Tanev who is also not expected to play on Wednesday against the Arizona Coyotes.
Linden Vey has stepped up to the first line role to replace his captain. He is making the most of his opportunity and has scored two goals and five points in the past six games. Ben Hutton and Dan Hamhuis have stepped up to be Vancouver’s top pairing, each averaging about 24 minutes of ice time each game.
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This is an opportunity for Vey and Hamhuis to raise their respective value for the coming offseason. Whatever path Jim Benning chooses to take with regards with the two, padding stat lines at this point of the season will become instrumental in July.
Just spitballing here, but would Vey’s rights be worth something dangling in front of 29 other NHL teams? Perhaps he is not worth the same second-round pick he was traded for two years ago. But in a talent-laden draft, could he be packaged with a late pick to upgrade to a mid-high round pick? We all know how Benning loves draft picks.
Jannik Hansen has missed four games now with a rib injury he sustained during practice. No updates were given on his status, but Emerson Etem seems to be getting all the chances to prove himself with his Restricted Free Agent rights kicking in just a few months from now.
Speaking of Hansen, one has to wonder what Jake Virtanen needs to get some time with the Sedins. He has got to be Vancouver’s best right-winger after Jannik Hansen. Hansen is listed as day-to-day.
Brandon Sutter‘s departure has left a gaping hole down the middle, especially with Henrik out of the lineup. Bo Horvat is getting burdened down playing the fourth line with Derek Dorsett and Brendan Gaunce while Markus Granlund has taken over the sweet spot — the centreman position for Sven Baertschi and Virtanen.
Sutter is skating and practising with a full face shield on. Expect him to play just a handful of games should he return at all this season.
The biggest loss is Alex Edler who is out indefinitely with a fractured fibula. Now this could be another serious injury for Edler that will shorten his career and weaken his play in the future. As a player nearing his 30’s already with a history of a lingering injury, Edler seems destined to finish his season on a flat note.
Despite missing a dozen games already, Edler is still the blueline leader in points with 20. Wonder if the Canucks would dangle him for a major prospect in the near future if Hutton continues to impress.
And lastly, Radim Vrbata returned from his injury on Monday night. He did not look much better than before.