Vancouver Canucks Season Player Evaluation: Luca Sbisa

Nov 25, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa (5) passes in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa (5) passes in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Verdict: What’s for Next Season?

Luca Sbisa finished the year on the outside looking in due to injuries. He also lost the spot as the team’s most physical defenseman when Russian giant Nikita Tryamkin brought his 21-year-old 6-foot-7 frame to Van City.

Sbisa, though, is still young. He is just 26 years old and next season should be a fantastic one considering how refreshed he should be after playing just half of the games this past season.

The bigger question, though, is not how well he will play, but whether he will play at all this coming season for the Canucks. Sbisa may be an expendable asset when Trade Jim’s hand reaches for the phone on draft day.

More from The Canuck Way

A relatively young defenseman and a physical one, too, Sbisa may be undervalued by the fans in Vancouver. Would he be attractive enough to fetch the Canucks a pick in the first round of the Entry Draft? A trade up from the early second-round selection may be an option the Canucks explore.

And even if Sbisa stays, does Vancouver need Sbisa at all? As aforementioned, Sbisa’s physicality is nothing compared to what Tryamkin could bring to the table. Ironic how Tryamkin has stolen Sbisa’s spot to the right of Hutton to end the year.

With the possibility of a Dan Hamhuis return as well as the insertion of puck-moving Philip Larsen into the Canucks top-six as powerplay specialist, all point to Sbisa being out of the lineup. The only reason the Canucks have to play him would be the $3.6 million Sbisa will make next year regardless of whether he plays or not.

Provided Sbisa can play a regular role with the Canucks, though, the Swiss defenseman likely lands a puck-moving defenseman as his partner. A Larsen-Sbisa pairing may work similar to the Hutton-Sbisa pairing we saw this year.

Or does Hamhuis come back and provide Sbisa some cover? Time will tell.

And should Sbisa continue his growth while playing with a guy like Larsen, I would imagine Sbisa can put these numbers up next year:

Luca Sbisa 2016-17 Production
82 GP // 7 Goals // 18 Assists // 25 Pts // Plus-5 // 60 PIM // 140 Hits // 100 Blks

As for a season marked by injury yet with goodness when playing with a puck-mover like Hutton, here is the letter grade for Luca Sbisa’s 2015-16 season. I really hope that Sbisa turns out to be a successful part of the return the Canucks got for Mr. Kesler.

B-. . Defense. Vancouver Canucks. LUCA SBISA

I think we can agree that Sbisa did well he was asked to do, to play physical defense, to shoot a few from the blueline, and to empower his D-partner with puck and possession. The question is whether Sbisa got the puck to his partner or if the partner picked up on Sbisa’s distress signal when a guy like Micheal Ferland was on Luca’s tail.

Next: 2015-16 REPORT CARD: Dan HAMHUIS

And that’s it for this look back at Sbisa’s storied season. Next up? Hutton’s favorite D-partner, none other than number six, Yannick Weber.

*stats courtesy of HockeyReference.com, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, visuals thanks to OwnThePuck.