Vancouver Canucks: 2016-17 Special Teams

Apr 7, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin (88) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin (88) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Philip Larsen

Another one of Benning’s additions this offseason is 6-foot-1 Danish defenseman, Philip Larsen. Larsen was a fifth-round pick (149th overall) of the Dallas Stars way back in 2008 and bounced around in that organization, as well as in the Edmonton Oilers’ system for several years. Now he’s a part of the Vancouver Canucks’ organization, all thanks to GM Jim Benning, who signed Larsen and promised him the opportunity to run the power play.

A wait-and-see approach would be wiser when it comes to Larsen, though. Perhaps promising him such a lofty opportunity from the get-go will motivate him during his offseason workouts and in training camp but there’s always the chance that other players prove more valuable as powerplay contributors from the blueline. Larsen will be on one of the PP units but whether he’s needed on the top unit is up for debate, especially if the Canucks opt to use four forwards there (which they have done many, many times before).

Larsen could truly be a pleasant surprise for the Canucks if he finally performs consistently and fulfills his potential. He’s not overly large but he has good speed and excellent hockey sense. Pair him with a stay-at-home defender and unleash his offensive potential. The Canucks could use a confident, puck-moving D-man.

The Canucks have several question marks up and down their projected 2016-17 roster, including Nikita Tryamkin and Anton Rodin, but Larsen has a fair chance to succeed, as long as he doesn’t let the pressure of Benning’s words get to him.

Conclusion: hard to call it now but the gamble seems to be ADVANTAGE CANUCKS

Next: The Big Man: Erik Gudbranson