Vancouver Canucks fans are happy with forward Brandon Prust gone. But perhaps it would be a good idea to bring him back for training camp.
Most Vancouver Canucks fans will agree that pre-injury Brandon Prust was a great player to have on the fourth line. Post-injury Prust, on the other hand, was not. And that seems to be the main issue for him in the pursuit of a new club.
On October 27, 2015, Brandon Prust suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for 11 games. Prior to that, he was a solid option for the bottom six — a typical bottom-line grinder who brings toughness to the lineup. But afterwards, it only got worse, mostly because he didn’t take enough time off after the injury.
Prust returned on November 21, but he was never the same player as before. So, the Canucks waived him to have him play in the American Hockey League, and later came to a “mutual decision” with Prust to terminate his season prematurely. On March 10, he was done. He returned home to finally recover from his injury, after playing with discomfort for most of the season.
That ankle injury and the months that followed after are also the reason why Prust is struggling to find a new club now. As he told NHL.com, he would “take a job anywhere” at this point, because his ankle is a concern for teams.
So why should the Canucks bring him back?
More from Editorials
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
I’ll admit, there doesn’t seem to be any room for him on the roster. Alex Burrows, Anton Rodin, Emerson Etem, Jake Virtanen and Derek Dorsett, as well as AHL players like Michael Chaput, Jayson Megna, Brendan Gaunce and Alex Grenier, will be fighting for the four wing positions in the bottom six. So why add Prust?
Well, there are no guarantees that Rodin is ready for the NHL. If he isn’t, that leaves a roster spot. Furthermore, Virtanen could start the season with the Utica Comets, which would leave another roster spot. None of the AHL guys have much NHL experience and Prust might be a better option than all of them.
Of course, the Canucks shouldn’t just sign him to a two-year, $5 million contract. All they should do is bring him in for training camp on a try-out basis. A little extra competition never hurts and if he still seems good enough to play in the NHL, Vancouver could probably sign him to a cheap deal.
Prust said he would sign anywhere at this point, just to play in the NHL. That likely means he is somewhat desperate, and he’ll sign a cheap one-year contract.
At this point, Prust will probably just be happy if he can get another NHL contract at all. It’s his last chance to prove himself and to prove he recovered from his injury. Training camp isn’t long, but a few preseason games are usually enough to determine if a player is worth a contract.
Brandon Prust is a leader and someone who can bring grit to the lineup. He was a well-respected person in the Vancouver Canucks locker room, and he definitely deserves another chance — at least in training camp.