Battle to be the Skilled Depth Winger:
Anton Rodin vs. Reid Boucher
The great Anton Rodin experiment didn’t happen last year for the Swedish Hockey League’s former MVP. Instead, his troublesome knee took him out from hockey this time of the season last year, sidelining him until now.
Rodin has undeniable skill. He just does not have his game ready just yet because of the injury. His ability to withstand the physical rigours of the NHL is a totally separate issue if his knee is as fine as he says it is.
Though Rodin has not had much to cheer about this preseason, he flashed his skill last game.
He has two goals so far in preseason and he deserves more time to get his game sense back. It has come back big time over these past few preseason games and will only get better as he plays more structured games with fellow NHL-calibre players.
As for Reid Boucher, his offseason was focused on getting his fitness back on track after being put on the hot seat by Willie Desjardins. His shot was always elite but his fitness was questionable at best.
Though the journeyman career for Boucher taught him to play a physical game as a smaller player, his forte is his shot, a shot that we have yet to really see in preseason action.
In comes coach Green and his high-energy offensive philosophy (feat. bag skate). Boucher had better done his fitness homework if he wants to stick around because he and Rodin are two skilled wingers who are barely keeping their heads above the younger players thanks to their respective scoring pedigrees, in the SHL and in the CHL.
Rodin deserves a longer look, even into the regular season, while Boucher is in a tough spot through three-quarters of the preseason without much to show. His weakness being fitness, he has to prove himself and prove himself quickly unless he wants to find himself on the waivers again, this time abandoned by one of the worst offensive teams in the entire NHL.
And so it was…