The Canucks made another round of cuts this afternoon, sending Mike Duco, Eddie Lack, Yann Sauve, and Jordan Schroeder to Chicago, Nicklas Jensen to his junior club in Oshawa, and releasing Todd Fedoruk and Anders Eriksson outright. While there is still one final round of trimming to go, as a number of players that will need to clear waivers remain with the team (Mancari, Parent and/or Sulzer), today’s cuts were, in effect, the final round, giving us a fairly clear indication as to who will be in the lineup on opening night.

As we have been throughout this process, PITB is here to break down the moves.

The biggest surprise cut is probably Mike Duco, who was a standout in each preseason game in which he played. Duco was in a dogfight with a handful of other guys for one of the spots on Maxim Lapierre’s wing.

Victor Oreskovich’s size (and superior wheels to the equally big Mark Mancari) made him an ideal candidate for at least one of those spots, and when he picked up his play after being specifically called out by Alain Vigneault, he won it. But Duco was the early favourite to beat out Aaron Volpatti for the other slot until Volpatti one-punched his ticket Thursday night in San Jose.

Still, Duco will likely be the first callup if one of Volpatti or Oreskovich starts the season slowly. Last season, the fourth line of Guillaume Desbiens, Alex Bolduc, and Tanner Glass lasted about ten minutes before injuries and poor play necessitated changes. Provided he isn’t claimed on waivers, Duco will probably be back soon.

Eddie Lack was never going to start the season with the Canucks, what with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider ahead of him on the depth chart. Instead, he will again be the number one for the Canucks’ farm team, where he will have the opportunity to work on his rebound control and continue to hone his considerable skill.

If that Cory Schneider trade ever happens, Lack could be back with the Canucks sometime this season as well. Or maybe Schneider will never get traded, and Lack will just be the Canucks’ third-string goalie for the next 12 years, what do I know?

Yann Sauve was actually already re-assigned, but was recalled to fill a spot in Thursday night’s lineup due to the injury to Nolan Baumgartner. We already discussed his cut here, so we’ll just move on.

Jordan Schroeder impressed in his second training camp, showing an increase in speed, shiftiness and, most notably, fitness, and while it wasn’t enough for him to stay with the big club, it’s not like he’s going to disappear in Chicago. He’ll likely be the first line centre for the Wolves, and a strong showing there could see him playing a few games with the Canucks this season.

With none of the Canucks’ other high-end prospects looking quite ready for NHL action — save, perhaps, Nicklas Jensen, who’s going back to junior – Schroeder should be the first callup in the case of an injury in the Canucks’ top six. That said, with Henrik, Kesler, Malhotra, Lapierre, Hodgson and Ebbett ahead of him, his big-league debut will likely come at the wing.

Speaking of Nicklas Jensen, earlier this week, I supposed he could get nine games with the Canucks before he was sent back to juniors. It would appear that I supposed erroneously.

In terms of his hockey sense and skillset, Jensen appeared NHL-ready, but he still needs to do some physical development. He needs to bulk up. Jensen is well over six feet, but he’s only just over 200 pounds. If he returns next season with a little more mass and has another training camp like this one, he could bypass the minors and start the 2012-13 season with the big club.

And finally, Todd Fedoruk and Anders Eriksson‘s quests to earn contracts with the Canucks have come to an end. Both appeared to lack NHL speed and neither were quite what the Canucks needed.

In Fedoruk’s case, the Canucks weren’t in the market for an enforcer, and that became especially clear Thursday night, when both Keith Ballard and Aaron Volpatti fought their own battles before Fedoruk engaged in a meaningless scrap with Jim Vandermeer.

As for Eriksson, I still don’t think the Canucks were ever really that interested in his services, especially since he was trying to crack a defense corps that already ran eight deep. I get the sense that he was primarily here to give the veterans a rest, especially since he performed the same role for the Islanders last season. I’m sure we’ll see him trying out somewhere next year.

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1 Comment

  1. Rituro
    September 30, 2011

    Hurrah! I predicted the YouTube clip for Singing in the Rain before I clicked on it! Woo! *ahem* Moving on…

    I’m a little surprised Jensen didn’t earn himself at least a game or two with the big club so he can get a feel for honest-to-goodness, regular-season-calibre action. I would’ve thought something like that would’ve provided a great benchmark and goal for Jensen’s further development.

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