The Canucks could have saved themselves the cost of a couple flights.
The club announced Tuesday that Jordan Schroeder has been recalled from the Chicago Wolves just four days after he was the final cut of training camp. In fact, he didn’t even play a single game with the Wolves, despite his fellow camp cuts lacing up for two games since flying back to Chicago. Maybe the popcorn in the Chicago pressbox is just better than the popcorn at Rogers Arena?
Schroeder lost the battle to center the second line to Andrew Ebbett in training camp, as Harrison predicted when David Booth injured his groin. Sure enough, without two speedy, veteran wingers on the second line, Alain Vigneault was hesitant to place an untested rookie in the middle and potentially hinder his second line with so much liability. Two games into the season, however, it’s clear that the Canucks no longer have a second line, so there’s nothing left to Schroeder to hinder.
Mike Gillis was complimentary of Jordan Schroeder in an interview with Cam Cole on Monday, calling him a “highly skilled player who will help our powerplay” and indicating that he would definitely be called up sometime this year. Clearly, the plans were already in place to get him in the lineup, as Jim Vandermeer had already been placed on waivers. But there was another quote in that interview that indicated why he wasn’t on the opening night roster to begin with.
Gillis first mentioned Schroeder shortly after discussing the injuries to Booth and Kesler. What he said immediately afterwards, I found extremely telling.
“The way we were constituted to start this year, we just needed to get through this first 2-3 weeks.”
Andrew Ebbett was never going to be a permanent solution on the second line. As we’ve said before, he’s the quintessential 13th forward. He’s the type of player who can be inserted almost anywhere in the lineup and will perform yeoman’s work for a time, neither costing nor gaining the Canucks much. If you badly cut your arm, he’s the shirt that you rip to use as an emergency bandage until you can get proper medical attention.
Schroeder, on the other hand, is an unknown quantity. Choosing him over Ebbett is like cutting your arm and then trying to sprint to the hospital before you pass out from blood loss.
The Canucks’ first round pick in 2009 has yet to play a single game in the NHL and, at the age of 22, Canucks fans had begun to wonder if he ever would. Schroeder was a star for the US World Junior team, holding the record for most points in a World Junior career, and he had one exceptional season for the University of Minnesota, scoring 45 points in 35 games as a freshman.
That production hasn’t followed him to the AHL, however. He has 100 points in 178 games, which isn’t terrible, by any means, but it is below expectations. To be fair, that production has come on fairly low-scoring teams — his 44 points in 76 games was good for third on the Chicago Wolves last season and his 21 goals was tied for second on the team — but he hasn’t made it difficult for Canucks management to leave him in the AHL.
Will Schroeder thrive with more highly skilled players in the NHL?
I have no idea. I was asking you.
You probably don’t know either. Anyone who thinks he can predict how Schroeder will perform with the Canucks is delusional. Schroeder may pick up more assists with his vision and passing while playing with NHL-level finishers. Or he could struggle to adapt to the faster pace and his on-ice vision could fail him.
That’s why he didn’t start the season with the Canucks. As Gillis said, the Canucks just needed to get through a few weeks before Booth and Kesler start to return to the lineup (or until a Luongo trade is finalized that brings in more offensive help) and Ebbett was the safer choice to get them there. But it became clear over the weekend that the Canucks couldn’t afford to have a patchwork second line that couldn’t contribute offensively.
It’s possible that the Canucks even saw this coming, suspecting all along that they would need to call Schroeder up this week, and asked the Wolves to keep him out of the lineup over the weekend to avoid injury.
Schroeder was with the Canucks at practice on Tuesday, skating on a line with Mason Raymond and Dale Weise, who has been one of the Canucks’ most energetic forwards through the first two games. That line has the makings of a poor man’s typical scoring line: one playmaker, one finisher, and one power forward. Will that line do more than just dress the wound? We’ll likely see on Wednesday.Tags: Andrew Ebbett, Jordan Schroeder