Canucks waive Aaron Volpatti, remind everyone they have a guy named Steve Pinizzotto

Give us a kiss goodbye, luv.

Mired in a two-game losing streak, the Vancouver Canucks decided it was time for some bold moves Wednesday. To that end, they announced that Aaron Volpatti has been placed on waivers, and I say good. Volpatti’s done nothing in three of the last five games. Total no-show. I mean, sure, you can say he’s been a “healthy scratch”, but if injuries aren’t an excuse, then neither is health, am I right?

That was a dumb joke.

The move makes room on the roster without risking a defenceman on waivers, a wise course of action considering the team’s early good fortune when it comes to injuries on the backend appears to be normalizing. Kevin Bieksa has recently gone out with the first Vancouver blueline injury of the year, and if this team’s history is any indication, others are likely to follow. That in mind, they can’t just be waving their NHL depth defenders around, willy-nilly, asking if anybody wants one.

Of course, the question is, for whom are the Canucks making space? The recently-waived Andrew Ebbett made the most sense, until Bob McKenzie mentioned a different name in explaining the roster move:

 

Oh riiiiiiiiiiight, said everyone in Canuck Nation. Steve Pinizzotto exists.

Speaking of good fortune when it comes to injuries, Pinizzotto’s never heard of it. The 28-year-old has yet to play an NHL game, largely because his body is clearly subject to a curse that has yet to be detected. The man can’t catch a break. Separations and strains, on the other hand, are right up his alley.

In fact, his most recent strain actually was right up his alley. During the lockout, Pinizzotto suffered a groin strain, and he’s been out ever since, marking the second year in a row that the Canucks’ plans to use him have been scuttled by his human frailty. Last year, Pinizzotto won a job in the preseason, only to separate his shoulder before opening night. That led to an extension of the Victor Oreskovich era and the acquisition of Dale Weise. This time around, it led to a continued look at Aaron Volpatti.

This could finally be Pinizzotto’s Rebecca Black moment, but don’t get too excited just yet. He’s healthy, but he’s yet to get into NHL game shape, so there’s still time for him to fall prey to another infuriating setback. Waiving Aaron Volpatti allows the Canucks to put Pinizzotto on the active roster, which then allows them to protect him from waivers as he goes with Volpatti to Chicago for a conditioning stint. If and only if he can survive a week or so in the American Hockey League, he’ll get his shot.

If he does, I suspect you’ll like him. He’s a similar player to Volpatti, but he has an edge in every category, edge included. He’s peskier, nastier, and with more skill, speed and versatility — a fan favourite in the making.

A word on Volpatti: regardless of the reasoning, this roster move is going to upset those who overvalue toughness, many of whom didn’t like the fact that he was tagged the thirteenth forward over Dale Weise in the first place. Volpatti is second on the team in hits, with 42, and is a much more effective hitter than Weise.

That is, however, the only thing he does more effectively than Weise. In fact, it’s sort of the only thing he does. Volpatti’s been a good fourth liner, but that’s his ceiling, and the Canucks aren’t just looking for a grinder to fill out their dozen. They’re looking for twelve players that can move up and down the lineup as need be. It’s an optimistic goal, but when Volpatti came out of the lineup to make room for Dale Weise, it was Weise’s versatility that gave him the edge. Weise can do what Volpatti can do — hit and fight — but he’s also shown an ability to move up the lineup and take the odd penalty-kill shift. Volpatti, on the other hand, is the only Canuck that doesn’t see the ice in any special teams situations.

That’s a secondary reason Volpatti’s headed to Chicago, as long as he isn’t claimed (which I doubt will happen). He’ll be able to work on that there. “We would like Aaron to go down and play more, particularly kill penalties,” Laurence Gilman told Elliott Pap.

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11 comments

  1. Colby
    February 27, 2013

    Is this a sign to Zach Kassian that he is supposed to fight more? I would say hes the only guy left with a chance to actually intimidate someone via fight, and we have seen that his fighting leads to other good things.

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    • Matt
      February 27, 2013

      I certainly hope it doesn’t lead to Kassian fighting more. I’d hate to see the guy wreck his soft hands/good brains by fighting.

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      • Colby
        February 27, 2013

        He seems to thrive off of adrenaline.. How many of his goals came in games he fought? Not saying do it every night, but do what works until you figure out how get jacked up other ways.

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  2. rvtBC
    February 27, 2013

    Too bad. I liked Volpatti’s ability to get in on the forecheck and throw some actual, good solid hits whereas his comparator player, Weise, often just slams into the board, missing the player, or hits the player but it’s not a solid body-check. And, of course, he’s a more legitimate and effective fighter than Weise (when that need arises).

    But, fair points re: Pinizzotto and his potential to contribute based upon my hazy recollection of his play in the past, as well as Weise being able to contribute on the penalty kill.

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  3. natevk
    February 27, 2013

    I hate myself so much for clicking on that Rebecca Black link. Now I know she has another song…

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    • steveB
      February 27, 2013

      ^thanks for the heads up!
      /not clicking Rebecca Black link

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    • Kelvin Yu
      February 27, 2013

      It’s a crapton better than Friday, but that ain’t saying much.

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    • JS Topher
      February 27, 2013

      I avoided it. Then I read your comment and couldn’t help but venture back to witness the horror…

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  4. NormE
    February 28, 2013

    Grit & hit now gone……everyone run the twins ! At least Volpatti hit often & hard ! He never excelled on the penalty-killl because AV never tried him . He is very good defensively ….. why not try him ?
    All that Weise does is miss hits, punch everyone in the shoulder, and catch lots of knuckles in the face ! Can’t wait to see Volpatti run at Weise !
    Kassian will be thtown under the bus ….. ttaded to Florida in return for some plug making $4 million ….. and become another Cam Neely ! Bad move by MG & AV !

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  5. steveB
    February 28, 2013

    WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals have claimed Vancouver Canucks left-wing Aaron Volpatti off of waivers.
    And now he’s a Cap. :-(

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  6. NormE
    February 28, 2013

    Congrats, Aaron ………. look-out Bruins – here comes freight-train Volpatti !!!!

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