The Paper Feature will run every Wednesday in the Vancouver Sun’s print edition, as well as online here at Pass it to Bulis. (It’s called the Paper Feature for what we hope are obvious reasons.)
A commonly heard refrain at the beginning of the NHL season is that you can’t pass judgement on a team or player until at least 10 games have past. Really, this is a purely arbitrary number that just sounds good because it matches the number of fingers on our hands. 10 games into the 2010-11 season, the St. Louis Blues were in first place in the league after getting off to a hot start. 72 games later, they missed the playoffs.
With that said, 10 games is still enough time to start to get a feel for a team or player’s tendencies and it’s all we have to go on for some of the newest Canucks on the roster. While Mike Gillis didn’t make sweeping changes to the roster, despite all the talk about a “reset” at the start of the off-season, there are still a lot of new faces who we can start to judge.
Player: Mike Santorelli
Pre-season expectations: None. Santorelli signed a two-way contract with the Canucks at the league-minimum salary after just 4 points in 34 games last season. At best, he was expected to compete for third-line centre.
Actual performance: Outstanding. Santorelli came into camp in fantastic shape, immediately impressing John Tortorella with his conditioning. He unexpectedly leads the Canucks in goal-scoring, including two overtime gamewinners, and seems to have reestablished himself as a top-six forward, skating with the Sedins at times and centring the second line when Kesler joins the twins.
Reminds me of: A two-way Jason King.
Player: Brad Richardson
Pre-season expectations: Minimal. Richardson was a frequent healthy scratch with the Los Angeles Kings, but was thought to potentially be a fit as the Canucks’ third-line centre.
Actual performance: Solid. While Richardson seems best suited to centring the fourth line, he has capably filled the third-line role. More importantly, he’s been a fantastic penalty killer, even without taking his two shorthanded goals into consideration.
Reminds me of: Maxim Lapierre without the chirping, diving, and dirty plays. So, nothing like Lapierre, now that I think about it.
Player: Yannick Weber
Pre-season expectations: Minor. Weber was signed as a depth defenceman whose offensive capability gives the Canucks some options on the third pairing.
Actual performance: We can say with some certainty that Weber is not a very good forward, as he slotted in on the fourth line for a few games. On defence, he’s been supplanted by Ryan Stanton on the depth chart.
Reminds me of: Lukas Krajicek with a better shot.
Player: Ryan Stanton
Pre-season expectations: None whatsoever. We didn’t even know Stanton existed until Gillis put in a surprise waiver claim. The 24-year-old with one NHL game to his name wasn’t expected to provide much of an impact.
Actual performance: Shocking. Not only has Stanton earned a spot on the third pairing with his calm and poised play, he has 4 points in 10 games, tied for second among Canucks’ defencemen. While that scoring isn’t likely to continue, it’s a nice bonus to go with his defensive acumen.
Reminds me of: A left-handed Chris Tanev.
Player: Zac Dalpe
Pre-season expectations: Limited. Dalpe was once highly-touted after a strong college career and an impressive start in the AHL, but hopes had dwindled since. The fact that he was acquired at the cost of Kellan Tochkin reined in expectations a fair bit.
Actual performance: Disappointing. Dalpe saw limited ice time on the fourth line, but also gave no reason for Tortorella to give him more. He was assigned to the Utica Comets on a conditioning assignment on Saturday, which may mean that his fitness wasn’t up to Tortorella’s expectations.
Reminds me of: A smaller Lee Goren.
Player: Jeremy Welsh
Pre-season expectations: Even less than Dalpe. Signed to a one-way, $1 million contract the Carolina Hurricanes were unwilling to pay, Welsh was essentially the cost of acquiring Dalpe, which is embarrassing for both of them.
Actual performance: Better than Dalpe. While he’s played just one game so far for the Canucks, that’s one more game than was expected. In just over four minutes of ice time against the Blue Jackets, he had two shots, including a dangerous scoring chance in front of the net.
Reminds me of: Marc Chouinard
This feature takes a moment to recognize the best tweets of the week, because we’re online-type writers and Twitter is an online-type thing. If you see a great Canucks-related tweet, send us a link. Or plagiarize it and bask in its glory.
Wait, Schroeder is in for Dalpe? Oh crap. perhaps that Dalpe jersey purchase was a little premature. #canucks
— newvanfan (@newvanfan) October 15, 2013
That’s why it’s always good to wait a while, like swimming after eating.
@passittobulis before this season, the last time they were split up was when they were one zygote.
— Jordanger Darke (@yyjordan) October 16, 2013
John Tortorella went out on a limb this week. It’s been a long time since the Sedins were last separated.
Too bad Jeremy Welsh wasn’t in the lineup yesterday. He could have fought Derek Engelland and restarted the Anglo-Welsh conflict.
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) October 20, 2013
I really wish I’d thought of this.Tags: The Paper Feature, Tweet Podium