P.A. Parenteau Looking to Parlay Production Into a Long-Term Homestead

J.D. Burke
January 17 2017 09:00AM

USATSI_9806846

Photo Credit: Perry Nelson - USA TODAY Sports

As the saying goes, one man's trash is another's treasure. The way P.A. Parenteau is cycling through teams, I find recycling a more apt fit between the well-traveled winger and the timeless adage though.

Of course, finding a fit for Parenteau hasn't exactly been a walk in the park. A veteran of eight NHL seasons, the 33-year-old winger is on his seventh team with the New Jersey Devils. As the Devils playoff hopes wane and the trade deadline encroaches, it's possible they won't even be his last this season either.

That's added incentive for Parenteau to play his part in a Devils turnaround. He sounds upbeat about the possibility, even as long odds await New Jersey at every turn.

Read Article | 0 Comments

The Sedins Can't Carry a Line Anymore

J.D. Burke
January 05 2017 05:00PM

USATSI_9785407

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

The Sedin twins aren't what they used to be, but who is at 36-years-old? Father time catches up with the best of us, and whether their games depended on youthful hallmarks like speed or physicality or not, they're suffering it the same as anyone.

It's not that they're necessarily bad players. Far from it, even. Whether they have enough to carry a first line without help on a nightly basis is another question entirely. As the season continues and the pair drag onwards towards their lowest point rate over a full season since their fifth season, it becomes increasingly clear that answer is a resounding no.

In fairness to the Sedins, though, it's not a question they likely anticipated responding to this season. The Canucks signed Loui Eriksson to a lucrative six-year contract with a spot alongside the Sedins in mind. Barring that, they had Jannik Hansen to fall back on.

Whether by circumstance or choice, the Sedins have played sparing with either since October. The best-laid plans, and so on. Let's dig into exactly what kind of impact the alternatives are having on their ability to push play as the Canucks premier line.

Read Article | 26 Comments

Is Troy Stecher Already the Canucks' Best Defenceman?

J.D. Burke
December 28 2016 03:00PM

USATSI_9765795

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

Troy Stecher could have spent this entire season in the AHL, and I'm sure the Canucks wouldn't have batted an eye. So his emergence as a staple on the first pair must feel like something akin to stumbling upon a winning lottery ticket at Pat Quinn Way.

With Stecher, as with any first-year pro, injuries above him helped pave the way for his ascendancy. That much is certain. This didn't happen by accident, though. Stecher did everything in training camp to put himself atop the Canucks recall list, and he's done everything since to keep him from it in perpetuity.

Part of that is opportunity, and Canucks Head Coach Willie Desjardins deserves a fair amount of credit for not shying from offering Stecher more than his fair share. It's not often a player jumps straight from the AHL to the parent team's first pair, but the comfort Stecher displayed with Alexander Edler in the pre-season made clear that was the best position for him to succeed in immediately.

Read Article | 9 Comments

Who Should the Canucks Play Alongside the Sedins?

J.D. Burke
December 28 2016 11:00AM

USATSI_9662990

Photo Credit: Anthony Grupposo - USA TODAY Sports

If the Canucks are going to make a surge to save their season, they'll be doing it without Jannik Hansen.

Speaking to the media after Tuesday's practice, Canucks Head Coach Willie Desjardins revealed Hansen suffered a severe knee injury on December 22nd, and it will keep him from Vancouver's lineup for four-to-six weeks. This after Hansen just returned to the Canucks two weeks prior from a broken collarbone.

The Canucks' first line was supposed to be an area of relative strength. At the very least, one couldn't count it among the multitude question marks hanging over the roster. Whether Loui Eriksson worked out or not, the Sedins moulded Hansen as a safety blanket in their image for the club's cover.

Desjardins has been hesitant to play Eriksson with the twins since October, and Hansen's injury has forced him from the trios refuge for much of the time since. Generally, the club's leaned on Brandon Sutter to fill the void whenever necessary, and suffered that decision accordingly.

The hope in mid-December was Hansen's health would keep Desjardins from having to tussle with this question again. Here we are two weeks later, and it's paramount on the embattled coach's mind as he prepares to face the Los Angeles Kings.

Read Article | 7 Comments

I Was Wrong, And How: Matthew Tkachuk

J.D. Burke
December 23 2016 03:00PM

USATSI_9747089

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks never had serious interest in taking Matthew Tkachuk with the fifth overall selection in last year's draft. It was a two-horse race between Pierre-Luc Dubois and Olli Juolevi. When all was said and done, fate forced their hand, and they plucked the Finnish blue liner with their first pick.

For some, that was an egregious misstep. Tkachuk's counting stats were in line with what we'd expect from a first overall selection and he'd played a starring role on the CHL's top line with the London Knights. What's not to like?

I counted myself among those less convinced, though. Whereas the final consolidated 2016 Draft rankings had Tkachuk as the fourth best player available, I had him tenth on my board. Tkachuk, taken sixth overall by the Calgary Flames, has six goals and is playing on the Flames first line. These are early returns in a small sample, but I think we're at a point where I have to take the proverbial 'L' on this one.

Read Article | 28 Comments