In need of additional scoring punch up front, the Vancouver Canucks were hopeful Swedish winger Anton Rodin would earn a big league job and contribute some secondary scoring to the lineup. He has impressed during camp but now it looks as if his NHL debut will be postponed as the 25-year-old winger is experiencing soreness and swelling in his surgically repaired knee. Rodin suffered a severed tendon last year while playing in the Swedish Elite League and as Iain MacIntyre of the Province writes, it’s believed that Rodin has simply aggravated the knee by playing too much hockey in a relatively short period of time this preseason.
GM Jim Benning indicated Rodin will be held out of the lineup for up to a week to allow for rest and rehab.
“The injury got aggravated and so he’s going to have to take a step back. We’re going to give him a few days or week off here to get the swelling down, and from there just rehab so he’s a 100 per cent for us. We’re going to need him at 100 per cent.”
MacIntyre notes that Rodin is averaging a point-per-game through five preseason contests and has demonstrated an ability to protect the puck and to play in traffic against bigger opponents during exhibition games. The 2009 second-round pick has some experience in North America, skating in 111 games with Chicago in the AHL, scoring 14 goals and 41 points. He returned to Sweden in time for the 2014-15 season and would go on to win the Swedish League’s MVP in 2015-16.
Fortunately for Vancouver, the injury doesn’t appear serious and it looks as if Rodin will only be out a short time. It could threaten his availability to play in the season opener and as such, his absence could come into play as the Canucks look to finalize their roster.
Elsewhere in the Pacific Division:
- After signing Kris Russell to a one-year contract, the Edmonton Oilers have given fellow blue liner Eric Gryba permission to speak with other clubs in an attempt to land a job, tweets Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal. This would seem to suggest Gryba, who is in camp with the Oilers on a PTO, will not make the Edmonton roster. If Gryba fails to find a spot in another organization, Gregor believes he could continue to skate with the team, though of course he would be doing so without a contract. Gryba spent the first three years of his NHL career with Ottawa before a 2015 trade sent the defenseman to Edmonton. He appeared in 53 games in 2015-16 with the Oilers and tallied one goal and six points.
- It’s looking more and more likely the Arizona Coyotes will break camp with a few rookies among their ranks, writes Sarah McLellan of AZ Central. Dylan Strome was expected to make the team and fill a scoring line pivot role and has done nothing in camp to change that line of thinking. Recently he’s been skating with Lawson Crouse and Anthony Duclair on the team’s second line. Speaking of Crouse, the Coyotes value his grit and toughness though it’s still likely he doesn’t start the season with Arizona. Laurent Dauphin could force his way into a 4th line role and has evidently earned the trust of his teammates with his hard work. McLellan also notes the team is still giving looks to forwards Christian Dvorak and Christian Fischer along with blue liners Jakob Chychrun and Anthony DeAngelo. Whatever happens it seems quite possible that several rookies will be suiting up for the Coyotes in 2016-17.
- Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett appears poised for a breakout campaign as a sophomore in the NHL, writes Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Herald. Bennett, who scored 18 goals and 36 points in 77 games as a rookie, is already well on his way to earning the trust of new head coach Glen Gulutzan due to his responsible two-way play this preseason. The 20-year-old pivot has also made an impression on veteran winger Troy Brouwer, with whom he has skated with this preseason: “He’s a good player. He sees the ice well and he reads the game well, which is a tough thing and a unique thing to have, especially at 20 years old. I think he’s the type of player, under this coach, who is going to have a lot of responsibility and it’s really going to elevate his game.” Gilbertson notes that with Johnny Gaudreau still unsigned and not playing, Calgary has struggled putting the puck in the net scoring just nine times in seven games. If Gaudreau is out for any extended period of the regular season, Bennett could help fill the scoring void created by his absence.