To this point, the Vancouver Canucks had approached the future of forward Tanner Pearson with two options. If the two sides could come to terms on an extension, the preference was to retain Pearson beyond this season. If no agreement could be reached before the trade deadline, then the team would instead trade Pearson rather than risk losing him for nothing in free agency. Now, than plan might have been taken away from them. Pearson was injured in the Canucks’ Wednesday night match-up with the Ottawa Senators and was forced to leave the game. The team has since announced that the injury is far worse than merely a one-game absence. Pearson is expected to miss at least four weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury. With the trade deadline just 24 days away, Pearson will not return to action before the Canucks’ last chance to move him. In a normal year, perhaps a team would be willing to buy low on an injured Pearson at the deadline. However, in this cap-strapped climate, teams aren’t messing around with adding salary and with Pearson not only injured through the deadline but with an uncertain timeline to return altogether, there is very little chance that the Canucks will be able to move him. Perhaps GM Jim Benning and company will be able to leverage the injury into a more affordable extension; Vancouver’s lack of cap space is believed to be the reason why a deal hasn’t already been reached and a cheaper deal would help to make the squeeze work for next season and beyond. Otherwise, its seems the Canucks have missed their chance to get any value out of Pearson before he departs this summer. It’s not and ideal outcome for the team or the player, who would prefer to be competing for a playoff spot if and when he returns to action.
- Another player dealing with injury is Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen. Yet, Andersen continues to suit up for the team. After a two-week hiatus with a lower-body injury, Andersen returned to Leafs earlier this month. However, the injury continues to nag him, he tells TSN’s Kristen Shilton, and it has shown on the ice. Andersen brought a 2-4-0 record, .887 save percentage, and 3.30 GAA in March into Toronto’s Friday night contest with the Calgary Flames, only to allow four goals on 18 shots in yet another loss. Andersen has now allowed 19 goals in his last five games. With their starter faltering, the Leafs will turn to backup Jack Campbell to start their next game, but one game off for Andersen is unlikely to provide any long-term relief. The Maple Leafs, who are serious Stanley Cup contenders this year and face an unusually easy path to the Final without having to go through the Tampa Bay Lightning and/or Boston Bruins in the early rounds this year. If Toronto doesn’t give Andersen another extended break to shake his nagging injury and his play does not improve, they may need to start considering a major change in net before the trade deadline. Andersen’s play this season, injury or not, is also certainly impacting his impending free agency as well.
- San Jose Sharks prospect Jonathan Dahlen has been named the MVP of the Allsvenskan, the team was proud to announce. Although the Allsvenskan is Sweden’s second-tier league, Dahlen’s 25 goals and 71 points in 45 games are still impressive and helped Timra IK to a regular season title (by a wide margin) and a chance at promotion to the SHL. This is Dahlen’s second straight season of 70+ points as the leading scorer for Timra and it seems like he is finally ready to make the transition to the NHL. Dahlen, 23, has played parts of two seasons in the AHL, but always seemed to have one foot out the door given his preference to play in Sweden if he wasn’t in the NHL. Perhaps that has contributed to his NHL rights being traded twice already. However, the Sharks are in no position to turn away affordable forward talent and should be ready to give Dahlen a shot at a roster spot next season, if not sooner once his Allsvenskan season ends.