Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday's Musings From Canuck Nation

Not a quiet day by any means for the Canucks when it came to starting off the last few days before the start of the regular season.

For starters, the Canucks skated at the Pacific Coliseum instead of GM Place. It was a little different for me watching a practice in that building that didn't involve the Vancouver Giants. While I was there, the following press release from the Canucks came across my blackberry:

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have acquired defenceman Shane O’Brien and right wing Michel Ouellet in exchange for defenceman Lukas Krajicek and right wing Juraj Simek from the Tampa Bay Lightning. O’Brien will report to Vancouver and Ouellet will report to Manitoba.

O’Brien, 25, spent the 2007-08 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, recording 21 points (4-17-21) in 77 games played. The Port Hope, Ontario-native has played in 158 NHL games, scoring six goals and 31 assists for a total of 37 points and recording 330 penalty minutes. The 6’2”, 235-pound defenceman was selected in the eighth round, 250th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks.

Ouellet, 26, has played in 187 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, registering 116 points (52-64-116). The 6’0”, 201-pound right wing was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2004. Born in Rimouski, Quebec, Ouellet was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fourth round, 124th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

I can't really comment on the players coming into the Canucks organization as I've never seen them play and can only really go by their stats to see what type of the players they might be. As for Krajicek, he just didn't seem to be an ideal fit into the Canucks mix on defence. A great NHL-skater and a decent puck-mover, he just didn't provide much in the way of great play in his own end. As for Simek, I've watched him since his days with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. A skilled player with good speed, he's still a few years away from earning a full-time spot on an NHL roster.


Less than an hour after the trade announcement, this release from the Canucks came across my blackberry:

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that Cody Hodgson will return to Brampton for the 2008-09 season. Hodgson, 18, signed his first pro contract on Sunday October 5, 2008 after playing in three NHL preseason games, recording an assist and six penalty minutes. Last season, Hodgson had 40 goals and 45 assists with the Battalion. His 40 goals led the team and his 85 points were good to rank him in the top 20 in OHL scoring last year.

On the international level, Hodgson captained Canada’s Gold Medal winning U-18 entry in the World Junior Championships, and led the tournament in scoring with 12 points in 7 games. The 6'0", 185 pound forward from Haliburton, Ontario was drafted tenth overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, this is really the best move for both Hodgson and the Canucks. This kid, if he stays healthy, will be one of the more dominant players in the OHL this winter and certainly has a shot at wearing the 'C' for Canada at the World Juniors in Ottawa.


Following practice, the Canucks had their media availability at GM Place. Gillis appeared in front of the media and answered questions about the trade and Hodgson's re-assignment to junior. He also confirmed forward Mike Brown has not been placed on waivers after-all. The intention was to place him on waivers this weekend, but once the Canucks got word they might lose him, they decided to re-call him to Vancouver and keep him on their roster. With Brown returning to the mix and O'Brien coming to town, that now sees Vancouver with 26 players on their roster (2 goalies, 8 defence, and 16 forwards).

All NHL teams have to declare their 23-player rosters by Wednesday October 8 at 9:00am PST. I'd be surprised if the Canucks placed any of their current players on the waiver wire until just minutes before the deadline.

The team is scheduled to skate at GM Place tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing if tomorrow will be anywhere close to as an eventful day as what Monday has been!

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