It seems as if things for the Vancouver Canucks come in the one step forward, one step back variety. Maybe that’s just a symptom of being a team on the playoff bubble. Maybe it’s just how things have been for the entire lifetime of the franchise.
Either way, it’s hard not to see the transactions made by the team on Tuesday morning as a positive swiftly followed by a negative.
Nikolay Goldobin is an NHL player, and he had no business being in the AHL, as he evidenced by scoring 20 points in 18 games.
So it’s good to see him back in the NHL with a team that is hurting a bit for some depth scoring. (Although we have no idea if he’ll actually get into a game.)
But going the other way down to the Utica Comets is perhaps the most misunderstood player the Canucks have had since Mason Raymond. That’d be Sven Baertschi, who was called up earlier this year after dominating the AHL with Goldobin and registered two assists in six games with Vancouver.
Sure, not overly impressive. And Baertschi certainly has his detractors in the city. We also understand that any underlying numbers will come with the small sample size caveat.
But it’s still worth noting that Baertschi put up a 65.7 percent Corsi For rating, the highest on the team. He had terrible puck luck but was constantly pushing play for the Canucks.
Consider that against the players they are ostensibly keeping in Vancouver over him in Tyler Graovac, who has a great story but hasn’t shown nearly as much at the NHL level, and Zack MacEwen, who is something of a fan favourite but has looked utterly lost on the team’s top six.
And that’s without even mentioning the absolute non-factor Loui Eriksson has been this season.
We don’t think it’s a huge stretch (could easily be wrong) to predict that Goldobin gets into the lineup after a poor showing for the Canucks against the Philadelphia Flyers and coach Travis Green desperate to shake something up.
And that’s great for the young Russian.
But this certainly feels like the unjust ending for Sven Baertschi with the Canucks. If he couldn’t get into this lineup, with the many forward injuries and the scoring troubles, then he’s probably hooped.
That’s a major shame. He has another year left on his contract after this one at $3.36 million, which might be too pricey for another team to take on (likely why he wasn’t claimed on waivers). But he’s an NHL player and hopefully he gets another shot in the bigs, whether it’s for the Canucks or not.
It would probably be a mistake to buy him out, but if the team does it next summer they’ll save themselves some money and allow Baertschi to sign with someone who will actually play him.
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