Today the Canucks announced some more roster cuts. They placed Funk, Nycholat and Lukowich on the waiver wire and announced that Cody Hodgson would be sent back to his OHL team the Brampton Battallion.
What this all means is that in the battle between Hodgson and Shirokov over a single remaining roster spot, Shirokov won. Which brings to light some other questions which led to a bet between Brian of CanucksCorner.com and myself over how Shirokov will do. For the record All You Can Eat Sushi is on the line. I’ve bet that Shirokov will break or tie the Canucks Rookie record for points in a season with 60. Brian’s cautiously taken the opposite stance, but I know as a Canucks fan he would love to see it happen. There’s a number of reasons I can see this happening.
Firstly the Sedins need someone on the wing when they play the powerplay. If last season is any indication of that it’s clear Burrows will continue to be Mr. I-can-get-more-5-on-5-even-strength-points-than-Alex-Ovechkin and Samuelsson who played with the Sedins on team Sweden, or Shirokov will likely take that first PP wing slot. Shirokov’s play in the pre-season on the powerplay suggested that it would be an instant success, but I’m still holding out to see what happens in the regular season. Either way though, if he gets time with the Sedins he’s bound to rack up some points, he’s a step above Anson Carter, and we all know how Anson Carter proved to us the pylon theory is true. If Shirokov loses that first line PP spot to Samuelsson, or who ever is the hot hand at the time it’s more than likely he’ll get second PP unit time.
Shirokov’s also going to be playing alongside Kesler and Samuelsson getting second line minutes. He’s a play maker and playing with a sniper/play maker in Kesler and Samuelsson who in the last few pre-season games started showing signs of soft-pass-Sedin-cycling play. Shirokov can dish, but he can also finish, so whether he’s setting up his two line mates, or taking the feed from Kesler, I see good things happening there. Assuming he pans out with Kesler and solidifies his second line spot, the return of Demitra might only serve to increase his numbers even more. Demitra’s a solid 60 point player who could certainly help Shirkov bump his point total.
Shirokov sees the ice really well and he can move. He can skate and he can puck handle and I think if you place speed alongside speed you’ll see results. Gillis focused on making this team younger and faster and Shirokov certainly factors into that. His attitude, his determination and his skill set to me scream of a Calder candidacy. If he can go the whole season without getting sent down, or getting injured I think he has a real good shot at 60 points. You can say all you want about the pre-season being no indication of the regular season, but I’m taking his 7 points (2 goals and 5 assists) in 4 games at face value. I’m hyping the kid, I think he’s the best thing since the invention of sliced bread, and I think number 25 is going to wow Canucks fans.
Oh, and for those of you wondering, the title means ‘Boy Wonder’ in Russian.