Three years after the Canucks selected him with the 14th overall draft pick, Michael Grabner will finally make his NHL debut.
The Vancouver Canucks have recalled forward Michael Grabner from the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
Grabner, Vancouver’s first-round draft choice in 2006, will make his NHL debut Friday when the Canucks play in Calgary.
The 23-year-old Austrian is considered a scoring winger, a better finisher than playmaker. He has four goals and six points in five games with Manitoba this season. Over the last two AHL seasons, Grabner has 52 goals.
Grabner’s early season play had earned him some encouraging words from Moose coach, Scott Arniel, and veteran teammate Mike Keanel, and no doubt a recommendation to Mike Gillis for him to replace the lost offense thanks to long-term injuries to Daniel Sedin and Sami Salo.
Presented with a second chance now, Moose head coach Scott Arniel said it will be up to Grabner to seize the moment and prove he belongs in Vancouver, not Winnipeg.
“It’s nice to see him get a chance. He’s earned it and now it’s up to him,” Arniel said this morning prior to his team’s skate at MTS Centre in preparation for tonight’s game against the Abbotsford Heat.
“He could be up there as long as Daniel is out — and if he really shows well, he could be up there the rest of the year. It’s up to him. Hopefully he makes the most of his opportunity.”
The sentiment was echoed by Moose captain — and three time Stanley Cup champion — Mike Keane. “He’s got big-league talent,” said Keane. “He’s obviously got big league skill — it’s going to be up to him up there to make the adjustment.”
Better than he did in the preseason, we hope.