It’s no surprise that O’Brien’s been in the hot seat for most of his time in Vancouver. Be it for taking bad penalties, own goals or glaring errors that cost the Canucks. He’s probably the only person that gets more flak for going to the penalty box than Mats Sundin. That and the fact we had Schneider just sitting ready to go lead to O’Brien’s timeout in the press box.
With that in mind it’s no surprise the Canucks have a couple of extra defenceman and I’m fairly sure it’s a no-brainer if you had to pick between O’Brien and Schneider. Shane’s salary is large enough that he’s not someone you want sitting out of games regularly and as quiet as O’Brien’s been about it I’m sure he isn’t the type to just shut up and sit his season away in the press box.
O’Brien’s been slotted in recently and I think this is his time to shine and he’s being showcased. With Lukowich on the farm, and Schneider’s experience O’Brien just doesn’t have the fit he needs on this blueline. While he’s still a young defenceman with promise, his play of late that’s seen him notch a few assists, get in a fight, and solid play. Most importantly his play of late has been penalty free with the exception of the fighting major against Anaheim. The way O’Brien’s playing right now, if you’re Gillis you have to be thinking of some way to package the guy up in a deal that sees multiple players leave Vancouver and one return.
O’Brien’s been quiet, he hasn’t said much about his limited play, but he’s not a staple on this team and there’s nights where he leaves much to be desired. With his status on the roster almost a day to day decision, it’s starting to come off that he’s being played sparingly at times just to showcase his talent and his penalty-free ability.
O’Brien’s been alright while he’s been here, but he’s a penalty liability, and with the exception of his last handful of games, he’s lacked penalty-free grit, hasn’t fought, and his offensive game leaves much to be desired. This isn’t a post to slag on Shane O’Brien. He hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t been good, and to be honest the guy has grown on me. However, as we approach the New Year, Olympic Break, and ultimately the trade deadline, you have to think that he’s being showcased right now and will be gone before the end of the year.