Canucks Season Preview Series: Raffi’s Redemption

[As we approach the start of the NHL regular season, members of the Canucks blogosphere give their two cents about your Vancouver Canucks and address the issues, questions and expectations of the team in their 40th year anniversary.]

Raffi Torres, Vancouver Canucks

At the Canucks’ training camp in Penticton, coach Alain Vigneault had this to say about Raffi Torres:

I’m not interested in what has happened to him in the past. He’s got a clean slate and he’s got to have the work ethic we’re looking for and so far that’s what I’ve seen.

For all intents and purposes, we’ll assume here that he’s talking about Raffi finishing the 2009/2010 season scoring 0 goals in his last 19 games (including every game he played with the Buffalo Sabres).

Between 2003 and 2007, Raffi was a 30-40-point scorer for the Edmonton Oilers and a key player in their unexpected run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006. He suffered through a couple of injury-plagued seasons after that, and then rebounded nicely a bit last season (or at least he rebounded nicely in the first 60 games of last season).

When healthy, he’s exactly the kind of fast, gritty, tough-to-play-against winger the Canucks wanted to add to their bottom-six.

“That is a big part of my game, being a guy who will finish hits and try to change the momentum of a game at some point,” Torres said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do. I’ll sit down with (coach) Alain Vigneault when I get there and I’m sure he will let me know what he expects out of me. But I think I know what I need to bring.”

We hope so.

Richard: Raffi brings size, and a lot less “suck” than Bernier. It’ll be interesting to see if he can return to form but at the very least he brings some much needed grit to the team. Secondary scoring from him would be nice, but as we saw last year, scoring won’t be one of the Canucks main concerns this campaign.

Chris: When I saw what the Canucks to paid to get Raffi on board, I was quite happy (although from what I saw on Twitter, I might have been the only one). In his NHL career, Raffi has averaged a point every two games while playing a rough and tumble style of game – and Vancouver got that for a clean million in a year. Now I’m sure many of his naysayers will point out that of those points he brings, he scored a whole whack load against the Canucks, but I’m thinking he understands the position he is in and will play well to ensure he gets a far better contract (albeit somewhere else) next season.

Katie: I hope Raffi starts his season strong and adds some grit to the bottom-six. Unlike a lot of Canucks fans, I think it was smart to add him to the team. Oh, and he can piss off other teams for once.

Cam from Canucks Army: Yes, of course he can. The problem with Torres is his lack of consistency. If he can get his legs quickly on the second line to start the year, he’ll have a great year. However, if Torres ends up slow, he’ll end up bouncing around the line-up to try to find him a spot. If that happens, he’ll lose his consistency and he might up having a lacklustre season.

J.J. Guerrero

Founder and Executive Editor of Canucks Hockey Blog. Proud Canadian, hardcore Canucks fan. I would like nothing more than watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Against the Leafs.

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