When the Moose came to town to play the Heat there were a few players who stood out to me. There were Eddie Lack, who was solid in net, and Cody Hodgson, who had the quietest two goal night anyone could have. I noticed Jonas Anderson for his positional play, Billy Sweat for his speed and Lee Sweat for being so tiny. I also noticed Aaron Volpatti because the 6’0, 215lb forward was putting on a hit parade where he was conductor, marching band and the procession of floats to follow up.
The Canucks have done a good job of testing their depth this season. They’ve gone through a whole range of fourth line forwards and while no one person has really stolen that spot – except Bolduc who seems to have stolen Vigneault’s heart – that may be to the Canucks’ advantage.
With a fourth line that has wingers playing as few as four minutes a night (see Jonas Andersson) I don’t prescribe by the theory that our fourth line needs skill. On a team with three top lines that aren’t overly physical at the best of times, the Canucks’ fourth line has the opportunity to make the most of their 4 minutes a night with a bit of bumping and bruising after they clear the puck.
Against the Heat, Volpatti, a native of Revelstoke, was a physical force. He was crumpling players and leaving bodies in his wake at both ends of the ice. The fourth line could use the energy of a guy like Volpatti who’s eager to make an impact on the ice with the big club.
After he leveled Mitch Wahl of the Heat, he went on to absolutely obliterate Piskanen in a fight. Tanner Glass can chuck knuckles, but with Rick Rypien out of the lineup, the Canucks are missing that fearless fighter. Bieksa show’s flashes of anger but Volpatti has the potential to have a big impact.
The Canucks fourth line needs to be more aggressive. While their ice time is a large drop off from the players on the third line, their role is not insignificant. In their own way, they can be game changers by playing physical and throwing big hits that can serve as turning points in the game.