Since Jeff Tambellini got called up the numbers have spoken for themselves. After playing 180 career games in the NHL between the Kings and Islanders he started the season on the Canucks farm team. He hadn’t found his fit in Long Island and was looking to make the Canucks roster. Who knew adding a little speed alongside Alberta native was all it took?
With the purest wrist shot this city has seen since Markus Naslund (we can start the Tambellini-Kesler wrist shot debate another day), Tambellini has stepped up to earn a spot on this team that already had good forward depth. That said, forward depth is never a bad problem to have, especially when you realize your team has a damn good third line in Manny Malhotra, Mikael Samuelsson and Raffi Torres.
While Samuelsson has a big shot that saw him explode in the second half of last season, he can’t keep up with the speed of Kesler and Raymond. Skating on a line with Hansen and Kesler, Tambellini’s been able to transfer his speed into offensive chances and points with linemates that can keep up with him. When Raymond returns it will be interesting to see how the lines shuffle. Hansen has proved this season that he doesn’t deserve fourth line relegation. Tambellini has also proven that his success comes from being placed in an offensive role.
With Tambellini’s success on the second line – he’s currently riding a six-game points streak (4 goals, 2 assists) – Samuelsson’s fate on the third line has been sealed. The question then becomes who gets relegated to the fourth line. The Canucks could put Torres on the fourth and keep Hansen on the third; however, in all likelihood Hansen ends up being the one shafted to the fourth line. Canucks management are going to have to play a bit of player Jenga to move things around but one thing is clear, Jeff Tambellini is here to stay.