I’m actually not surprised that the first call-ups this season worked out to be Tanner Glass, Guilluame Desbiens and Aaron Rome, over say, Michael Grabner. Remember that the Canucks promoted Mason Raymond to the second line to replace Sergei Shirokov, and promoted Steve Bernier to the first line to replace Daniel Sedin; and thus, they needed to replace Shirokov and Raymond on Kyle Wellwood’s third line. At the time, the Canucks were looking for defensively-responsible bottom-six players and Glass and Desbiens fit that profile better than Grabner.
But the lineup in Sunday’s win against the Dallas Stars had mixed results. Getting the two points was nice (which by the way I’m not complaining about), but it was obvious that the Canucks’ offense didn’t have the same pop as when they averaged of 38.8 shots per game in their first four games. Against the Stars, the Canucks threw 25 shots at Marty Turco, 17 of them from the top two lines.
With Daniel Sedin and Sami Salo out for 4 to 6 weeks, the question is the kind of team the Canucks want to ice in the next little while.
If the Canucks want to play a more conservative style while their leading goal scorer and best overall defenseman recover from their injuries, then they’ll probably recall a Matt Pope or give Desbiens another chance. (Incidentally, Desbiens probably played as well as could be expected from a bottom-six player – just over 9 minutes in playing time, a couple of hits, some good forechecking, some bad giveaways, and a minor penalty – before being sent back down to the Manitoba Moose today.)
If the Canucks want to return to playing three scoring lines, then look for Grabner or Shirokov to get the call. Grabner will be an intriguing choice because his less-than-stellar preseason has been well-documented. That said, he’s off to a fast start in the AHL and already has 8 points (5G-3A) in the Moose’s first six games, and a call-up to a team that is looking for more offense is perhaps now well-deserved.