With Demitra factoring back into the equation it looks like as far as forwards go we’re back at square one. The same problem we were going to have to deal with in game one of the season had we not been hit with that ridiculous number of simultaneous injuries. The interesting thing is now that we’re half way through the season the players have formed this chemistry that I for one wouldn’t want to tinker with. I know Vigneault’s a smart man and I have a feeling he isn’t going to tinker with things too much either.
That means the Canucks have a 4 million dollar man and they have to find something to do with him. The only immediate thing to do is throw him on the 3rd line, like the Canucks have and when you think about this it should have some positive effects on the team as a whole. Demitra knows his place on the team. He’s a Mike Gillis player and I have no reason to believe that there’s bad blood between the two, or between Demitra and the team as there was a la Mathieu Schneider. With that said, Demitra’s going to need a few games to get his stuff together and even once he returns to game shape he doesn’t have a spot on the top line for obvious reasons, but his spot on the second line is gone at the moment just because there’s no point in tinkering with a hot and cold Samuelsson who at the moment is pretty hot.
So, you put Demitra on the third line. Let that sink in for a moment and then ponder this. You have a slumping Wellwood and a snake bitten Hansen (last game notwithstanding) and you want them both to find their scoring touch. What do you do? With Demitra skating along side Wellwood and Hansen you can’t help but think this team now has 3 lines that are dangerous. We go from being a 2 line team to a 3 line team, and the depth just keeps going. We still have Grabner and Bernier to return at some point. But back to the point at hand. Demitra, a former 60 point guy, playing alongside Wellwood could really help him re-spark his game. He’s been under the gun for his lack of production and while that third line isn’t going to get a lot of minutes, they provide another scoring threat when they’re on the ice.
Demitra can’t expect to get his second line spot back. It’s not his fault he lost it, but it’s just unrealistic at this point to place him there and deliberately tweak already excellent chemistry. If Demitra can play effectively with whoever his 3rd line line-mates are he’s going to be doing exactly what he needs to. His role is going to be the same offensive oriented one he’s always had, he’s just going to have to be more efficient at it in the fewer minutes he’ll be getting. He’ll also take the point over from Mason Raymond (bless his little heart but that point shot is just… *sigh*) and with some power play time once Pavol finds his game this Canucks offensive juggernaut is just going to keep on rolling.
I don’t think any other team can say they have a 4 million dollar top 6 forward on their 3rd line, but with the insertion of Demitra into that 3rd line winger position the Canucks now go from have a 2nd and 3rd line, to a 2a and 2b line which I don’t think anyone can complain about.