The Vancouver Canucks got down to nine defenseman today, placing 23-year-old Andrey Pedan on waivers with hopes of being able to assign him to the AHL.
The Canucks lost a young defenseman, Frank Corrado, to waivers last year, so fingers will be crossed that Pedan — a big, physical blue-liner — will clear. Pedan is not a top prospect, but he’s depth that the Canucks may need should they run into injuries again.
Yesterday, Vancouver sent d-man Olli Juolevi, the fifth overall draft pick in 2016, back to junior.
So, as mentioned, there are still nine defenseman on the roster. The emergence of Troy Stecher has complicated matters considerably. The 22-year-old rookie doesn’t require waivers to be sent to the AHL, but so far in the preseason he’s outplayed NHL returnee Philip Larsen, who was brought in to run the power play.
Other complicating matters include Nikita Tryamkin‘s reported out-clause that allows him to return to Russia should he be assigned to the AHL.
There’s also next summer’s expansion draft to consider, in that each team must expose at least one defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season, or who played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons. That gives the Canucks reason to keep (and play) Luca Sbisa and/or Alex Biega, neither of whom qualify to be exposed yet.
Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Erik Gudbranson, and Ben Hutton are the four locks to start the season on Vancouver’s defense.
Related: There’s one ‘vision’ in Vancouver this season, and that’s winning