Anton Rodin‘s second stint in North America is off to a promising start. The 25-year-old winger scored his second goal of the preseason last night for the Vancouver Canucks. Both goals have been one-timers, the first off a pass from Troy Stecher, the second from Bo Horvat.
It’s the kind of finishing the Canucks have been looking for, after they finished with the second-fewest goals in the NHL last season.
Rodin was originally drafted by Vancouver, all the way back in 2009. In 2013, after two disappointing seasons in the AHL, he returned to Sweden and found his game with SHL club Brynäs IF.
In January, Rodin suffered a freak, season-ending knee injury during practice, but with 37 points (16G, 21A) in 33 games up to then, he’d already done enough to be named the MVP of the league. The Canucks signed him in March.
“The knee gets sore after games and some practices, but I think I just have to get used to all the work I have to do – the icing and stretching a lot,” Rodin said recently, per The Province.
“I have to live with it for a while. But I’m stronger and more confident than the last time I was in the NHL and it’s easier for me now. But I still have to bust my ass every day and that’s how I play my best. If I’m a hard worker, I’m a better player and if I’m not, I won’t be.”
There is plenty of competition for a roster spot among the Canucks forwards. Rodin has made a good impression. So have youngsters Brendan Gaunce and Joseph Labate. Ditto for veterans on PTOs Tuomo Ruutu and Jack Skille.
It could mean that 20-year-old Jake Virtanen, currently out with a shoulder injury, starts the season in the AHL. But there are still three preseason games to go, so for now, everything is up in the air.