It’s tempting to think that Alex Burrows would be sour that the Canucks signed Radim Vrbata to play with the Sedins.
After all, it was Burrows who was skating five-on-five with the twins when they were taking turns leading the NHL in scoring.
And it was Burrows who, despite going undrafted out of junior and starting his pro career in the ECHL, complemented their unique style.
And it was Burrows who Henrik Sedin once said “plays exactly the way we play. He goes in, puts the puck in an area where we know it’s going to be. He’s really easy to play with.”
Yet heading into the 2014-15 season, per the Vancouver Sun, it’s Burrows who’s openly talking up the potential of Vrbata with the twins.
“I always thought, personally, that they’d be better with a right-handed guy,” said Burrows, who shoots left. “I think sometimes on the cycle a right-handed shot would work well (in the slot) when Danny and Hank work in the right corner. We tried to make it work … but a righty there might be good.”
The key for Vrbata, in addition to getting open in a shooting position and burying the chances he’s given, will be to participate in the cycle game, like Burrows did. Because when you play with the twins, it’s not enough to just camp out in the slot and wait for one-timers.
“Before, some people, coaches and media, they wanted to put a big guy with us that just goes in front of the net and stands there, but a lot of times when we’ve played with those guys teams have played us 4-on-2 down in the corners and we haven’t had the third guy to pass the puck to,” Henrik said in 2011, without naming the likes of former, less-successful linemates Steve Bernier and Taylor Pyatt.
Said Vrbata on his decision to sign with the Canucks: “I was looking for a good fit to play with the right players, and when my agent told me Vancouver was interested, right away you start thinking about the Sedins. This seemed like the best option.”
In theory, absolutely.
Now it’s time to prove that theory.