Still on the Canucks, Burrows is optimistic about next season

AP
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When the 2015-16 season drew to a close, the consensus was that Alex Burrows had played his last game for the Vancouver Canucks. Whether via trade or buyout, the 35-year-old winger was expected to move on from the only NHL team he’d ever played for.

But after all the talk, it never did happen. The Canucks only bought out Chris Higgins. They decided to keep Burrows, who has one year left on his contract.

He’s happy he’s still around.

“I still feel I can play,” Burrows told The Province newspaper. “My body is really healthy right now and I really don’t have any hip issues like I did in the past. I really feel if I can come to camp and earn a spot, I can be a good factor.”

The one thing that Burrows gives the Canucks is versatility. He can play up and down the lineup. He can be a net-front presence on the power play; he can kill penalties. He only had nine goals in 79 games last season, but he did finish fourth on the team with 135 shots, so perhaps there was some bad shooting luck involved.

The challenge for the veteran forward has been keeping up in a young man’s league. Last year, he couldn’t train a full summer because of a rib injury. This year, he can put in the work.

“Everything is focused on speed and agility,” he said. “Hopefully I can have quicker legs coming out of turns and stops and think the game better. You see all the young guys now, their speed is at such a high level. You try to get as close to them as possible.”