Andrey Pedan

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Canucks recall Jordan Subban

The Vancouver Canucks have called up defenseman Jordan Subban from the AHL.

Subban, the youngest brother of Nashville’s P.K. Subban, has nine goals and 13 assists in 34 games for the Utica Comets this season. The 21-year-old is not very big, and he’s had to work on his defensive play, but as his statistics suggest, he does have good offensive abilities.

It remains to be seen if Subban will actually play for the Canucks, who host Florida tomorrow and then hit the road for a three-game road trip starting Sunday in Chicago. Vancouver also announced today that d-man Andrey Pedan has been reassigned to the AHL. Pedan’s 30-days waivers exemption was set to expire today; hence, that move.

Subban is unlikely to get into the lineup unless Troy Stecher is unable to play. Stecher has reportedly been battling the flu and only logged 11:50 of ice time in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Nashville.

The Canucks have three defensemen on injured reserve: Erik Gudbranson, Ben Hutton, and Philip Larsen.

Related: Jordan Subban has ‘a great opportunity’ to prove himself to Canucks

Another injury on Vancouver’s defense: This time, it’s Ben Hutton

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Another day, another injured Canucks defenseman.

This time, it’s Ben Hutton, who’s expected to be out “for a bit” after missing Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Calgary with an upper-body injury (reportedly a hand injury).

The Canucks actually had to play with just five defenseman on Saturday, as Chris Tanev was also out with an injury. But Tanev, unlike Hutton, will travel with the team to Nashville, where Vancouver will start a two-game road trip Tuesday. The second stop is Thursday in Philadelphia.

It remains to be seen which six d-men will dress against the Predators. Andrey Pedan is expected to be recalled from AHL Utica. He could play if Tanev still can’t. 

Also of note, Nikita Tryamkin, one of the five d-men who played Saturday, seemed to hurt his shoulder on a big hit from Micheal Ferland. But Tryamkin only left the game for a short time, and he ended up logging 21:59 of ice time.

Prior to the Hutton injury, the Canucks already had two defensemen, Erik Gudbranson and Philip Larsen, on injured reserve.

Hutton may soon be placed on IR himself. The 23-year-old has four goals and seven assists in 41 games and has averaged 20:59 of ice time.

Injuries have forced Vancouver to dress nine different defensemen this season. Only Luca Sbisa has played all 42 games.

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Related: The Canucks have a big decision to make with Erik Gudbranson

Canucks ink Pedan, Grenier to one-year extensions

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Vancouver has re-upped with a pair of AHL Utica standouts — on Tuesday, the club announced defenseman Andrey Pedan and forward Alexandre Grenier signed one-year, two-way deals.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pedan, 23, is a big-bodied (6-foot-5, 217 pounds), physical blueliner that will likely battle for one of the club’s last spots on defense. A former Isles draftee, he appeared in 13 games for the Canucks last year, spending most of his time with the Comets — where he posted career highs in almost every statistical category.

Cracking the blueline won’t be easy. The Canucks aren’t loaded with talent at the position, but there is quite a bit of depth with Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin, Philip Larsen and Alex Biega all in the mix.

Grenier, 24, led Utica in scoring with 48 points last season, and made seven appearances with the Canucks. Like Pedan, he also boasts good size (6-foot-4, 211 pounds) and could be in position for a fourth-line role with the big club.

It’s worth noting both Grenier and Pedan would require waivers to be assigned to the AHL next season.

 

 

 

Linden explains decision to not re-sign Hamhuis

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First the Canucks didn’t get anything for Dan Hamhuis at the trade deadline. Then they let him walk away for nothing in free agency. Then they watched him sign a two-year deal in Dallas with a cap hit of just $3.75 million.

Suffice to say, there are fans in Vancouver who aren’t very happy with how the Hamhuis situation played out. The 33-year-old defenseman wanted to stay. He clearly wouldn’t have cost a fortune to keep. He’s still pretty good, too.

On Tuesday, Canucks president of hockey ops Trevor Linden went on TSN 1040 radio and explained what happened, per Today’s Slapshot.

“I think basically when we made the move for Erik Gudbranson, when we looked at our group – [Alex Edler and Chris Tanev] and Gudbranson – we wanted to go with a younger group,” said Linden. “There’s opportunity there for younger players. We didn’t have the room and the fit wasn’t right.”

The Canucks may have had no choice. As Linden noted, Edler, Tanev and Gudbranson weren’t going anywhere. Neither, of course, was young Ben Hutton. And they signed Philip Larsen to run the power play. And if Nikita Tryamkin is sent to the AHL, he can reportedly opt to go back to Russia. And Andrey Pedan will need to clear waivers next season. And Alex Biega has a two-year, one-way contract.

That’s eight defensemen already, and we haven’t even mentioned Luca Sbisa. If the Canucks were ever going to re-sign Hamhuis, they’d have likely needed to trade Sbisa, who has two years remaining on his contract with a $3.6 million cap hit — which would not be easy to trade.

And so the Canucks, a team that just gave Loui Eriksson a whole pile of money in hopes of making a return to the playoffs, will head into next season with a proven top pairing of Edler and Tanev, but big question marks below. The plan right now is for Hutton, a rookie last season, to form a second pair with Gudbranson. It remains to be seen who will be on the third pair once the regular season gets underway. The best guess is Sbisa with Larsen.

Perhaps it will work out. The veterans will stay healthy, and the youngsters will come through. That’s what the Canucks are banking on.

If not, expect to hear the name Hamhuis a lot, especially if he finds success with the Stars.

Stars get Hamhuis (after failing to get him at the trade deadline)

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The Dallas Stars tried to get Dan Hamhuis at the trade deadline, but they made Kris Russell the priority and the Vancouver Canucks weren’t interested in their lowball offer.

Well, the Stars got Hamhuis today. They’ve signed the 33-year-old defenseman to a two-year deal with a cap hit of $3.75 million.

It could be a good bargain for Dallas, which has already lost Alex Goligoski to free agency and is expected to lose Jason Demers and Russell the same way.

“I believe I have many good years of hockey left,” Hamhuis told Sportsnet recently. “I played in the Olympics two years ago. Last year, there were two major injuries and in the last 10 weeks I played my best hockey in a long time. I’ve got lots of ‘top-4 D’ hockey left in me, and my goal in summer training is to be the best defenseman on my new team. I will find a team that values what I do.”

The Canucks will miss Hamhuis. He was a big part of their run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, until he was injured trying to hipcheck Milan Lucic.

But Vancouver decided to spend its cap space on Loui Eriksson, giving the 30-year-old winger a six-year, $36 million deal. The Canucks are expected to go with Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton and newly acquired Erik Gudbranson as their top-four defenders next season. Luca SbisaNikita TryamkinAlex Biega, Andrey Pedan and newly signed Philip Larsen should also compete for playing time.