If there’s one thing Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis has prided himself on since his arrival in town, it’s been the team’s improved depth throughout the organization – and the constant quest to improve it even further.
And that depth is about to be tested in the coming weeks. For starters, the team has been playing with just 12 forwards on the active roster after 13th man Andrew Ebbett went down with an injury last week. In fact, with no extra players to slot into the lineup, defenceman Aaron Rome – he of the recent offensive outburst – nearly had to play as a forward when Alex Burrows had to sit out due to back spasms.
Burrows has since returned to the lineup, but the team is still carrying no extra forwards. In addition to Burrows playing through back spasms – which don’t tend to go away overnight – and Ryan Kesler admitting this week that he has been playing through the pain from his off-season hip surgery, the team also lost grinder Steve Pinizzotto for the season, after his shoulder injury failed to improve. Now, Pinizzotto, who was signed in the off-season to add depth to the Canucks’ bottom two lines as well play with the Chicago Wolves, had not played a single game in the NHL this season, but his loss still hurts the team’s overall depth up front.
Making matters worse, goaltender Roberto Luongo won’t be in the crease, or even on the bench, tonight when the Canucks face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s listed as day-to-day with an “upper body injury” and will watch Wednesday from the press box. Eddie Lack has been recalled from the Wolves, and will back up Cory Schneider until Luongo is able to return.
And Lack may not be the only Wolves players making the trek west. If too many more forwards get banged up, the Canucks are going to bite the bullet and recall at least one, and possibly two, forwards from the farm.
Unless, of course, Aaron Rome can play two positions at once. Given his track record recently, I wouldn’t put it past him.