Just in time. The Vancouver Canucks depth chart on defence, still not the team’s strong suit, appears to be nine players deep. With thirteen games remaining they suddenly have options.
Right shots Kyle Burroughs (upper body), who hasn’t played since February 19th at home against the Anaheim Ducks, and Tucker Poolman (illness) out since the January 27th game at the Winnipeg Jets, could both make an appearance on Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights. A third righty D-man, Brady Keeper, out long-term while recovering from a broken leg suffered at training camp, is close.
“I’m hoping. They haven’t been in a real practice situation,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said after practice Thursday, “we had to get them into a couple before we make a decision whether they’re going to play or not, but you’d like to think that all three of them will get an opportunity.”
The third player he’s referring to in this case isn’t Keeper, but returning forward Jason Dickinson, out since the February 24th home game against the Calgary Flames. Dickinson skated between Juhu Lammikko and Alex Chiasson at practice on Thursday.
Given the rediscovered blueline depth, Keeper likely wouldn’t play until the team is out of playoff contention.
Quinn Hughes, Luke Schenn
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers
Travis Dermott, Tucker Poolman
Brad Hunt, Kyle Burroughs
Depending on the health of the club up front, Boudreau suggested he could go with eleven forwards and seven ‘D’ on Sunday, or go standard twelve and eight and have Burroughs or Hunt play 4th-line wing. Both are capable.
The forward lines were topsy turvy at practice Thursday because captain Bo Horvat missed due to illness. Horvat left Wednesday’s home game against the St. Louis Blues late in the 1st period after feeling sick.
“Yeah, he was just throwing up this morning,” Boudreau stated Thursday. “So with the day off tomorrow there was no sense in bringing him here, so we said, ‘yeah, stay away’, the last thing we need at this point of the year is him giving it to a couple other guys.”
Tanner Pearson, JT Miller, Conor Garland
Elias Pettersson, Nic Petan, Brock Boeser
Juho Lammikko, Jason Dickinson, Alex Chiasson
Vasily Podkolzin, Brad Richardson, Will Lockwood
The team took the entire day off on Friday. The Canucks practice Saturday morning in Burnaby at 11 am.
Sunday’s game is a 4 pm matinee at Rogers Arena. Vancouver needs to win eleven of its final thirteen games to have a shot at making the playoffs.
3rd Place – Pacific Division – Edmonton Oilers – 69 games played, 83 points
1st Wild Card – Nashville Predators – 68 games played, 82 points
2nd Wild Card – Vegas Golden Knights – 70 games played, 80 points
Dallas Stars – 66 games played, 79 points
Winnipeg Jets – 69 games played, 76 points
Vancouver Canucks – 69 games played, 73 points