For the first time since 2005, the Vancouver Canucks will hit the ice without Alex Burrows on their roster.
They face the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night with a little less bite, a little less snarl, and a little less leadership in their lineup. The time was right for Burrows to move on from this team, but he’s undoubtedly left his legacy on the franchise.
Burrows has left this organization with so many memories, from becoming the most successful “triplet” in franchise history, to slaying the dragon back in 2011. He was a character both on an off the ice, and it was never a dull moment with Burrows around. One Canuck has heavy shoes to fill, to step up and be the fan-favourite.
This might not be the last trade for the Canucks leading up to the trade deadline. Burrows was their most movable asset, but Jannik Hansen and Ryan Miller remain viable trade candidates. Still, Jim Benning has already struck a win by not sitting on his hands during trading season.
The Red Wings are in a similar, yet unfamiliar position compared to the Canucks. Their most movable asset is winger Thomas Vanek, who reportedly could sit out this game to avoid injury. The Red Wings let their first trade chip fall earlier in the day. They traded unrestricted free agent-to-be Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers.
Red Wings Trade Brendan Smith to Rangers – https://t.co/XUbn3Q2TPl #hockey #THW pic.twitter.com/jVcFC7Fo2V
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) February 28, 2017
Both dressing rooms will be tense leading up to this matchup. As the last game before the deadline, the trade chatter hangs like a big black cloud over centre ice. For the players, sometimes the best distraction is just to go out and play.
Brendan Smith may already be 28 years old but it doesn't matter, even when he's 38 he'll still be an intriguing prospect to me.
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 28, 2017
Detroit Red Wings at Vancouver Canucks
Tuesday, Feb. 28, Rogers Arena, 7:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast Channels: SN, FS-D
2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 10 – Canucks 1 – Red Wings 3
Detroit Red Wings: 24-26-10, 58 Points, 16th in Eastern Conference
Hot Players: Henrik Zetterberg (11 points last 10 GP), Anthony Mantha (8 points last 10 GP)
Key Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard
Tomas Tatar – Henrik Zetterberg – Anthony Mantha
Andreas Athanasiou – Frans Nielsen – Dylan Larkin
Justin Abdelkader – Darren Helm – Drew Miller
Luke Glendening – Riley Sheahan – Steve Ott
Danny Dekeyser – Mike Green
Niklas Kronwall – Ryan Sproul
Xavier Ouellet – Nick Jensen
Vancouver Canucks: 26-29-6, 58 Points, 11th in Western Conference
Hot Players: Daniel Sedin (Four-game point streak), Bo Horvat (6 points last 6 GP)
Key Injuries: Jacob Markstrom, Jack Skille, Sven Baertschi, Anton Rodin, Erik Gudbranson, Derek Dorsett
Mumps: Chris Tanev (possible to play), Troy Stecher (probable to play), Michael Chaput, Markus Granlund (probable to play), Nikita Tryamkin, Ben Hutton (probable to play)
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
Reid Boucher – Bo Horvat – Loui Eriksson
Markus Granlund – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Joseph LaBate – Brendan Gaunce – Alex Grenier
Alex Edler – Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa – Philip Larsen
Ben Hutton – Alex Biega
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Between injuries, mumps, and trades, this is one of the most ravaged Canucks lineups in recent memory. Even with Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher expected to suit up for the Canucks tonight, Vancouver could still be missing up to ten regulars. That includes Jacob Markstrom, who was reportedly injured during the Canucks skills competition over the weekend.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] The latest update from Canucks practice shows a few Canucks returning from their bout with the mumps. Troy Stecher should slip back into the lineup on defence, along with defenceman Ben Hutton. Chris Tanev didn’t practice but he is still a game time decision. Markus Granlund practiced on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna, giving up his spot on the top line to Hansen. Perhaps the Canucks are showcasing Hansen one last time before the trade deadline.
Canucks are studying the possibility of trading Ryan Miller. Flames and Sharks are among teams looking for a goaltender. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 28, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] With Ryan Miller’s name heating up in trade conversations, do the Canucks elect to go with third-string goaltender Richard Bachman for tonight’s matchup? If Miller is about to be traded, it makes no sense to start him in net for tonight’s game, even if it is against his hometown team. However, Miller came off the ice first at practice, so it looks like he will start. Bachman has one career start for the Canucks, and it was a 4-3 Canucks win over the Arizona Coyotes back on October 30th, 2015.
If #Canucks move Miller today, I assume Richard Bachman Overdrive will be… taking care of business.. 😎@CanucksArmy
— Kevin Doughty (@no_doughty) February 28, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Speaking of the goaltenders, Miller made his impression in Motown during the last meeting between these two teams. With just over two minutes to go, the Canucks pulled Miller to try and tie the game. The Red Wings forced a turnover, and Henrik Zetterberg fired it into an empty net. A diving Miller came back to make one of the saves of the season.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Which of these two sellers will be busier leading up to the deadline? They have each made one deal each at the time of writing, with more trade chips likely to fall. The Red Wings are all but guaranteed to trade Vanek, but will they also shop pieces such as Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, or Riley Sheahan? Selling is an unfamiliar territory for Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, so it will be interested to watch his actions leading up to the deadline.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]6)[/miptheme_dropcap] It was fitting that Burrows played his last game in a Canucks uniform on a line with the Sedin twins. “It felt like old times,” said Daniel Sedin on TSN 1040 Tuesday morning. Burrows’ energy both on and off the ice will be missed in the Canucks lineup, and some of Daniel Sedin’s quotes highlight what type of player the Ottawa Senators are getting. Even though many in Ottawa are criticizing the move, Burrows’ new teammates are likely the most thrilled about the trade.
Daniel Sedin on Burrows: "When you're his teammate and friend, you realize he's the ultimate team and family guy." #Canucks
— Canucks Now (@CanucksNow) February 28, 2017