Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Surprise Moves for Joel Perrault and Jonas Andersson

Jonas Andersson might be okay at hockey.

The Canucks announced today that Joel Perrault has been re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose. This in itself was surprising, as the 4th line had shown steady improvement with Perrault in the lineup and it was assumed by many that he had earned his spot as the 4th-line center and would need a few games of poor play to lose it. Instead, it appears that Alexandre Bolduc, who re-joined the team as an emergency call-up last game, will slot back in immediately.

The second surprise was the player called up from the Moose to replace Perrault: Jonas Andersson. Many Canucks fans will simply respond with "Who?" and it's difficult to blame them. Andersson had a cup of coffee at the NHL level with the Nashville Predators...8 years ago. This season for the Moose was his first in North America since 2003, spending the intervening years in Sweden, Finland, and Belarus. He re-signed with the Predators in the offseason but was packaged up with Ryan Parent in the Shane O'Brien trade. Unlike Victor Oreskovich, who got a lot of attention as the throw-in player in the Keith Ballard deal, no one paid any attention to Andersson, which is entirely understandable. Oreskovich played 50 games for the Florida Panthers last season; Andersson played 30 games with HC Dinamo Minsk.

Instead, it's been Andersson that has been more impressive with the Moose this year, combining size, speed, and skill in the top-six and putting up 6 points in 12 games, most recently scoring 2 points in 4 games last week. Meanwhile, Oreskovich has slipped below management's radar: he hasn't scored a goal since October 16th and has no points since November 12th.

With Mikael Samuelsson out of the lineup with a "mild" concussion, it's possible that Andersson could make the jump to the third line with some strong play. JJ Guerrero at Canucks Hockey Blog had speculated that we might see Cody Hodgson called up in place of Samuelsson, but it seems that the Canucks will prefer him to spend a longer period of time with the Moose and only give him a call if they have need of a center.

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