First and foremost, happy birthday to Canucks defenseman Shane O'Brien on his 27th birthday today. I personally met him inside BC Place and asked him for an autograph while he was trying to buy beer. He is a very approachable, surprisingly nice man.
The offseason lingers away, as I, the hockey analyst, try to make life just that much more bearable for you, the fans. I work for you voluntarily, and I hope so far you enjoyed my support in the last month or so.
The question we all wonder, but not even head coach Alain Vigneault has a firm answer to is:
Who is best suited to play with the Sedin twins on the Canucks top line?
We all know for a fact that the Sedins have gotten used to over a handful of linemates on their right-wing in their careers. However, there hasn't been one guy that has carried 80 percent of the load for Vancouver as the hands down, firm top line right-wing since perhaps Trent Klatt. Even back then, Klatt was not a full-time Sedin linemate.
What we know currently is that Alex Burrows will not start the regular season with the Canucks due to an off-season shoulder surgery. That will take him out for about a couple of months. Mikael Samuelsson is the other guy who has spent some time with the Sedins last year, especially come playoff time. Do the Canucks put him in the top line?
If that happens, Samuelsson will need to break from his streaky nature. He has been nothing but streaky in his NHL career. Some days he is unstoppable; just skates, shoots, and scores goals. Others, he still shoots the puck, but doesn't to the right spots and goalies have no trouble stopping a goal. Nevertheless, Samuelsson becomes a prime candidate to 'become a Sedin.'
On the other hand, the Canucks know they have rising stars such as Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler, or perhaps a young prospect like Jordan Schroeder or Cody Hodgson to fill that role.
To begin the season, the Canucks definitely have some problems regarding who plays on the top line, and it trickles down to the rest of the guys on the second and third lines. The fourth line will probably consists of the players who grinds and shows the most heart during training camp and pre-season. Otherwise, spots are wide-opened for the young rookies and returning players.
Who do you wish to see on the Sedin line?
Thank you for reading.
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