Insiders View: Canucks New Checking Line

Joseph TrentonAnalyst IIIAugust 26, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 11: Raffi Torres #17 of the Buffalo Sabres goes on the attack against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 11, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

VANCOUVER--Canucks fans, be excited. Raffi Torres is coming to town. Yeah, I understand that Torres is probably not going to be the hero in Vancouver, but in a place where fans are buzzing about the Wonder Twins, and the flash of Kesler, Raymond and Burrows, fans would enjoy the strong physical presence Torres brings to the table, punishing the opposing scorers with thundering body checks.

Raffi Torres is built like a Hummer. Although he's not the tallest of players, but the man is 223lbs, with the mean streak to rough up players against the boards. Look for Torres to pair up with Manny Malhotra and perhaps their line mate Jannik Hansen in effort to frustrate the Heatley, the Iginla, the Kopitar, the Koivu of the West.

The Canucks announced the signing of forward Raffi Torres on Wednesday. Torres, the 29-year-old right-wing from Toronto, signed with the Canucks shortly after Willie Mitchell made his decision to sign a new 2-year deal with the LA Kings for $3.5 million per year, matching his salary with the Canucks.

If Jannik Hansen is outplayed in training camp, it is probably because Cody Hodgson did well enough in training camp, but needs time in a smaller role such as a 3rd line wing to develop his NHL game. Or it could be that Victor Oreskovich or Jeff Tambellini showed enough to Alain Vigneault that he is the best candidate to play on a speed, 2-way role. Regardless of the circumstances, the Canucks will use Torres as a versatile player either in a fill-in scoring role or give him the nod to play in a gritty third line capacity.

Raffi Torres was a player that the Vancouver Canucks targeted in August, hoping the marketplace would settle down, before the team pursued Torres, hoping to find some sandpaper, some grit and hands that can net 15-20 goals for them in a defensive checking role.

The former-Oiler is excited to join the Canucks after playing last season as a Blue Jacket and a Sabre. With Columbus, Torres managed to score 19 goals in 60 games before getting dealt to the Sabres at the trading deadline. He finished with just 5 assists in 14 regular season games and 2 assists in the post-season.

Be excited if you are a Canucks fan.