Canucks Trade Deadline Preview: Zenon Konopka Not the Ideal Fourth Line Centre

Kevin WContributor IIFebruary 15, 2011

Zenon Konopka
Zenon KonopkaJim McIsaac/Getty Images

After the recent rash of injuries fans believe the Vancouver Canucks need to add an experienced NHL defenceman - or two. However, the Canucks don't have the cap space to do so and it's also not necessary.

Dan Hamhuis has begun light workouts, Keith Ballard should return to the lineup in early March and Alexander Edler in early April.

The best indication of Hamhuis and Ballard’s health is the fact the Canucks chose not to put either on long-term injured reserve. They also could have call up an extra forward (with Alex Burrows suffering from a bruised foot). This means the Canucks expect both to be back in less than 10 games or 24 days.

The Canucks need to add a fourth line centre more than a defensemen because there is no at that spot returning from injury.They have been without a natural centre for most of the season and if Alex Bolduc ever makes it back up to the Canucks, he should not be allowed to play centre and take faceoffs. He injured his shoulder twice taking faceoffs and has a disappointing 48% efficiency in the circle.

Zenon Konopka appears to be the sexy choice because he brings toughness, pugnacity, and faceoff ability, but he's not the player the Canucks need.The Canucks need a fourth line centre that doesn’t treat the puck like a ticking time bomb. They need somebody that can advance the puck through the neutral zone and deep into the offensive zone.

One thing that has eluded the fourth line all year is a centre with the ability to accept a breakout pass from the defence or to circle behind the net, then quickly advance it through the neutral zone and deep into the corners to bang bodies.

This will allow the wingers to pickup speed through the neutral zone and get in on the forecheck quickly and hard.

The Florida Panthers are seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and have gone 3-4-3 in the last ten games.

They are quickly falling out of the playoff picture and Marty Reasoner is expected to be available as he is a pending unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

According to Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail, the Canucks had inquired about Reasoner last season, but did not like the price of a “high draft pick” and were without a second round pick or a third round pick (which was sent to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenceman Andrew Alberts).

With Chris Kelly’s trade to the Boston Bruins for a second round pick, the price appears to be set for a bottom-six centre--a second round pick.

The Canucks have all seven picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.