Alain Vigneault has been up to his old tricks this season in Vancouver. He makes a seemingly absurd line change up, then it miraculously works. It's almost like he has a pulse on his team, or knows his players extremely well or something. This time his stroke of genius was moving Alex Burrows to center, on our second line. The Canucks current three game winning streak has more to do with excellent goaltending than anything, but these three games have also been Burrows' best as a center. The Canucks are 5-1-1 overall in games where Burrows has started as the second line center. The Canucks just may have found another use for Alex Burrows. As if they hadn't enough already.
Assuming the Canucks don't move either Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo, there are no forwards coming in at the trade deadline or before it. It's highly unlikely anyways. The Canucks have the least cap space of any team in the NHL with only 840,000 in wiggle room. What you will eventually see when David Booth and Ryan Kesler return to the lineup, is what you'll get.
So the question remains, what will the Canucks do when the better part of their second line returns to lineup? They will obviously start with sending Jordan Schroeder back to the Chicago Wolves. He's actually played relatively well, but is still far from being NHL ready. Following Jordan Schroeder's demotion, I think a juggling act will occur with Manny Malhotra and Aaron Volpatti taking turns in the press box. Aside from faceoffs there really isn't anything Manny Malhotra does well. At best he's invisible. Aaron Volpatti, although slightly more physical than Dale Weise, isn't as defensively sound or fast. He will see playing time whenever teams with real heavyweights are on the schedule.
Now that the hypothetical send downs, and press boxers have been named what do the Canucks do with what's left? I have a modest proposal. Well, far from modest really. I'm sure I'll receive quite a bit of flack for this one even. Vancouver keeps Burrows as a center, on the third line. The Canucks have always had a difficult time with secondary scoring, so why not turn such a defensively reliable but offensively potent forward into our third line center? This will take some of the defensive burden away from Ryan Kesler when he's back and make sure that we always have a fresh pair of legs to shutdown the oppositions best lines. Besides, Zack Kassian has done a great job filling in for Burrows on the Sedin line. Below I'll list my ideal Canucks forwards lines when Kesler and Booth both return from injury.
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Zack Kassian
David Booth - Ryan Kesler - Chris Higgins
Mason Raymond - Alex Burrows - Jannik Hansen
Max Lappiere - Manny Malhotra - Dale Weise
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