Gamble to put Volpatti on waivers comes back to bite Canucks as Washington scoops up winger
Gamble to put winger on waivers comes back to bite Canucks as Washington scoops him up
The Canucks lost when the Washington Capitals claimed feisty fourth-line winger Aaron Volpatti off the waiver wire on Thursday.
Vancouver had made a calculated risk that Volpatti wouldn’t be claimed, but the Caps proved them wrong.
For a second straight day, the Canucks were busy with off-ice doings, as centre Andrew Ebbett was recalled from their Chicago Wolves AHL affiliate.
Ebbett restores the Canucks’ number of natural centres to four, after it was disclosed by the team on Wednesday that Ryan Kesler has a broken bone in his right foot and will be sidelined from four to six weeks.
Clearly, rookie Jordan Schroeder will be given the chance to show he can produce in the second-line centre role, but don’t be surprised if the Canucks are looking for another pivot heading into the April 3 trade deadline.
But losing the gritty Volpatti, 27, one of the team’s hardest hitters and a willing fighter, has to sting. He’s shown no fear, taking on huge Douglas Murray and Ryan Reaves this season, not faring well, but also getting the best of Ryan Garbutt and Matt Beleskey.
“We were hoping to get him through (waivers) so he plays lots down there and gets some PK work in,” said Canucks assistant GM Lorne Henning. “We hated to lose him. He’s a character kid.”
The Canucks are clearly hoping to replace Volpatti’s edge with Steve Pinizzotto — now that he’s finally healthy. He’s expected to get a look in Vancouver once he finishes a conditioning stint in the minors.
Volpatti was a healthy scratch three of the last five games and head coach Alain Vigneault obviously put Dale Weise ahead of him in the pecking order.
Despite the recent scratches, Volpatti said Thursday morning before leaving for Washington that being put on waivers caught him by surprise.
“Obviously, I didn’t play a couple games there in a row,” said Volpatti, a Revelstoke native who played in 16 games for the Canucks this season, scoring one goal and collecting 28 PIMs.
“Nonetheless, I was still surprised. I thought I was contributing and doing my job.
“I understand why from a business standpoint, but it doesn’t make me any more satisfied that it happened.”
Volpatti said he was told by the Canucks that they wanted to put him in a position where he could play more.
“I think the main thing was ice-time,” said Volpatti, 27. “They wanted me to play more. I agreed. I’m a little disappointed to be leaving Vancouver, but hopefully I can get that opportunity in Washington.”
Volpatti, who was a Canucks fan growing up in the B.C. Interior, said he was thrilled when he was able to sign with Vancouver as a U.S. college free agent out of Brown University three years ago.
“It was a dream come true, for them show the interest they did,” he said. “My heart was in Vancouver and that was a disappointing thing. But I’m getting some new opportunities, so I’ll run with it.”
Volpatti spoke with the Capitals following his acquisition.
“I think they are just looking for that element of being physical and being able to play some minutes,” he said.
“It looks like they’ve got a great group of guys, and from spending some time on the East Coast I know Washington is a great city, and hopefully we can get back in the playoff picture and go from there.”
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