Canucks’ centre of attention not on Jordan Schroeder

 

Season not finishing much better than it started for former first-round draft pick

 
 
 
 
Jordan Schroeder, 2009, 22nd overall — six goals, nine assists for 15 points in 55 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre. CLICK on the photos tab and then "Next" above this photo to see other failed first-rounders as Canucks over the past 30 years if you're on a desktop (or touch this photo and sweep if you're on a mobile device).
 
 

Jordan Schroeder, 2009, 22nd overall — six goals, nine assists for 15 points in 55 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre. CLICK on the photos tab and then "Next" above this photo to see other failed first-rounders as Canucks over the past 30 years if you're on a desktop (or touch this photo and sweep if you're on a mobile device).

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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VANCOUVER — A season that began badly with ankle surgery does not seem to be ending well for former first-round pick Jordan Schroeder, whose future with the Vancouver Canucks appears to be very much in doubt.

Schroeder's minutes are in decline — he played a season-low 3:18 on Tuesday night vs. the New York Rangers — and with captain Henrik Sedin expected back from injury, Schroeder may not play at all when the Canucks meet the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena on Saturday night (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1040).

Coach John Tortorella has seen occasional flashes from Schroeder, but suggested the 23-year-old has not been nearly consistent enough.

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"The last game he ends up with a couple of scoring chances," Tortorella said. "You can see his speed, you can see his offensive skill. If it was consistent enough there'd be more minutes. It's always that chicken and egg — I need more minutes to show you — there's always that combination going on.

"If I thought that there was consistency he would get more minutes. It hasn't happened that way. He has had opportunities, I think at times he has played well, other times he hasn't and that is where I have to make my decisions as far as ice time."

Schroeder was taken 22nd overall in the first round of the 2009 draft by general manager Mike Gillis. After three years of seasoning in the minors, the Canucks rewarded him with a one-way contract for this season.

It was a calculated risk for the Canucks. Schroeder had off-season shoulder surgery and was unproven at the NHL level. He came to camp determined to prove he deserved that vote of confidence, but he suffered a left ankle injury in the pre-season, re-injured the same ankle in an Oct. 19 game in Pittsburgh and required surgery. He ended up missing three months.

Schroeder has three goals and six points in 24 games this season. Those are the same numbers rookie Nicklas Jensen has registered in exactly half as many games. Schroeder has averaged just north of 12 minutes a night of ice time, but has been in single digits the last four games.

Tortorella acknowledged that Schroeder's size, or lack thereof, presents an extra challenge.

"Schroeds is a small guy playing in a big man's league, that's a quick league also," Tortorella said. "Something special has to come out and he and I have had this conversation. He's a great kid, he wants to play, he is upset he isn't playing, it's all good stuff that way, that isn't a bad thing. But I need something to hang my hat on as we look for consistency there."

The Canucks will have a decision to make this summer on Schroeder, who will be a restricted free agent. The best he can hope for is a qualifying offer and it almost certainly would be a two-way contract. The Canucks could in fact choose not to qualify Schroeder and make him an unrestricted free agent.

It's tough to see where he fits next season. The Canucks like what they have seen from newly acquired centre Shawn Matthias and have fellow centres Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Brad Richardson under contract for next season. The Canucks are also expected to give uber-prospect Bo Horvat a long look at third-line centre at training camp next fall.

Schroeder wasn't anxious to talk about his future earlier this week.

"I don't know what you guys expect me to say about that," he said. "I just take it day by day, really don't look to the future.

"Obviously, everybody wants to play, no one wants to sit on the bench, but coaches have to make decisions and when you get your name called you have to go out there and play as hard as you can."

Schroeder did say he'd like to remain a Canuck.

"I have no idea what is going to happen," he said. "This is a great organization. You know, whatever happens, happens."

bziemer@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

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Jordan Schroeder, 2009, 22nd overall — six goals, nine assists for 15 points in 55 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre. CLICK on the photos tab and then "Next" above this photo to see other failed first-rounders as Canucks over the past 30 years if you're on a desktop (or touch this photo and sweep if you're on a mobile device).
 

Jordan Schroeder, 2009, 22nd overall — six goals, nine assists for 15 points in 55 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre. CLICK on the photos tab and then "Next" above this photo to see other failed first-rounders as Canucks over the past 30 years if you're on a desktop (or touch this photo and sweep if you're on a mobile device).

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Jordan Schroeder, 2009, 22nd overall — six goals, nine assists for 15 points in 55 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre. CLICK on the photos tab and then "Next" above this photo to see other failed first-rounders as Canucks over the past 30 years if you're on a desktop (or touch this photo and sweep if you're on a mobile device).
Cody Hodgson, 2008, 10th overall — 52 goals, 63 assists for 115 points in 204 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre. Started showing offensive potential before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres on NHL trade deadline day in 2012. Tyler Myers (Buffalo), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa) and Jordan Eberle (Edmonton) among the players picked after Hodgson in the first round in 2008.
Patrick White, 2007, 25th overall — The centre never played an NHL game. White’s rights were traded to the San Jose Sharks as part of the Christian Ehrhoff deal in 2009. David Perron (St. Louis, now with Edmonton) was picked immediately after White, and P.K. Subban (Montreal) and Wayne Simmonds (Los Angeles, now with Philadelphia) were among those taken in the second round.
Michael Grabner (on the left), 2006, 14th overall — 87 goals, 54 assists for 141 points in 282 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the winger, mainly with the New York Islanders. Showed some offensive potential before being traded to the Florida Panthers as part of the Keith Ballard deal on NHL draft day in 2010.
Cory Schneider, 2004, 26th overall — 69 wins in 139 NHL regular season games, 2.16 goals-against average and 12 shutouts to date (April 3, 2014). Shared the William Jennings Trophy with Roberto Luongo in 2010-11. Traded to the New Jersey Devils on NHL draft day in 2013.
R.J. Umberger, 2001, 16th overall — 169 goals, 196 assists for 365 points in 670 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the centre, mainly with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Umberger couldn’t reach an agreement on a contract with the Canucks, who traded his rights to the New York Rangers in March 2004.
Nathan Smith, 2000, 23rd overall — Zero points in 26 NHL regular season games for the centre, four of which were with the Vancouver Canucks. Brad Boyes (Toronto, now with Florida), Steve Ott (Dallas, now with St. Louis) and Nicklas Kronwall (Detroit) among the players picked after Smith in the first round in 2000.
Bryan Allen, 1998, 4th overall — 29 goals, 104 assists for 133 points in 705 NHL regular season games to date (April 3, 2014) for the defenceman. Showed decent defensive potential in his early years with the Canucks, then traded to the Florida Panthers as part of the Roberto Luongo deal on the eve of NHL draft day in 2006.
Brad Ference, 1997, 10th overall — Four goals, 30 assists for 34 points in 250 NHL regular season games for the defenceman, not one of which was for the Vancouver Canucks. He was traded to the Florida Panthers along with Pavel Bure in the multi-player deal in which Ed Jovanovski came to Vancouver in January 1999.
Josh Holden, 1996, 12th overall — five goals, nine assists for 14 points in 60 NHL regular season games for the centre. Derek Morris (Calgary, now with Phoenix), Dainius Zubrus (Philadelphia, now with New Jersey) and Daniel Briere (Phoenix, now with Montreal) among the players picked after Holden in the first round in 1996.
Mike Wilson, 1993, 20th overall — 16 goals, 41 assists for 57 points in 336 NHL regular season games for the defenceman. Saku Koivu (Montreal, now with Anaheim) and Todd Bertuzzi (New York Islanders, now with Detroit) among the players picked after Wilson in the first round in 1993.
Libor Polasek, 1992, 21st overall — The centre never played an NHL game. Interestingly, the Vancouver Canucks’ NEXT pick in that draft — centre Mike Peca — went on to play 864 NHL regular season games, scoring 176 goals and 289 assists for 465 points, and win two Frank Selke Trophies as the NHL’s top defensive forward, but that wasn’t as a Canuck. Peca got traded after a mere 37 games for Vancouver.
Alex Stojanov, 1991, 7th overall — Two goals, five assists for seven points in 107 NHL regular season games for the rugged winger. One big plus: Traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a young Markus Naslund at the NHL trade deadline in 1996.
Shawn Antoski, 1990, 18th overall — Three goals, five assists for eight points in 183 NHL regular season games for the rugged winger. Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg), Martin Brodeur (New Jersey) and Bryan Smolinski (Boston) — all of whom played in at least 1,000 NHL regular season games — were drafted immediately after Antoski.
Jason Herter, 1989, 6th overall — Zero goals, one assist for one point in one NHL regular season game for the defenceman. Bobby Holik (Hartford) and Mike Sillinger (Detroit), both of whom played at least 1,000 NHL regular season games, were taken in the first round after Herter, as were Adam Foote (Quebec) and Patrice Brisebois (Montreal), who were picked in the second round.
Dan Woodley, 1986, 7th overall — two goals, zero assists for two points in five NHL regular season games for the centre. Brian Leetch (New York Rangers), Scott Young (Hartford) and Tom Fitzgerald (New York Islanders), all of whom played at least 1,000 NHL regular season games, were taken in the first round after Woodley, as were Adam Graves (Detroit) and Teppo Numminen (Winnipeg), who were picked in the second round.
Jim Sandlak, 1985, 4th overall — 110 goals, 119 assists for 229 points in 549 NHL regular season games for the winger. Sandlak, who cracked the 20-goal mark once in his career, played all but 40 of NHL career games for Vancouver.
J.J. Daigneault (right, on crutches with then-Canucks coach Bill LaForge), 1984 first round, 10th overall — 53 goals, 197 assists for 250 points in 899 NHL regular season games for the defenceman. Traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1986, Daigneault played for an astonishing 10 teams during his 17-season career in the NHL.
Cam Neely, 1983, 9th overall — 395 goals, 299 assists, 694 points in 726 NHL regular season games. Lest we forget: The Maple Ridge native was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1986. Needless to say, the power winger is not remembered as a Canuck in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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