Canucks coach Desjardins liked Burrows with twins fit


Canucks' Alex Burrows talks to the media in Vancouver on April 27, 2015.

Canucks' Alex Burrows talks to the media in Vancouver on April 27, 2015.

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG

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VANCOUVER - Despite his team’s first-round playoff flop, Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins indicated Wednesday that Canuck followers should not expect to see sniping right winger Radim Vrbata spend much time next season skating alongside twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

There was much clamoring for that combination, especially after Alex Burrows was injured and unable to play the final three games in the series against Calgary.

“I think the way Daniel and Henrik handle the puck, they need a guy who will go to the net,” the coach explained. “If they have a guy there, they’ll get the puck there. I think they need a guy who is maybe a little bit hard on the forecheck and will get in there and be a little bit of a physical presence. I think they need a guy who is a pretty good skater on the line to come back (defensively).”

That does not sound like Vrbata, who likes to shoot from the circles and not stand in the goalie’s lap, screening and mucking it up with opposition defencemen. By the final month of the season, Desjardins had clearly decided Burrows was a better fit with the twins than Vrbata in even-strength situations.

“I thought Burrows played great with them,” said the coach. “When he was with them towards the end, I thought they played really well as a group.”

Although heavily criticized for under-utilizing the Sedins early in the Calgary series, Desjardins argued that the twins’ ice time was not the determining factor in the Canucks’ six-game loss.

“We won Game 2 with them getting 16 minutes and we lost Game 6 with them getting 22 minutes,” he said. “If we changed that, does it mean we would win or lose those games? I don’t know. But given the outcome, for sure I’d look at it a little bit differently. I probably would have given them a little bit more ice time early in the series but I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome.

“When you don’t win, you would always change things you did,” Desjardins added. “You just always would.”

MONEY TALKS: General manager Jim Bennings deflected most of the contract questions thrown his way Wednesday, saying that management still had to have its final conversations on which players might be approached for extensions, which might not, or which might perhaps be asked to waive no-trade clauses. Benning did, however, admit he has every intention to re-sign restricted free agent defenceman Yannick Weber. The Swiss native played for just $850,000 this past season and was the Canucks’ top goal-scoring blueliner with 11 tallies.

“I thought in the second half of the year, Yannick really stepped up for us,” said Benning. “He had a really good offensive year. He was a player who got his shot through and he ended up giving us that element of a scoring defenceman. So I know he’s excited about the way the last half of the year ended up for him. We’re going to get him signed and he’s going to come back and, hopefully, he can continue where he left off.”

Benning also said he intends to sign graduating junior Jordan Subban, the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft. Subban, an offensive defenceman, led the OHL’s Belleville Bulls in both goals (25) and points (52).

“We’re confident that we’re going to get a deal done to get Jordan signed,” Benning commented.

GOALIE GLUT: The Canucks are short on draft picks in June – Benning has already traded away his second and third-rounders -- but long on goaltenders. He conceded he might try and move a puckstopper for a pick. The most likely candidate is Jacob Markstrom.

“If you look at the depth of all our positions, that’s probably the one where we have a lot of good players,” Benning said. “So we’re going to talk about it and we’re going to decide who we’re going to go with going forward. That’s an area where we could probably re-capture a draft pick if we decide to trade somebody.”

Benning dealt his 2015 second-rounder to Calgary for Sven Baertschi while his third-rounder was part of last June’s Ryan Kesler trade with Anaheim.

SICK BAY: Left winger Ronalds Kenins suffered a sprained knee in Game 5 of the Calgary series and will be unable to join the Utica Comets, the Canucks’ American League farm team, for their playoff run.

“He went and had an MRI the other day and he’s out 4-6 weeks,” Benning said. “His season is done."

QUOTABLE: “When you go to a player and approach him to waive his no-trade clause, then they have all the leverage and they decide which teams they want to go to. Then you have to try and figure out a deal with those teams. But right now, we’re just digesting what happened in the series and during the season and we’ll figure that out going forward.” – Canucks GM Jim Benning.

Canucks' Alex Burrows talks to the media in Vancouver on April 27, 2015.

Canucks' Alex Burrows talks to the media in Vancouver on April 27, 2015.

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG

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