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Canucks call up Akito Hirose after Carson Soucy injury

Soucy suffered an injury to his left leg during Sunday's game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Akito Hirose has been called up from the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL.

The Vancouver Canucks could be without Carson Soucy for a while.

It's been a tough start to the season for Soucy, who suffered an injury to his left knee in the Canucks' final game of the preseason. That injury caused him to miss the first two games of the season but he seemed none the worse for wear when he returned to the lineup.

On Sunday, however, he suffered another injury to his left leg, this time a little lower down. The 6'5" defenceman got turned around while defending a Montreal Canadiens rush and got hit with a puck directly in the back of his left leg, just above the skate where there's little to no protection.

Soucy was in obvious distress after struggling to the bench and left the game. Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said that Soucy would be reevaluated once the team returned to Vancouver; evidently, that reevaluation did not come back with positive news.

The Canucks put forward Jack Studnicka on waivers on Monday to assign him to the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL. The move was made in preparation to call up a defenceman and, when Studnicka cleared waivers on Tuesday morning, he was sent to Abbotsford, allowing the Canucks to call up Akito Hirose.

With no points through 11 games, Hirose has had a quiet start to the season in Abbotsford, especially in comparison with fellow left-shot defenceman Christian Wolanin, who leads all AHL defencemen in scoring with 14 points in 13 games. 

Hirose's calm defensive game may have more appeal to the Canucks in a third-pairing role than Wolanin's more offensive approach, however. Another benefit is that Hirose is exempt from waivers, so there wouldn't be any complications with sending him back down to Abbotsford in the future. Wolanin, on the other hand, would have to go through waivers again if he played ten or more games with the Canucks or was with the team for thirty days.

Fans have to hope that Soucy won't be out of the lineup long enough for that to be an actual concern for the Canucks, but how long Soucy will be out remains up in the air.

The update after practice on Tuesday is that Soucy is "week to week." That timeline may become more firm after he is reevaluated later in the day.