Brock Boeser has a bruise.
That may not sound serious, but deep bruises can cause some serious pain and discomfort, to the point of feeling like a fracture instead of just a flesh wound. The medical term for Boeser’s injury sounds so much more severe: a foot contusion.
Foot contusion for Boeser. "It's not where we want it to be yet" says Travis Green. #Canucks— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) October 29, 2017
Boeser has missed a couple practices and is doubtful for Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars. It’s possible that he might miss even more time. The Canucks have two more games on Wednesday and Saturday this week and if he’s not back skating yet, he might be out for longer than expected. It would be understandable: a deep bruise on the foot can make skating near impossible until it heals.
It’s a tough blow for the Canucks: Boeser is their leading scorer and also their most consistent scoring threat. He has 9 points in 8 games and has only been held off the scoresheet twice.
That’s one of the reasons why the Canucks recall on Monday of Anton Rodin makes a lot of sense. Rodin is an offensive winger with speed, playmaking ability, and a good shot. He certainly can’t replace Boeser entirely, but he has a little bit of experience playing with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat from last year’s preseason and could pinch hit for a couple games.
Last year, Rodin was the team’s standout performer in the preseason, much like Boeser was this year, but then everything fell apart. Swelling and inflammation in his surgically repaired knee ended his season before it really began. He got into three games with the Utica Comets on a conditioning stint and two games with the Canucks, spending a third game sitting on the bench with zero minutes of ice time.
The Canucks gave Rodin another chance, signing him on the eve of free agency. Unfortunately, he couldn’t repeat his preseason performance and started the season in Utica, where he has played just three games as the Comets have struggled with having too many veterans on the roster.
That’s the other reason why Rodin’s recall makes sense. With Patrick Wiercioch and Jayson Megna already called up to the Canucks, Rodin takes another veteran off of Utica’s roster.
The Comets started the season with nine veterans (players with 260 or more professional games). They can only play six of them in a game, and one of them must be a “veteran exempt” player who has played fewer than 320 games by the start of the season. It’s a rule designed to keep the AHL as a development league, forcing teams to play NHL prospects instead of loading up on veteran talent.
Calling up Rodin, Wiercioch, and Megna leaves the Comets with just six veterans, so they can play them all without worry.
Fans might prefer to see Nikolay Goldobin get the call or even Reid Boucher — Goldobin currently leads the Comets with 4 goals and 10 points in 7 games, while Boucher has 3 goals and 9 points in 7 games — but neither player would have eased the Comet’s situation. Reid Boucher is a veteran, but he’s also the only “veteran exempt” player on the Comets roster. Calling him up would have meant the Comets could only play five veterans per game.
In any case, it seems like the Canucks prefer both players to focus on their AHL seasons until they are truly needed in Vancouver. They might be worried that a call-up for a couple games in the NHL would disrupt their rhythm.
If one of the Canucks’ offensive forwards goes down with a longer-term injury or the Canucks trade one or more of their veterans, then we’re likely to see Goldobin or Boucher get the call. For a short-term call-up, a veteran like Rodin makes more sense.