The Vancouver Canucks and the Raffi Torres Effect
Despite the Canucks not playing their best hockey as of late, I do believe that this is a strong team built to succeed this season. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs, I would be completely shocked. As a whole, this is a solid team that has a lot to offer each and every night.
That being said, I do think there is one glaring weakness on this team, and that is bottom six grit. I’m not talking about fighters like Volpatti and Weise (as I believe those guys are capable of the job), I’m talking about the grit that is so apparently missing on the third line.
Think back to the good times last year. The third line consisted of Manny Malhotra, Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres. What made that line so effective was the different styles each of those guys brought. Malhotra was the defensive, face-off ace, Hansen was the speedster with a bit of grit in his game, and Torres was the dominant physical player who could occasionally hurt a team on the scoreboard. For whatever reason, those three players just seemed to mesh together.
The third line this season has composed of players like Malhotra, Hodgson, Higgins and Hansen. I don’t see the hard hitting player there who is going to create interest with his physicality. I love everything Chris Higgins brings to the ice, and I think Cody Hodgson is definitely making the most of his chances on this line. That being said, I don’t see Malhotra doing anything worth noting and Hansen seems to be playing really well with the Sedins.
Say what you want about him, but Torres was a really effective player for the Canucks and I do believe that the team misses him. Would you rather see the Canucks have Malhotra floating around on the wing or the hard hitting Torres who could always wow the crowd with a massive hit.
Over the summer, much was made of the Canucks not offering Torres the $1.75million that was given to him by the Phoenix Coyotes. People wondered whether or not he was worth the money or not. Let me give you my opinion, he was worth that money and more. This team needs a Torres like player; they are missing one right now. What did Torres do for the Canucks? He kept other teams honest on the ice. He wasn’t an enforcer but he was an accountable, physical player.
If I’m Mike Gillis and I’m looking to make a move, I would be looking at players just like Raffi Torres. And you know what? I wouldn’t mind taking a run at getting Torres from the Coyotes. I really do believe he was an integral player for this team. Look at the stats, they tend to agree with me.
That’s all for now folks. Thanks for reading.
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