No one has to draw a flow chart for Jordan Schroeder to show him how his stock has risen in the Canucks organization the last few months.
Yes, he’s coming off a very solid season with the AHL Chicago Wolves, but the trade of third-line centre Cody Hodgson at the deadline in late February, along with this week’s news that second-line pivot Ryan Kesler will be out until at least November after shoulder surgery, have Schroeder rocketing up the depth chart.
Sure, a lot can happen between now and training camp, but Schroeder — a small (5-foot-8) but NHL-quick centre the Canucks took 22nd overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft — is determined to make sure he takes full advantage of his opportunity.
“I do [see the opportunity], but I’m not going to look at it as Kesler’s injury was the only way that I made the team,” said Schroeder, 21, from his family’s cabin on Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota, where he’s planning a weekend of fishing.
“But it does help. My goal, just like anyone else, is to come out and compete for a job. Maybe things like this trickle down and some guys get opportunities that they might not have got before. It’s not good news for him, he’s an awesome player and I’m sure they’ll miss him while he’s out.”
Schroeder had a tough first pro season in Manitoba under head coach Claude Noel, but broadened his game and his stats this year in Chicago. He played both special teams and finished with 21 goals and 44 points in 76 games under coach Craig MacTavish.
Although he freely admits the shift from U.S. college hockey two seasons ago was a shock, he feels he’s ready to challenge for an NHL job this fall.
“I’m going to be totally honest,” he said. “These past two years I needed it, the development. Looking back, I’ve learned so much that I wouldn’t have learned in college if I’d stayed. I’ve learned so many parts of the game that it takes to get to the next level. I’ve still got a long ways to go but I’ve learned a lot.”
Schroeder admits he had to learn some hard lessons from Noel.
“I had a lot of learning to do,” said Schroeder. “Claude Noel told me you’re going to realize what you need to do to be successful. He was pretty hard on me, but I think I’m a better player for it.
“This year, with coach MacTavish, he helped me a lot, adding stuff to my game, trying to make me a better all-around player.”
Schroeder knows that to be successful in the NHL as a small player, you have to be able to put up points. While his speed created scoring chances for him in the AHL, he didn’t convert often enough — and that’s something he wants to rectify.
“I really want to work on my shot this summer,” said Schroeder, who works out in the off-season in his suburban Minneapolis hometown of Lakeville with the likes of NHLers Zach Parise, Kyle Okposo, Drew Stafford and Bryce Salvador.
“I think I can put up a lot more goals than I did this year. It was a big step for me to hit 21 goals, but I think I could have taken off in that area if I would have hit the net more or kept it down and hit the right spots.”
(This was posted in the prospects forum already by Squeak but not many people go there and this article deserves more attention here).
Edited by Grags2Kass, 09 May 2012 - 08:08 PM.