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JohnLocke

[Article] If NHL Season Isn't Lost to Lockout, this may be Perfect Storm for Schroeder

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VANCOUVER — In the spring of 2011 when the Manitoba Moose were eliminated from the AHL playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks summoned a number of players. Jordan Schroeder was not one of them. Quite frankly, he didn’t deserve to be because he struggled to make the tough transition from college to pro.

In the fall of 2012, the diminutive centre deserves a shot at sticking in NHL should the season not be lost to a lockout. After a 21-goal season with the Chicago Wolves and growing his game with and without the puck to become more confident than concerned about meeting first-round 2009 draft pick expectations, Schroeder may help help solve a riddle in the middle.

“I know in his exit meetings with [Canucks assistant general manager] Lorne Henning and [Wolves coach] Craig MacTavish that they sort of hinted to him that he probably deserved to come up to the NHL during the last season, but circumstances didn’t make it happen,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “But he’s pretty high on our list.”

Pretty high for a number of reasons. With Ryan Kesler sidelined until December by offseason shoulder and wrist surgeries and unrestricted free agent Samme Pahlsson returning to his native Sweden to play for Modo before suffering an Achilles rupture, the Canucks must get creative. Especially if a new collective bargaining agreement significantly reduces the salary cap ceiling and a veteran isn’t added via free agency. It’s not just the perfect storm for Schroeder — his NHL cap hit would be just $1.025 million US — but it would also repay the minor-league tutelage of Scott Arniel, Claude Noel and MacTavish. And playing for Arniel in Chicago while awaiting an NHL resolution will only improve his learning curve.

“I’m trying not to put a lot of pressure on myself, although it’s kind of hard not to,” admitted Schroeder, who turns 22 Saturday and has yet to play an NHL regular-season game. “When my time and opportunity comes, I’m going to try and grab it. My confidence is pretty good right now and I’m comfortable now being a pro.”

It wasn’t always that way. Self-doubt surfaces when you’re the 22nd pick in 2009 who had to grow out of his University of Minnesota comfort zone — much like Cory Schneider had to do after leaving Boston College — and mature. By getting better with and without the puck, he might make it as a third-line NHL centre because Schroeder shed the peripheral-player label and will be more effective if he attacks and doesn’t wait for Grade A chances or open nets. The attitude adjustment turned around a slow start in which Schroeder had just five goals in his first 24 games last season.

“I learned the small things about being a pro and what it takes every single night,” said Schroeder. “Coach MacTavish really helped me being responsible on the defensive side and from there the offence kind of came. I was a plus-10, but one area was shooting the puck more and I had almost 100 more shots than I did a year ago. I feel like I could have been close to 30 goals with the opportunities I had.

“I’m really trying to improve on burying the puck. You’ve got to work to get in front of the net and get some tips and some dirty goals. The skilled plays are going to come when they’re there. Everybody is so good at the next level that the small details stand out.”

Standing out is harder when you’re 5-foot-8. However, Schroeder doesn’t have to look far for inspiration in Minnesota native and close friend Zach Parise. He played just 13 games two seasons ago after being sidelined by knee surgery and then responded with a 31-goal season that earned a free-agent windfall, a 13-year, $98 million deal from the Wild. Parise is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds but plays much bigger and tougher.

“I’ve got to use my speed to create offence,” said Schroeder. “And use my smarts. I’m not going out-physical anyone, but I’m pretty strong on my skates and I can handle myself in the corners. I don’t want to get tied up. I want to be free and loose and move out there as much as possible.”

bkuzma@theprovince.com

twitter.com/benkuzma

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I had a dream a few days ago of Schroeder winning the Art Ross and scoring the OT winner in gm 7 of the SCF.

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Here's what will happen. Shroeder will get his chance with the Canucks, and he will have a slow start, which is expected by everyone except the know nothings on CDC. He will be torn apart for his lack of production on CDC, even though it is expected that most young players won't make the Jump for the AHL to the NHL and immediately tear it up. Just like he didn't immediately tear it up after his jump from college to AHL.

2013/14 will be his breakout year, or even 2014/15. Give him time and patience. He will be fine.

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can somebody please tell a brother how you start a new topic?

thanks!

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I remember the year before the kid got drafted, I was watching a USA WJC's game. This kid completely dominated, I was in awe of his skillset, at that time It was only fantasy that we'd have a chance at drafting him. I was excited then and even more excited now.

People who don't get to watch him play will say oh his stats are nothing special, he won't amount to anything.

We've seen many examples of this, but he's the type of player, who elevates his game when surrounded by good talent.

Thats's why being drafted by Vancouver was an ideal situation. Let the kid develop slowly and work on his defensive game, he's got all the talent in the world offensively but if you're going to play for AV you better be a good backchecker.

He played the PP, PK anything that was asked of him, he is AV's perfect player. Not only that but even if he starts on the third line, he'll get to play with Hansen and HIggins, that's not too shabby.

Be patient with the kid, he'll be a good one.

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This guy has some high end skill, I can't wait til he gets the opportunity.

Figure this out NHL.

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He's gonna have a David Desharnais progression (Another small, playmaking center),

Schroeder could definitely use another year in the AHL - and a lockout will ensure that - to hopefully breakout offensively as a dominant AHL player as well as work on his defensive game.

The season after that he will be on spot duty in the NHL, carve himself out a niche role on the team with average production.

Then the season after that he will finally breakout in the NHL and be the scoring forward he was drafted to be.

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JoSchro gonna make everyone forget that other third line center what's-his-name guy....

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He's a dynamic offensive player, so AV better not put him on the third line with guys like Hansen and Ramond and then expect him to shine. If you want him to succeed he needs to play with guys like Burrows, Booth, Kesler, etc.

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MG said he was going to call up Schroeder at some point during the season, and he didn't. I was disappointed.

I'm excited for the kid.

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He's a dynamic offensive player, so AV better not put him on the third line with guys like Hansen and Ramond and then expect him to shine. If you want him to succeed he needs to play with guys like Burrows, Booth, Kesler, etc.

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He's gonna have a David Desharnais progression (Another small, playmaking center),

Schroeder could definitely use another year in the AHL - and a lockout will ensure that - to hopefully breakout offensively as a dominant AHL player as well as work on his defensive game.

The season after that he will be on spot duty in the NHL, carve himself out a niche role on the team with average production.

Then the season after that he will finally breakout in the NHL and be the scoring forward he was drafted to be.

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Just looking at the picture of him standing next to Willie Mitchell - who is far from the most physically imposing D-man in the the league - and it's a huge stretch to think this midget will ever be able to play.

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Just looking at the picture of him standing next to Willie Mitchell - who is far from the most physically imposing D-man in the the league - and it's a huge stretch to think this midget will ever be able to play.

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Our team would have been in some trouble if he was going to be our 2nd line center for the first 20 or so games of the year.

He isn't ready for that kind of role yet.

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