Back in mid-September Brad Lukowich, the Cranbrook B.C. native told Canucks nation that it was his dream and goal all along to play for the Canucks. He was quoted saying: "The first team we always called anytime I was a free agent was Vancouver, unfortunately they had a lot of D back then as well and it just wasn’t in the works for me." He also said: "I take care of my own end first, do everything defensively, and if anything offensive happens, that’s a bonus for me. I take care of my end first and it’s not a glorifying job but the wins are very glorifying for me."
He then played a few games for the Canucks in preseason and did what he said he'd do: playing defensively sound hockey and bringing a physical presence to the Canucks' blue line. The only problem was that his $1.8 million salary brought some strain to the Canucks' cap situation, and he would be an expensive player to have sit on the bench, as Shane O'Brien was chosen as the 6th D-man.
He also suffered a minor head injury in the preseason process, only a few days before he was waived on September 30. He went unclaimed, and was loaned to the Texas Rangers.
Now, with Kevin Bieksa expected to miss months because of a cut above his ankle, the Canucks go back to the well and recall Lukowich, who then clears the waiver wire again. I'm a little confused. Is his salary too much for most teams to handle? I suppose $1.8 million is a tad steep for a stay-at-home defenceman... or is it? It depends on perception and cap space available. Neither works all that much in Lukowich's favor right now. After all, nobody claimed him either time when given the chance. Not even at half the price on re-entry waivers! He is a 5th-7th defenceman on many teams. He'll only play about 15:00 per game in Vancouver. But still...
I lean towards sentimentality and favortism towards him. He has 2 Stanley Cup rings. He's a BC boy. He followed the Canucks even when he played on other NHL teams. He brings leadership. He brings stability to the blue line. He craves playing for this team! What's not to like about this guy?
I think it's clear what Mike Gillis thinks about him. He has only recalled Luko because he had to. With unsuccessful attempts at landing Forsberg earlier in the year and now Bieksa's long-term injury freeing up cap space, Gillis can now afford Lukowich's salary, and he is the only logical choice to be called up. For all I know, Brad's time here is limited, with Pavol Demitra returning soon and/or Kevin Bieksa most likely returning prior to the playoffs. It's unfortunate. I'd rather have Lukowich on our roster than Shane O'Brien or Aaron Rome, especially in a potential playoff run.
He'll have to prove his worth any chance he gets now, and it will have to be stellar in order for him to stick with the Canucks. Even that may not be enough.
It's just not likely in the Canucks' cap world.
It's just me voicing my admiration for the play and character of a guy named Lukowich. Am I missing something?