Pick Your Vancouver Canucks Enforcer (If Any)

I'm not trying to turn NM into an anti-Hordichuk rag, but if others keep asking insane questions about what direction the Canucks go with their fourth line muscle, I can't help myself. Instead I'll just list some facts and leave the rest up to you to vote on.

Alex Bolduc and Guillaume Desbiens are long shots to make the squad which leaves Rick Rypien, Darcy Hordichuk and Tanner Glass as the most logical fourth line enforcers. Of course no matter what there's help in other areas: Andrew Alberts, SOB and Kevin Bieksa on defense aren't strangers to mixing it up, Ryan Kesler will occasionally fight, Jannik Hansen will crack his hand over any willing participent, Victor Oreskovich can certainly try (but we recommend he sticks to forechecking), Burrows sometimes answers the bell and Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard weren't adverse to the dirty stuff on their previous teams either. But if we entertain that you need one go-to guy to drop the mitts (which is a tenuous argument to begin with), those three are the ponies in the race.

After the jump, we'll take a closer look at them, including a review of their fights last year and their (meager) contributions at even strength.

First, the tale of the tape:

  • Hordichuk is 6'1'', 211 lbs, has played nine NHL seasons and is on the books for $775,000
  • Glass is 6'1'', 210 lbs, has played three NHL seasons and is on the books for $625,000
  • Rypien is 5'11'', 190 lbs, has played five NHL seasons and is on the books for $550,000

Here are some even-strength stats and fighting totals from last season:

Games Played
TOI/60
Points
Hits PIMs
Fights Won/Total
Qualcomp
Glass
67 9.56 11 165 115 7/15 -0.022
Hordichuk
56 5.98 2 108 142 7/14 -0.057
Rypien 69 6.93 8 92 126 12/16 -0.076

Click the header to sort each column

Lastly, since fighting is the core of the argument, their respective fightcards:

  • Hordichuk
    • Beat: Stortini, Janssen, Strudwick, Bissonnette, Orr, Shawn Thornton, Parros
    • Lost: McGratton, Boogaard, Parros (x2)
    • Draw: Boogaard, Barch, Parros
  • Glass
    • Beat: Luke Schenn, May, Byers, Thorburn, Fiddler, Eager, Brookbank
    • Lost: Janssen, Prust, Hnidy, Carkner, Tarnasky
    • Draw: Prust, McLeod, Greene
  • Rypien
    • Beat: Gill, Prust (x2), Stortini (x2), May, McLeod, Valabik, Janssen, Konopka, Neil, Mayers
    • Lost: Eager, Prust, Neil
    • Draw: Durno

This obviously isn't the most important position to get into the weeds about, but on the face of it Rypien is the most efficient fighter except his size and health history prohibit him from answering the call of a heavyweight. Glass can at least tangle with an Eager or Fiddler (or someone like Douglas Murray who he took a draw with last night) but he doesn't go at the Boogaard's of the world. Hordichuk is the only guy who drop 'em with the true heavyweights but doesn't have a winning record against them either.

As for the rest of their limited role, Glass is a better fourth liner than Hordichuk though he was seen more frequently on the third line last season which would skew the stats in his favor. Statistically Rypien is actually marginally worse than Hordichuk and how much of that can be blamed on Ryan Johnson is debatable. All in, Glass is more well rounded than the other two, certainly Hordichuk who only steps on the ice in extremely limited circumstances.

AV could ice all three starting opening night, but let's assume he saves a valuable roster spot for just one, leaving the other two to enjoy the press box or the boxed lunches in Manitoba. Where's your heart at: do you want a fighter who can definitely line up against the biggest in the league but offer little else or do you want someone who can contribute more on the ice and has the courage, if need be, to step into a tilt he'll likely lose?

- Fight stats from Hockeyfights.com

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