Once in a while I like to take a trip down memory lane and examine what happened to a Canucks team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals. Five years from now I could make a post like this and it would be even more alluring, with so many more changes but, I'm bored, and I know there are a few former Canucks players from that magical 2011 run that I am curious about as to their whereabouts. So let's dig in:
Here are all of the players who played for the team that 2010-11 regular season:
Only SEVEN players remain from that squad that won the division and Conference titles and also the President's Trophy as the team with the best record in the NHL. They are: Sedins, Edler, Hamhuis, Tanev, Hansen and Burrows. Those were good times hey? Here is the list of players who played playoff games for Vancouver that season:
Ryan Kesler: On June 27, 2014 the Canucks traded Kesler to the Ducks for Luka Sbisa, Nick Bonino and the 25th pick in the 2014 draft (Jared McCann).
Mikael Samuelsson: This dude's best years of his career were played in Vancouver, where he scored two consecutive 50 point seasons playing primarily on the second line with Kesler and Mason Raymond. Yes folks, the best years of Kesler and MayRay's careers were playing beside Son Of Sam. After returning from injury, Samuelsson struggled and was demoted to the 4th line by Alain Vigneault in the second round against Nashville. In that series he sustained adductor and sports hernia injuries that series and was done for the playoffs. Nobody ever talks about the Son Of Sam, but this injury also was a huge blow to the team even though he was struggling. Soon after the 2011-12 season started, Samuelsson, along with Marco Sturm was traded to the Panthers for Steven Reinprecht and a 3rd round pick in 2013. The Canucks took Cole Cassels with that pick, by the way.
The rest of his career in Detroit and then Europe were marred with injury. He retired from hockey in March 2015.
Christian Ehrhoff: The Canucks pillaged the Sharks to get Ehrhoff because SJ was clearing cap space to sign some guy named Dany Heatley. Ehrhoff, in his 2 seasons with the Canucks, had career years in points in the regular season and in his second season (2010-11) scored 50 points. In the run to the Finals he scored 12 points in 23 games but was a team-worst -13. We dubbed him "Errorhoff" for a reason. That offseason Buffalo decided to pay him stupid amounts of money and totally regretted it in the end. Ehrhoff currently plays for the Kings and his value decreases by the minute.
Kevin Bieksa: On June 30, 2015 was traded to the Ducks for a second round pick in the 2016 Entry Draft. A Canucks legend, but a move I agree with.
Chris Higgins: Jim Benning said recently that Higgy was available but there were no takers. Abs was put on waivers and now will play for the Utica Comets of the AHL.
Mason Raymond: As mentioned before, Mayray made up the second line of Kes-MayRay-Samuelsson. It was a solid line, except in the 2011 playoffs. Mason was quite streaky. He had superb speed and a quick release but never fully put it all together. After being pile-driven into the boards by a Bruins defender in Game 5 of the finals, Raymond was done for that playoff run. He only played 50 games for the Canucks in the 2011-12 season and then was let go to free agency. He is currently toiling away on the Calgary Flames' depth chart.
Manny Malhotra: The faceoff/defensive specialist. He would win over 60% of his faceoffs on a regular basis and would even take on other teams' top lines in a defensive role while centering a line with Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen. It is widely believed that this increased defensive role helped Kesler have the Selke year that he had that season. Manny would take a puck in the eye in March of 2011 and missed the rest of the season and vast majority of the playoffs. Who knows how much that hindered the Canucks in that playoff run. Manny lasted 2 more seasons with the Canucks but saw his role diminished not only by Cody Hodgson in 2011-12 but also by Sammy Pahlsson. Mike Gillis shut down Manny's season in 2012-13 to protect him from himself. That didn't go over well, and Manny was done here, signing a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes the following summer.After a season with them he signed a UFA deal with Montreal the following summer and that did not work out either. He is currently playing for Columbus' affiliate Lake Eerie Monsters of the AHL.
Raffi Torres: Oh god. Where to start with Raffi. I love this guy. He is the epitome of the old NHL that died with the whole concussion/headshot era. The Canucks signed him as a free agent in 2010 and he was a solid 3rd liner. He just happened to get into trouble for murdering players with headshots. He got a 4 game suspension for this hit on Jordan Eberle in April 2011. He came back to the playoffs against the Blackhawks and destroyed Brent Seabrook with this hit, giving him another 2 game suspension. Hey, at least he scored this game winner against the Bruins in Game 1. What I beauty. I love this guy, even though his NHL career is likely done. He smoked Marian Hossa as a Shark and received the longest suspension in NHL history the following season (41 games). He has not played an NHL game since, and currently plays for San Jose 's AHL affiliate the Barracudas. Free Raffi!
Sami Salo: We mocked Sami for being injured so often but hot damn Salo was an effective Canuck in so many ways. But he only scored 3 goals and 5 points in the 2011 playoff run. He played parts of one more season with the Canucks after that and then signed a 2-year $7.5 million deal with the Lightning in July 2011. The Lightning paid a lot for damaged goods. At least we got the best years from Mr. Salo, who is now retired.
Maxim Lapierre: A very key player acquired by Mike Gillis at the 2011 trade deadline, Max, much like Alex Burrows, was a royal pain in the ass to play against. When the 2011 playoffs came around, Yappy Lappy took the spot of injured Manny Malhotra on the Canucks' 3rd line center position. 3 goals and 5 points in the playoff run, with this being his best goal scored, in game 5 of the finals. He played a couple more forgettable years with the Canucks before signing as a free agent with St. Louis, then being traded to Pittsburgh, and now playing for Ornskoldsvik of the Swedish Elite League this season. He is only 30 years old.
Cody Hodgson: Sucks. Just ask Gillis, the Sabres and the Predators. Remember when his trainer Gary Roberts verbally lashed out at Mike Gillis? Yea how's that going, Gary? Have another side dish of broccoli.
Aaron Rome: Hey, I love stay at home defencemen who beat the hell out of people. Rome saw sporadic time on the Canucks' blueline after being acquired as a free agent in 2009. His most defining moment as a Canuck, beyond the hot streak in 2011-12 was the hit on Bruins forward Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the 2011 Finals in Boston. I still loved the hit. At least the American broadcasters in that clip explored all avenues of the hit. But sweet jeeziz, if that didn't wake up the Bruins team, what did? Rome played 43 games the following season for the Canucks and then signed on in Dallas as a free agent in July of 2012. He did not sustain much success in Dallas and so received a tryout with the Red Wings in 2014 but that did not materialize either. Now, Rome is toiling in the AHL, hardly a place for a god to be spending his time.
Andrew Alberts: On December 29, 2013, Flames' enforcer Brain McGratton ended Andrew Alberts' career with this hit. I don't recall AA really finding his groove in Vancouver but I'll never forget this hit on Datsyuk. I mean, Datsyuk rarely got caught like that!
Keith Ballard: Another defenceman that I really liked. He had so much potential skill. I was told that he would show world class offensive skills in practice but they never materialized during games. Ballard was a big-name player traded by the Panthers at the 2010 Draft along with Victor Oreskovich to the Canucks in exchange for Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and a first round pick in that draft who the Panthers used to select Quinton Howden. Ballard was the king of the hipchecks. See here, here, here, here. I think he inspired Hamhuis to do this and then unfortunately this. I do believe the NHL put an end to hip checks soon after and called it low-bridging because any hip check was called a penalty after that. You don't see hip checks anymore.
Ballard's annual $4.2 million income became a burden for Vancouver, as he was continually injured and/or not earning a spot on the roster. He was (compliance) bought out by the Canucks in 2013. The Wild acquired him as an unrestricted free agent. Unfortunately during his second season with Minny this happened. That is a concussion that Ballard has not recovered from.
Jeff Tambellini: Signed as a free agent in 2010, Jeff tallied 9 goals and 17 points in 62 games with the Canucks in 2010-11 as well as accumulating no points in 0 points in 6 playoff games. He was let go after the 10/11 season and signed in Zurich in Europe where he has played ever since.
Tanner Glass: Signed as a free agent in 2009. Here is a guy that teammates love but fans tend to hate when losing occurs. Glass is an ultimate Alain Vigneault favorite. He was in Vancouver back in the day and still is now with the New York Rangers. I personally think it has to be the locker room value that he brings. Sure, he scored 7 goals and 21 points in 140 regular season games with the Canucks. He scored zero points in 20 games with the Canucks in the 2011 playoffs. Just sayin'.....which leads me to.....
Victor Oreskovich, (acquired in the Ballard deal), who also scored ZERO points in 19 playoff games in 2011. Oreskovich was a tenacious forechecker much like Tanner, but the two never found the back of the net. Let's quote Wikipedia on his fate:
During the off-season, the Canucks chose not to re-sign bottom-six forwards Raffi Torres and Tanner Glass, seemingly increasing Oreskovich's chances to remain with the team. However, prior to the start of the season, he was waived by Vancouver after the team picked up fourth-line winger Dale Weise from the New York Rangers. After clearing waivers, he was assigned to the Canucks' new AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves on October 5, 2011. Returning to the AHL, he suffered a concussion that sidelined him for several games. Following his recovery, he was called up to the Canucks on December 5, 2011, to replace injured winger Christopher Higgins. He appeared in one game during the call-up before being sent back down.
And after that there is no info on Oreo, except that maybe be works for an insurance company.
Roberto Luongo And Cory Schneider: I am not going to go too far into this. Schneider was traded for Bo Horvat. Oh gee isn't that shitty?
Luongo was traded for Shawn Matthias and Jakob Markstrom. Again...who is really gonna gripe about this one? Marky Mark looks GOLD. Thank you, Gillis. You did the best you could.
There are a few names I did not cover on the 2011 list but this post has gone on long enough. Sergei Shirokov? Blah!!! Rotting in Russia.
Rick Rypien was a part of the Canucks when they went to the Finals but did not play a playoff game for them that year. He did for the Manitoba Moose though. On July 1, 2011 the Canucks and Rypien parted ways and Rypper was signed by the Winnipeg Jets. A month and a half later he was found dead in his home in Alberta. We never forget about you, Rypper. We never will.
On that note, I am out!