July 23, 2009
Unsung Moose hero inks deal
By KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA
Guillaume Desbiens has put his days as a man without a home behind him.
At this time last year, the versatile forward was an unrestricted free agent after Atlanta Thrashers decided not to make a qualifying offer.
Desbiens found out interest in his services on the market was lukewarm and opted to come to Manitoba Moose training camp with nothing more than a chance to try out.
Not only did Desbiens earn a spot on the roster, he ended up with 21 goals and 47 points in 78 games, added four goals and 12 points during the Calder Cup playoffs and was recognized as the team's unsung hero.
For his efforts, Desbiens was rewarded by the Vancouver Canucks with a two-year, two-way contract that was made official yesterday.
"It's awesome," Desbiens said from Quebec City. "We've been talking for a while and we almost got a deal done before the trade deadline.
"It's a different feeling. Last year I was without a job. At the beginning of the year I didn't expect to score that many goals. What I'm most proud of, not only did we make it to the finals and it was nice to be consistent."
Desbiens, who was originally selected in the fourth round (116th overall) by the Thrashers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, isn't taking anything for granted, but he's excited about the opportunity to fight for work with the Canucks this fall and work toward playing his first NHL game.
"I have a contract, but at the same time there is still a lot ahead of me to overcome to make it up there," said Desbiens, 24. "They have a lot of players, but who knows what can happen at training camp? I'm going there very confident and we'll see what happens."
The Canucks also officially announced the signings of left-winger Tanner Glass and defenceman Mike Funk.
Glass, a 25-year-old from Regina, had four goals, 13 points and 100 penalty minutes in 44 games with the Rochester Americans and seven penalty minutes in three games with the Florida Panthers, who selected him 265th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Glass has one goal and two points in 44 NHL games.
Funk, 22, was limited to just 13 games last season because of a concussion but he was selected 43rd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2004 and has two assists in nine NHL games.
Desbiens, Glass and Funk are all expected to play a significant role with the Moose this season.