Ready for big-game action

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

With the season opener in Calgary fast approaching, the Canucks assigned eight players - including Michael Grabner and Cory Schneider - to the Manitoba Moose yesterday, reducing their roster size to 29.

Although no additional cuts were announced prior to 24 hours deadline, the club still have a couple more decisions to make by tomorrow, when they need to submit their 23-man roster to the NHL.

The injuries to Pavol Demitra (shoulder), Mathieu Schneider (shoulder), Lawrence Nycholat (back), and Jannik Hansen (broken hand) gives this team some extra time to re-evaluate, but by simple calculations, at least two more players still need to be cut come Thursday.

Those on the bubble includes: Defencemen Michael Funk and Aaron Rome, and forwards Tanner Glass and Cody Hodgson.

Vancouver has the option to go with 14 forwards and keep Glass and Hodgson for now or keep eight on the backend and 13 players up front.

Either way, the Canucks have to trim from 25 players to 23.

However, when players start to return from injuries, more roster decisions will have to be made, especially regarding Hodgson, who either has to return to junior for the rest of the season, or stay with the NHL club.

Since he is only 19 years old, Hodgson is not eligible to play in the AHL, and according to the CBA, his three-year entry level contract will kick in if he plays more than nine NHL games this year.

Another rookie, Sergei Shirokov looks to be the most suitable fill-in for Demitra on the second line after a superb preseason showing where he led the team in points. Depending on his regular season performance, the Russian could find himself as a mainstay on the team.


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