Rome hoping to find NHL home

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:22 PM ET

CALGARY -- Owner of a Stanley Cup ring and still something is missing.

It might that Aaron Rome's bauble from championship experience with the Anaheim Ducks came without a diamond-studded image of the Cup.

Only those who qualified to get their names on Lord Stanley's mug were given the top-tier rings to commemorate the 2007 championship.

"It gives you something to shoot for," said the Vancouver Canucks defenceman who appeared in one opening-round game against the Minnesota Wild after a single regular-season appearance with the Ducks in a call-up capacity that year.

Now the Nesbitt, Man., native is taking the spot of injured Sami Salo on the Canucks blueline in his latest attempt to put down NHL roots.

The 26-year-old made his regular-season debut against Calgary Friday night.

Although his first NHL experience culminated in a title with the Ducks -- and he did get to spend a day with the Cup -- he's been scratching his way through the professional ranks ever since his brief breakthrough.

"It's by far the best feeling you can ever have as a hockey player, I think," Rome said of the Cup win. "For me, it would be unbelievable to be able to spend a whole day with it again.

"And have my name on it."

Traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets after the Stanley Cup season, Rome worked his way into 17 games in 2007-08, then another eight a year ago when recalled from the American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch.

Signed by the Canucks as an unrestricted free agent this summer, Rome was finally part of a 23-man NHL roster to start a season.

"I've bounced around," Rome said. "It's not uncommon, though, these days."

He was used to it after a five-year junior tour through the WHL took him from the Saskatoon Blades to the Kootenay Ice and Swift Current Broncos before finishing as an overager with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

"I felt like it was positive," Rome said. "Every move I've made, I got an opportunity to develop more as a player."

Friday was his first opportunity to show that his experiences have paid off. He'll have plenty more with Salo's knee sprain sidelining him from three to six weeks.

"I will approach it the same way I did training camp," said Rome. "There's a lot of good players, and I just wanted to show that I could play with them, that I deserved to be here.

"I just feel like every year there has been a progression. I've got a little bit more confident and a little bit more comfortable playing with these types of players."

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca


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