Canuck prospect looking to dominate

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:25 PM ET

Jordan Schroeder isn’t coming down to the farm to hang his head and whine about why he isn’t already in the NHL.

Schroeder, the Vancouver Canucks first round pick (22nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has taken his demotion in stride and is ready to embark on his first full season as a professional hockey player.

Sure, the speedster wants to get back to The Show as quickly as possible, but at the same time Schroeder already sees the value in getting some seasoning with the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League.

“A lot of great players spend time in the American League,” said Schroeder, who skated with the Moose for the first time after he was re-assigned to the minors on Monday afternoon. “It might take a year or two. The main thing for me is to always move my feet when I’m pursuing the puck, coming back hard. Once I have the puck, my skill and smarts will take over from there. On every shift and in every game, I want to go out and try to be the best player on the ice.

“There’s no time line. Just keep working hard. You never know when your time will come.”

Schroeder, who turns 20 on Sept. 29, went to Canucks’ camp hoping to be one of the players in the mix to fill the void among the Top-6 forwards, since Alexandre Burrows will be out for at least the first month of the season after shoulder surgery.

As it worked out, Schroeder had a subpar prospects tournament by his own standards before acquitting himself quite well in a pair of NHL pre-season games with the Canucks.

Before he was shipped out, Schroeder was given a pretty clear message from Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault, who noted it was important for the rookie to go down to Manitoba and “dominate.”

“It’s motivation, that’s for sure,” said Schroeder, who had four goals and nine points in 11 regular season games and added three goals and six points in six playoff games for the Moose after completing his sophomore campaign with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers last spring. “(Vigneault) is an intense coach and I’m going to take that to heart, come down here and work hard and try to do everything I can to get back up there.

“You’ve got to look at the positives. There’s a great group of guys here and a great coaching stuff. It’s going to be fun.”

Schroeder isn’t big on setting numerical goals, but his aim is clear.

“Obviously, you want to try and get points every single game,” said Schroeder, who worked out with Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders and Drew Stafford of the Buffalo Sabres this summer. “I have to be an offensive producer and try to be a point-per-game player.”

Moose head coach Claude Noel sees Schroeder’s potential and will be working closely with his on improving his all-around game.

“He’s a smart player and I need to see details in his game and I’ll discuss those details with him,” said Noel. “He’s a guy that’s going to make plays. He does a lot of good things. He has proven that he’s been a very effective player and very offensive player and I don’t think that’s going to change.

“Is he a complete player? We’ll look and see. All first year players are the same. I don’t care what age you are, they have some room to improve on.”

One thing Noel isn’t worried about is Schroeder’s size — or lack thereof.

“I don’t evaluate players on size, I evaluate players on effectiveness,” said Noel. “There are a lot of big guys who aren’t effective and there are a lot of good small players. Schroeder’s skill and speed jump out at you.”

“Jordan is a dynamic little player,” added Moose general manager Craig Heisinger. “This is really his first full year of pro hockey. He came in and had a good impact with us last year, but there’s going to be a learning curve. He’s used to playing 36, 40 games over the course of the season and having all week off. Part of our job here is to get him into as many games and situations as we can. We’re going to give him every chance in our environment to get him back to (the NHL).”

INJURY UPDATE: One player who didn’t hit the ice on Tuesday was left-winger Prab Rai, who is currently listed as day-to-day with a minor groin injury.

Rai, a fifth-round choice (131st overall) of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, had 41 goals and 69 points in 67 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League last season and is coming off a strong camp with the parent club.

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


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