With healthy bodies returning to the lineup, the Vancouver Canucks have a numbers problem once again.
With the recent returns of Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, and Anders Nilsson, the team is close to 100 per cent healthy on defence and in goal.
Erik Gudbranson is the lone defenceman still hurt, while forwards Brandon Sutter, Jay Beagle, and Sven Baertschi all missed this weekend’s game against Dallas. Three of the four skated on Saturday morning.
Early skaters this morning are Beagle, Gudbranson and Baertschi. Good news, 47 is out there. Not so good news, 44 skating now means he’s unlikely to go today. 1pm puck-drop. #Canucks
— Irfaan Gaffar (@sportsnetirf) December 1, 2018
Baertschi’s return is particularly encouraging, given the troubles he’s had with post-concussion syndrome.
Beagle, who has been out of the lineup ever since the fifth game of the season after blocking a shot with his hand/wrist, looks ready to return for Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. The Canucks made room for him on Sunday by placing Brendan Leipsic on waivers, according to Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal.
The #Canucks have put Leipsic on waivers, with Beagle close to returning.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) December 2, 2018
Leipsic will report to the Utica Comets if not claimed by another NHL team. The 24-year-old winger has just five points (2-3-5) in 17 games with the Canucks so far this season. The final straw may have been a soft play in his own zone that led to the winning goal on Thursday.
Just inexcusable. There’s two Canucks on one Vegas player. pic.twitter.com/6DgEyfK6lq
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) November 30, 2018
The Canucks have had a terrible time trying to win hockey games of late, losing 11 of their last 12.
Leipsic showed a lot of offensive potential down the stretch last season, scoring nine points (3-6-9) in 14 games after being acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights for Philip Holm on trade deadline day.
The move to put Leipsic on waivers is a vote of confidence for Sam Gagner, who was given up on after training camp, as well as centre Adam Gaudette, who could have been sent down without waivers.