Canucks' Troy Stecher out long term with knee injury

Oct 24 2017, 9:00 pm

The Canucks are about to face a tough test.

With Alex Edler already out with a long term injury, the team got more bad news concerning their defence. Troy Stecher, who left Sunday’s game in Detroit, will miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, Travis Green confirmed on Tuesday at practice in Minnesota.

Green was reluctant to give Stecher ice time during the first handful of games this season, but the sophomore appeared to be gaining the trust of his new coach lately. Stecher played a season-high 22:25 Thursday in Boston, before seeing 19:10 of ice time against the Sabres on Friday.

Offensively, it’s been a struggle for the Richmond native. Stecher has just one assist in eight games, after leading all Canucks defencemen in scoring last season. Much of that can be attributed to starting the season off the power play, something that should have been a surprise after leading Vancouver’s blueliners in power play time last season.

The injuries to Edler and Stecher will put more demands on Vancouver’s top-four defencemen.

Michael Del Zotto played 24:52 last game, while Chris Tanev received 23:48 of ice time. Ben Hutton (22:46) and Erik Gudbranson (20:54) also saw north of 20 minutes.

Vancouver’s bottom pairing will likely be Derrick Pouliot – who hasn’t looked out of place since arriving in a trade with Pittsburgh – with Alex Biega. Offseason signing Patrick Wiercioch has been recalled from Utica. He’s a left-shot, so swapping in for Pouliot is more likely than Biega.

Up front, the Canucks should be getting forward Brendan Gaunce back from injury soon. Gaunce hasn’t played a regular season game since a season-ending injury on March 9.

The Canucks have won two in a row and three of their last four on their current road trip. They play in Minnesota on Tuesday before returning home for a five-game homestand that begins on Thursday against Washington.

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