Monday, February 12, 2007

The Little Call-Ups That Could

Brandon Reid has always teased Canucks fans with his explosiveness and speed since being drafted in 2000; he has, however, failed to do more than that. He was a "new NHL" guy playing in the clutch-and-grab era - a tall task for someone of his small stature.

Unfortunately, even after the lockout and the league's rule changes, he found himself lower on the Canucks' depth chart under the likes of Bertuzzi, Morrison, Naslund, Sedin, Sedin, Carter and even Cooke and Kesler. He spent two seasons in Europe before finally making a return appearance on Saturday night, with the same Canucks team that drafted him seven years ago. He didn't disappoint.

Iain MacIntyre (Vancouver Sun) has much more:

Reid, whose road back to the NHL was blocked by a rock slide in Winnipeg last fall when he was a healthy scratch for the American League's Manitoba Moose, relished every shift with Markus Naslund and fellow call-up Brad Moran in the Canucks' 3-2 win against the Atlanta Thrashers. Reid is desperate for another chance Wednesday in Minnesota.

He blew past Atlanta defenceman Steve McCarthy on one memorable rush, which would have produced the goal-of-the-season had Naslund had a little better angle to convert Reid's whirling, goalmouth pass.

The waterbug from Montreal, 25 years old and seven years removed from the draft that saw Vancouver claim him with the 208th pick, injected some energy into the Canucks with his exuberant play.

"It brought energy to our group," coach Alain Vigneault agreed of Reid and Moran, a 27-year-old from Abbotsford. "A lot of times, [players] can do it long term. Sometimes they can only do it short term. Their performance will dictate that."
By coincidence or fate, Brad Moran, who was also drafted in the same round and same draft year as Reid, also made his return appearance on Saturday night. An Abbotsford native - pushing the Canucks' hometown boys count to three (Mitchell and Morrison are the others) - Moran lined up with Markus Naslund (and Reid) and showed that he can play with the big boys.

From Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province):

"There was excitement," Moran said. "This is what I've been playing for, to try and get here. It's nice to be back."

Of the two, Moran has the better chance to stay for a while. Almost 28 years old, he has proven to be a real find for the Canucks organization, which is seen by some to be lean on high-scoring forwards.

Coming off a season in which he missed three months because of shoulder surgery, few expected Moran to challenge for the Moose scoring lead. His play (52 points in 45 games) has turned heads, a formidable accomplishment for a player who won't be found on many, if any, lists of Vancouver's top-20 prospects.

"Moran is a really good passer," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's the best offensive player in our minor system right now. He needs to get a chance."
Depending on Jan Bulis' shoulder injury and Marc Chouinard being Marc Chouinard, Moran and Reid may both get that chance.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 9:11 AM


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