The Vancouver Canucks say Nikita Tryamkin is close to playing. With Troy Stecher already here and Chris Tanev returning, Philip Larsen’s job is in jeopardy.
How much longer will Philip Larsen be part of the Vancouver Canucks?
Through nine games, Larsen has managed only three assists and is minus-7. You could try to blame his team-worst plus-minus on his partner Luca Sbisa. Except Sbisa himself is only minus-1.
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The Canucks knew what they were getting with Larsen. He was never going to be a stud in his own zone. They brought him in solely to improve the power play. If he could do that, and at least keep his head above water defensively, most would consider him worth it.
The Canucks now have nine active defensemen and it looks like Larsen is ninth on that list.
Tanev and Edler are too valuable, and Erik Gudbranson and Luca Sbisa are paid too highly to come out of the lineup. Ben Hutton has been competent and will stay where he is. And everyone wants to see more of Stecher and Tryamkin.
So that leaves Larsen on the outside, looking in. It’s time for him to start worrying.
It only took nine games to fall from grace. What’s more, he has fallen behind two rookies with 16 games of combined NHL experience. And he may not get another chance to get his job back.
If the Canucks want a power-play specialist in the lineup, they now have Stecher. At worst, Stecher won’t do any worse than Larsen; at best, he could make the power play just a little bit more dynamic.