Friday, February 27, 2009

Canucks Claim Ossi Vaananen off Waivers

The Vancouver Canucks have claimed defenseman Ossi Vaananen off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

This is a very nice depth pickup for the Canucks. Vaananen was made available on waivers due to the salary cap problems of the Flyers, who needed to make room for Daniel Briere's return.

I don't know much about Vaananen, but he does bring very good size (6'4" 215lbs) and will fit in ahead of Davison on the depth chart and could even bump O'Brien from the number 6 spot. Vaananen averaged 18:27 a game for Philly, but has seen his ice time drop in half during the month of February.

If I'm remembering correctly from his days in Colorado, Vaananen is a fairly physical defenseman down low, similar to how a guy like Ohlund plays (ie: he's not going to fight or take a lot of roughing penalties). Looking at his numbers... the guy throws a lot of hits (85 - same total as Bieksa and Ohlund) and blocks a fair amount of shots (75 - would rank him 3rd beside Edler). He was also among Philly's top 4 PK defenseman, averaging 3:11 shorthanded. However, judging by his total of only 18 shots on goal and no power play time, his offensive skills appear limited.

Basically we're probably looking at a similar player to O'Brien, trading SOB's fighting and offensive upside for a more stay at home/less mistakes guy.

The best part about this move is that the Canucks are no longer one or two injuries away from having Rob Davison and Lawrence Nycholat playing regularly.

Overall a nice free pickup for Gillis. The move also opens the door for the possibility of moving O'Brien at the deadline. From the Flyers perspective this was very poor asset management. At this time of year a guy like Vaananen could easily fetch a 4th round pick, probably more.

Vaananen makes $1m and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

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