Thursday, October 06, 2011

2011-2012 Opening Night Lineup

The Canucks open the season tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:00 CBC). Here's your opening night lineup...


  • Sedin Sedin Burrows
  • Sturm Hogdson Samuelsson
  • Higgins Malhotra Hansen
  • Volpatti Lapierre Weise


  • Hamhuis Bieksa
  • Edler Salo
  • Ballard Tanev


  • Luongo
  • Schneider

It was reported today that Mike Gillis expects Ryan Kesler to return in 5 to 6 games, or roughly two weeks. The return of Kesler will force some interesting lineup decisions, especially where it concerns Cody Hogdson. Hogdson now has a smaller than expected window to show what he can do when the games are for real. Barring some kind of injury up front Hogdson will have to force his way into the lineup - I don't see the Canucks keeping him around if he isn't in the top 9.

Hogdson has his work cut out for him, but he's not the only one with question marks. On the wings newcomer Marco Sturm will get a good opportunity on the 2nd line, as will Mikael Samuelsson, but both will be expected to produce. If they don't Higgins, Hansen and even Hodgson will be ready for their chance to play on the 2nd line. At centre, the top two positions are obviously set, but Manny Malhotra doesn't have "3rd line centre" written in his contract. It wouldn't be a surprise if Maxim Lapierre ends up supplanting Malhotra on the 3rd line. There is also the possibility of Hodgson sticking as the third line centre and Malhotra moving to the wing, The Canucks will have plenty of internal competition this season.

With so many versatile forwards vying for ice time Alain Vigneault will be doing a lot of line juggling as he evaluates what he has in the 2011-2012 version of your Vancouver Canucks. A month from now tonight's lineup may be a distant memory.