Ben Kuzma September 12, 2016
Despite a freak January injury and not skating until August, Anton Rodin hopes to be 100 per cent healthy before playing a National Hockey League pre-season game. He knows that will be the litmus test.
Rodin suffered a left-knee tendon laceration after losing an edge in a Swedish Elite League practice and having a player step on him. However, the Canucks were confident that the versatile Rodin would still project as a third-line left winger next season, unless general manager Jim Benning trades for top-six help.
Fresh from an MVP performance with Brynas IF Gavle in the SEL with 16 goals and 37 points in 33 games, the Canucks’ second-round pick in the 2009 draft is ready for another NHL shot after two injury-plagued AHL seasons with the Chicago Wolves and then three solid seasons in Europe.
If the left knee holds up, the 25-year-old Stockholm native should be worth the one-year contract investment of $950,000 US that has a European assignment clause. It allows Rodin the option of returning to the SEL instead of going to the AHL if he doesn’t make the NHL roster. Not that he’s thinking that. He sounded confident Monday after an informal skate at Rogers Arena.
“The knee feels pretty good and I probably have a bit more to go,” said the 5-foot-11, 181 pound winger. “It’s kind of day-to-day and today it felt great and it’s been good for the last week. I’m pain free. It’s just getting used to everything again. I just need to get my cardio up, but that will come pretty quick.”
And he hopes for the same in rewarding the Canucks’ faith.
“I got to be captain of my (SEL) team and that helped my confidence,” added Rodin. “My goal has always been to play in the NHL and I’m here to play my game. I just have to get faster and more physical, but I’ve played in all situations and being a hard worker is probably the first thing for me.”