Canucks deal for veteran center Pahlsson
Sami Pahlsson is going from 30th place to first, as the Columbus Blue Jackets have traded the veteran checking center to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Taylor Ellington and a pair of fourth-round draft picks.
Pahlsson, 34, will be reunited with good friends and fellow Swedes Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin in Vancouver, where he joins a team that has 87 points and is currently first in the Western Conference.Pahlsson had 11 points in 61 games with the Blue Jackets this season. He was averaging 15:02 of ice time per game and winning better than 51 percent of his faceoffs.
"I guess it's nice; it's been a tough run for us (in Columbus) and I just hope I have some good game left," Pahlsson told TSN. "I hope I do; don't see any reason why I couldn't do it again."
The Canucks are Pahlsson's fifth team.
He started his career in Boston in 2000, but moved to Anaheim after 17 games and played with the Ducks until 2009, when he was traded at the deadline to Chicago. Pahlsson signed a three-year contract with the Blue Jackets on July 1, 2009.
He never got to the playoffs with the Jackets, who are last in the NHL with 43 points this season.
"It's not fun, everyone wants to be in the playoffs," Pahlsson said before learning of his trade Monday. "It's the best part of hockey. We've had three years where we're not really close to it and it's hard on everyone."
Pahlsson knows what winning feels like. He won Olympic gold with Team Sweden in 2006 and was a finalist for the Selke Trophy in 2007, when he won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim.
In Pahlsson, the Canucks are getting a player that can help their bottom-six as well as their fifth-ranked penalty kill (86.3 percent). Pahlsson averaged nearly two and a half minutes of shorthanded ice time with the Blue Jackets this season.
Remember, too, that the Canucks also added forward depth at last year's deadline by acquiring Maxim Lapierre and Chris Higgins. Both players played key roles in Vancouver's run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
If nothing else, the Vancouver Canucks' addition of Samuel Pahlsson means Daniel and Henrik Sedin won't have to face their good friend, former teammate and long-time antagonist in the playoffs.
While playing for Anaheim's Stanley Cup-winning team in 2007, Pahlsson had four points and was a plus-3 while shutting down and outplaying the Sedin twins in the second round of the playoffs. The Sedins admitted in the past to having difficulty going up against Pahlsson, who lives in their hometown of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, and played three seasons with them for Modo in the Swedish Elite League.
Whether Pahlsson -- once described by his former general manager, Brian Burke, as a Swede who plays like he's from Red Deer, Alta. -- still can do that to others, however, remains to be seen.
"I don't see any reason why I can't do it again," Pahlsson told TSN.
Pahlsson was a key part of a great Ducks checking line with Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer that played a huge role in Anaheim's Cup win, and figures to play a similar role with the Canucks, who have gone largely without a shut-down forward unit this season.
Not that they haven't tried to find one. Coach Alain Vigneault talked openly in recent weeks about the search for more of a shut-down combination on his third unit, a look he has relied on in the past, but the emergence of rookie center Cody Hodgson, combined with the struggles of Manny Malhotra, have left Vancouver using more of an offensive third line, with checkers on the fourth.
The addition of Pahlsson, who has 81 games of playoff experience with Anaheim and Chicago (in 2009), should change that. It just remains to be seen how, and how effectively -- and what it means to Hodgson. -- Kevin Woodley