Despite training camp being just around the corner and the weather having us thinking it’s November, these are still the dog days of summer when it comes to Canuck coverage. So much so that both the Sun and Province today featured stories about Victor Oreskovich, the seeming throw-in in the Keith Ballard deal.
Of course, the word is that Oreskovich is much more than that, a player that was coveted by Mike Gillis. His is an interesting story and again establishes that Gillis is prepared to think outside of the box when it comes to player development. Typical pro player progression does not often accommodate those players who were late bloomers (physically or otherwise) or those who decided to drop out of the game in their seemingly formative years (as Oreskovich did despite being a 2nd round pick - to obtain a finance degree). At 6’3” and 225 pounds, the 24 year old will certainly have a literal leg up on other up-and-coming players.
Which brings us to the question of where he will fit on his new team. With Alexandre Burrows sidelined to start the season, you can likely pencil in Raffi Torres along with Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler, the Sedins and Mikael Samuelsson to get top 6 minutes. That leaves Oreskovich battling it out with the likes of Darcy Hordichuck, Rick Rypien, Manny Maholtra, Jannik Hansen, Tanner Glass, Alex Bolduc, Jeff Tambellini, Cody Hodgson and Jordan Schroeder. And there could be others in that mix, too. Remember last year when the unheralded Sergei Shirokov and Tanner Glass made the team to start the season. The point, of course, is that there could be at least a dozen players vying for the bottom 6 forward spots.
Oreskovich clearly has the size you’d like, but there’s nothing to indicate, at this point, that he’s got much offensive upside - as his 6 points in 50 NHL games last season, albeit on the 4th line, will attest.
So how will this story spin in another month with the regular season just around the corner? At his age and size (and cap hit), we expect you’ll see him on the ice on opening night.