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Canucks Report: Aaron Volpatti signed, Demitra stays home, third line contribution

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
March 22, 2010

Volpatti

CANUCKS SIGN AARON VOLPATTI

It was announced today by Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis that the Canucks have signed forward Aaron Volpatti to a multi-year deal.

The 24 year old Revelstoke, BC native was captain at Brown Unversity in his senior year. In the 2009-10 season, Volpatti registered 32 points (17-15-32) in 37 games. He has played four seasons overall with Brown, recording 62 points (32-30-62) in 123 career college games.

Before playing in college, he played for the BCHL's Vernon Vipers for three seasons where he recorded 37 points (13-24-37) in 137 games. He has also played in the 2004 BCHL playoffs where he earned one goal in five games. The 6'2" 215-pound forward was the assistant captain of the Vipers in his final season.

DEMITRA STAYS HOME

Canuck foward Pavol Demitra did not practice with the Canucks today for personal reasons and will not be travelling with the team to Edmonton.

Mason Raymond will take his spot on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Michael Grabner. Tanner Glass will skate on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and Jannik Hansen after being a healthy scratch for the last two games.

Nolan Baumgartner rejoined the team today at practice and will be the healthy scratch tomorrow night when the Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers along with fellow defenceman Andrew Alberts.

All other lines from Saturday's match are intact for tomorrow's game.

LUONGO SHORTLISTED FOR MESSIER LEADERSHIP AWARD

Canucks top goaltender and captain Roberto Luongo has made the shortlist for the Messier Leadership Award.

The award is presented "to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season." The award is named after six-time Stanley Cup Champion Mark Messier who has also captained three different teams.

NHL.com viewers can vote weekly until April 4 between Week 4 candidates Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks.

Click here for the full story by NHL writer Rocky Bonnano.

IT’S THAT TIME

As the regular season approaches its end, it’s that time of the season where teams begin to see an end to the long 82-game stretch and reach towards the playoffs but the standings are never at a stand-still. With 10 games left in regulation, the Canucks hope to have even more success than last season when they won six out of their last ten.

The Canucks are six points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche with 92 points (44-24-4) holding their Northwest lead and third spot in the West, and only five points away from the top two teams, the Chicago Blackhawks (45-19-7) and the Phoenix Coyotes (46-22-5), both with 97 points.

The San Jose Sharks (43-19-10) were leapfrogged by the Coyotes after 3-2 shootout victory by Phoenix against the Dallas Stars on Sunday that put them one point ahead. The Sharks have had six consecutive losses while the Coyotes are 9-1-0 in their last 10.

The Canucks know that all four lines will have to contribute in order to keep their division lead and to have a chance at leading the West. The Canucks third line led by Kyle Wellwood has stepped it up recently, recording five points (2-3-5) in the last three games.

"That whole line's playing well for us," said Ryan Kesler. "Welly's playing some of the best hockey I've ever seen him play, and OB stepped up big a couple nights ago for us. We need that from guys, to step up at different times."

Wellwood (11-11-22) has scored two goals in his last three games and is only six points away from beating his point total from last season (18-9-27).

"I've felt a little stronger and a little more confident with the puck," said Wellwood. "When it's coming near me around the net I've been finding ways to get my stick on it and find a way to get it in the net."

Defenceman Shane O’Brien (2-6-8) has excelled since being scratched for three consecutive games. He has earned three points in his first two games back (one goal, two assists).

"This is the time of the year you work hard for during the season and in the summers to be ready for this time of year" said O'Brien. "It's a lot of fun and hopefully I can just continue to get better and help this team win any way I can."

The Canucks are one of two teams this season that have six 20 goal scorers. They have scored 236 goals this season, the most in the West and second best in the League. Last season, Vancouver finished with 246 goals and Detroit led the League with 295 goals in the 2008-09 season.

"We have guys that are putting pucks in the net and I think the main reason for that is when one line isn't putting the pucks in the net that game, other lines are stepping up and playing well," said Mason Raymond. "Hopefully we can continue that into the playoffs as a key to our success."

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