Anton Rodin at Canucks training camp in 2011 (via CanucksTV)
Anton Rodin was named the SHL MVP less than two weeks ago, and he may be close to signing a deal to join the Canucks. Rodin, 25, was drafted by Vancouver in 2009 but failed to catch on with the Canucks after two seasons in the AHL. Vancouver still owns his NHL rights, however.
Anton Rodin’s first foray into North American hockey wasn’t very successful, but it appears the 25-year-old is ready to give it another shot with the Canucks.
According to TSN 1040’s Tony Gallagher, Rodin is close to signing a deal to join Vancouver next season following the completion of the SHL campaign.Vancouver's News 1130 is reporting a deal could be done this week. Rodin, who scored 16 goals and 37 points in 33 games, was recently named the SHL’s MVP even though he missed more than one-third of the season due to injury.
Rodin was a second-round pick, 53rd overall, by Vancouver in 2009. He signed his entry-level deal in 2010, but didn’t come over to North America until the 2011-12 season. After failing to make the Canucks out of camp, Rodin spent 111 games over the next two seasons with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, where he scored 14 goals and 41 points. He headed back to Sweden in 2013, but Canucks GM Jim Benning has acknowledged previously that signing Rodin is an option.
“We still own his rights so we could sign him and bring him back if that’s what we decide,” Benning told the Vancouver Sun’s Brad Ziemer in November.
Canucks president Trevor Linden said earlier this season that he saw Rodin one player the team could pursue to potentially strengthen their roster, and Benning acknowledged he was going to attempt to see Rodin in action. However, those comments came before the injury cost Rodin the remainder of his season, but the MVP-winning campaign may have been enough to earn Rodin another shot at the NHL. There is one catch, though, and that’s Rodin would likely only come over to North America if he has a one-way deal.
“I think if he comes over it is to play in the NHL,” Benning told Ziemer. “He is not going to want to sign a contract at this stage to come and play in the American league. We have to make the determination first if he makes this team and where we think he is going to fit on our team. Once we make that determination then we’ll look into what his contract status is and go from there.”
Following his MVP win, Rodin acknowledged his time in the AHL as something that helped him — he said he developed “both as a player and as a person” — but it makes sense he wouldn’t want to go back to the AHL after his success in Sweden’s top league. Recent SHL MVPs to have NHL success include Mats Zuccarello and Jakob Silfverberg, and Rodin seemingly wants his chance to have the same level of success.
If he signs a deal, he could very well have an out-clause similar to what several European players have inked over the past few seasons. The out-clause would likely allow Rodin to return to Europe if there was no fit for him in Vancouver and he was demoted to the AHL. If Rodin does sign, it could be the type of low-risk, potentially high-reward signing the Canucks need right now. They wouldn’t be giving up assets and could potentially land a depth scorer at a relatively low cap hit