Canucks and Beyond

Naslund is a Good Catch

03/11/2008 at 8:52pm EDT

From Craig Simpson at CBC:

With 749 points as a Vancouver Canuck, Naslund is the franchise scoring leader. He is the longest serving captain in team history. His nine straight 20-plus goal seasons is also a franchise best. He has led the team in goal scoring, six out of the last eight years, and been the team’s top point getter seven out of eight. He’s durable, and has played through various injuries, missing only six games in the last six seasons. His work with numerous charities is admired in the community. In all, Markus Naslund has been a great player for the Canucks and an inspirational leader in the community.

Simpson goes on to explain the many attributes Naslund brings to his free-agency this summer, and why teams will likely be courting him, even if the Canucks do not.

The generally-accepted reasoning of both Vancouver fans and media tends to be that Naslund is done as a top-tiered player at this point in his career. While there are fair arguments to substantiate this (and certainly his future salary level is going to be substantially lower if he chooses not to retire), it’s also reasonable of Simpson to break the pattern by exploring the various reasons Naslund has struggled in recent years. And why his future could still be bright.

It’s always easier to tell people what they want to hear, so I’ll give full points to Simpson—who I didn’t even know wrote editorials at CBC’s website before this piece—for taking a stand with what is likely to be a far less popular view. But debating whether his view is correct or not, is another issue all together.

For instance, I wonder how much of a factor unspoken injuries might really be for Naslund in these less productive years, as well as other matters Simpson addresses.

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