While Mike Santorelli has done everything to earn a third-line centre job, the Vancouver Canucks made a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes late Saturday to acquire Zac Dalpe, 23, and Jeremy Welsh, 25, who can both play the middle. The Canucks parted with forward Kellan Tochkin and a fourth-round 2014 pick in the deal and believe the added depth could have immediate and future impact.
Welsh is on a one-way contract that pays $850,000 and Dalpe is on a two-way that pays $550,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the minors. The buzz is that the younger Dalpe, with 41 games of NHL experience, might be a better fit down the middle or at wing for the Canucks, who must declare their 23-man playing roster by Monday.
That meant Bo Horvat, who didn’t practise Sunday, was returned to junior. Fellow 2013 first-round draft pick Hunter Shinkaruk was also expected to be sent down.
Dalpe had a goal in 10 games with the Hurricanes last season and 21 goals and 42 points in 54 AHL games. Welsh had one assist in five games with the Hurricanes last season and 14 goals and 26 goals in 69 AHL games. But Dalpe has played 41 NHL games and Welsh just six.
“Zac is a player we’ve been tracking for a couple of years and they (Hurricanes) have a lot of strength at centre ice and their first pick this year was another centre and he hasn’t had much of an opportunity,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said of Dalpe, a 6-foot-1,195 pound Paris, Ont. native. “Welsh is a young guy we tried to sign out of college (Ohio State) and he’s a big centre (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) who plays hard and we see upside in him.”
Gillis agreed Santorelli has played well and earned a roster spot, even though Tortorella hasn’t settled yet on a third-line centre because he’s willing to flip players from wing to the middle.
OF NOTE — Nicklas Jensen (upper body) remains in Vancouver for treatment and is listed as day-to-day, but will eventually be assigned to Utica (AHL).