Canucks: Hotshot Sheldon Rempal pushes to turn recall into lineup spot

‘I’ve had a lot of good days in pro and definitely a lot of bad days. All the bad days have helped me get to where I am today to keep grinding. I definitely think I can play here and stay here.’ — Canucks recalled winger Sheldon Rempal.

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Sheldon Rempal is playing a significant support role for the Vancouver Canucks.

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The recalled right winger is not only a legitimate lineup option after piling up 48 points with the American Hockey League affiliate in Abbotsford — 23 goals and 25 assists in 41 games will draw the attention of the parent club — he’s also that convenient chip Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau can play to push practice pace.

And if a winger is struggling with scoring, discipline and playing a complete game — especially sophomore Nils Hoglander, who has just one goal in his previous 24 games, has taken offensive-zone penalties and isn’t hard enough on pucks — then inserting Rempal at some point on this seven-game homestand makes sense on two levels.

He was recalled March 7 and could give the offense a boost and Hoglander an opportunity to look, learn and work on his shortcomings in practice.

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It would also help Rempal extend his career.

The Calgary native is 26 and qualifies as a Group 6 unrestricted free agent. At 25, he had completed three or more pro seasons, was on an expiring deal, and played less than 80 NHL games.

Undrafted, Rempal logged seven with the Los Angeles Kings in 2018-19 and three with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2020-21. His current one-year, two-way contract is at the league minimum of US$750,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL, so staying here also helps the team’s bottom line.

Along the way, the BCHL and NCAA grad have been AHL rookie of the month, on short contracts and not tended to a qualifying offer by the Kings. It certainly tests the mettle to march on.

“It sucks when a team kind throws in the towel on you, but just as most guys, it just gives me so much motivation to try and prove those guys wrong — those who looked past me,” Rempal said Sunday following the game-day skate at Rogers Arena. “It adds fuel to the fire and I have a lot of confidence in myself. I’m never going to quit on things.”

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“I’ve had a lot of good days in pro and definitely a lot of bad days. All the bad days have helped me get to where I am today and I’m just happy to keep grinding away and getting another chance in the NHL.

“I definitely think I can play here and stay here. I’m going to try to do something every day to prove that.

Boudreau has an obvious level of appreciation for not losing sight of the ultimate goals and to continue the grind.

“Appreciation? I was in the minors and still believed at 38 that in Fort Wayne, (Indiana, IHL) that I was going to get another crack at the NHL,” Boudreau said. “I talk to them (recalled players) all the time, I respect them, and I know what they’re going through.

“Sometimes, they’re good enough to play but haven’t had the chance they deserve. I try to make them as comfortable as I can because I probably know better than anybody what it’s like to be in their shoes.”

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For Rempal to attract more NHL attention, and especially in Vancouver where he prefers to remain, he must separate himself from the AHL pack. Many can put up points in the minors, but in The Show it’s about consistency of effort with and without the puck. And if you can’t keep pace, forget about it.

“It’s just moving my feet and seeing the ice really well,” said Rempal. “I like to play fast and with skill and hopefully produce some offence.”


Elias Pettersson was the only regular roster absent from an optional skate Sunday morning. And, of course, that set off some alarm bells in a hockey mad market, even though the center practiced Saturday.

Boudreau labeled the Sunday no-show as ‘maintenance’ and it may have something to do with some discomfort. Pettersson felt Friday against the Washington Capitals. In the third period, he appeared to sustain a left-wrist ailment and went to the bench where he tried to shake it off.

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Pettersson was injured March 1, 2021 in Winnipeg and missed the final 30 games of the regular season. He suffered a hyper-extension, and while surgery wasn’t required, he was slow to find his shot and level of engagement this season.

A slow start was the byproduct and just five points (1-4) in his first 11 games, including a nine-game goal drought. All that now seems like ancient history with his run of excellence. He had 18 points (7-11) in 17 games heading into Sunday’s stiff test against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

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