Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 6/25/12

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Aaron Rome #29 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the Anaheim Ducks during a preseason game at the Honda Center on September 17, 2009 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Not returning in 2012?

The Vancouver Canucks have decided to let unrestricted free agent defenseman Aaron Rome and Center Andrew Ebbett go into free agency without signing them to contract extensions.

Winger Victor Oreskovich will join those two as an UFA, after he did not receive a qualifying offer that would have kept the restricted player with the team.

All three players will be able to start negotiated deals with new teams starting July 1st, 2012. 

Built in a day

Of the three players not returning, Aaron Rome figures to be the one who’s presence will be missed the most.

He was never able to consistently project as anything more than a sixth defenseman, although he was often moved up in the rotation to the top four for certain games.  He played in 43 games in the 2011-2012 season, and chipped in with 10 points.

Still relatively young at 28, his physical play and penchant for standing up for his teammates made him a likeable player in the dressing room, and will make other teams take a good hard look at him.

A team such as the Edmonton Oilers comes to mind, as they need help on the back-end, and could sign him for just around $1 million US.

His departure begs the question, who will fill that sixth spot on defense?

Who will fill that sixth spot on defense?

Gragnani? Seriously?

Marc-Andre Gragnani, who came over via a trade with the Buffalo Sabres (the same deal that sent Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer to the Sabres for Zack Kassian), figures to get more time in that spot. (Some news dropped a short time ago on MAG)

He was never able to fully seize the role last season, but would have to be the favorite alongside Andrew Alberts to fight for that spot.

That is only because we reported on June 20th that Gillis had indeed told Gragnani that he’d be qualified…..hit the brakes.

We’re not so sure now.

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that Gragnani DID NOT receive a qualifying offer. I guess the the Canucks weren’t impressed with M-A-G in his 14 game audition.

What now you ask?

Well there will only be six guys under contract after July 1st. Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler, Keith Ballard, Andrew Alberts and Chris Tanev.

Not exactly inspiring another Cup run is it?

Ebbett

Andrew Ebbett was a role player who figured to be on the third or fourth line if he stayed on with the Canucks this year.  He played in 18 games in the 2011-2012 season, and netted 5 goals.

He was not valued much more than a plug and play player who should be easily replaced by the team going into next season.

We found out via a text message via a tweet via a carrier pigeon that he was not signed for 2012/13.

The Big Hype

Victor Oreskovich, despite his size at 6’3” 225 lbs., was never able to realize his potential to be a reliable third or fourth line player.

He did have glimmers of good play in the 2010-2011 season, which should get him some interest from other teams when he tests the market, but he will not leave much of a noticeable hole when he leaves this Vancouver team.

He was only able to get into one game last season, and he did not register any points. 

Aaron Rome leaving will have an even greater impact if veteran defenseman Sami Salo, who will become an UFA himself if he doesn’t sign a contract by July 1st, ends up leaving the team.

Salo had a strong year for the team this past season, and has had a very productive career, although he has often found himself on the injury report for large chunks of time.

It remains to see how the defensive rotation will shake out from now until the start of the season.

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© Reggie Gill for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Aaron Rome, Alexander Sulzer, Andrew Ebbett, Buffalo Sabres, Canucks, Canucks Blog, Canucks free agents, Canucks news, Cody Hodgson, Edmonton Oilers, Free Agency, Marc-Andre Gragnani, NHL, NHL Free Agents, NHL Headlines, NHL News, Restricted, Sami Salo, UFA, Unrestricted Free Agent, Vancouver blogs, Vancouver Canucks, Victor Oreskovich, Zack Kassian

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