Well, that was quick!
This morning, Christian Wolanin told media that he would be heading back to the AHL after the team hosted an optional skate that saw seven players take the ice for a Sedin-run practice that focused on attacking and defending in tight spaces around the net.
Wolanin was asked how he approaches the opportunity to potentially get into an NHL game with the Vancouver Canucks soon and he laughed near the end of the question and said, “I’m actually going back today.”
“I was just here to be able to watch the game here last night and have a fun practice this morning,” said Wolanin. “I’m just thankful to be playing again, I owe a lot of credit to the coaching staff down there for just giving me the chance to play. I said it to the media down there, if I can get a chance to play, I really feel like I can produce, and I owe them a huge thanks. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of the team and play meaningful hockey.”
We asked Wolanin about his confidence from just being able to play hockey consistently again.
“Yeah, people might be wondering, ‘what happened to Wolanin?’, well, I wasn’t playing for the last two and a half to three years. It takes a lot out of people. It’s hard to do man, it’s a very underrated part of the job and I’m just thankful to play again. I love playing hockey and I love getting the chance to play meaningful hockey and I’ll keep repeating it. If I keep getting the chance to do that, I think can create. And with that, when you get minutes, and the minutes start to stack up, you start to play more, you start to build more confidence, it’s a different game when you’re confident.”
Wolanin will be back with Abbotsford, who play games against the Manitoba Moose on Friday and Saturday. The consistency in Wolanin’s ice time is a big reason for his elevated confidence.
“To play consistent games in a row is one thing and to play consistent minutes in a row is another thing,” said Wolanin. “To have both of those add up at the same time is just good for the player and I’m fortunate enough to be on the good side of that.”
If the 27-year-old defenceman can continue to build that confidence up even higher, he could see some NHL games at some point this season.
Wolanin is on a one-year, two-way contract with the Canucks organization. His NHL salary is $750,000 while his minor league contract is $350,000.
So, though it was a short stint in the NHL, at least he collected a few extra bucks along the way.