VANCOUVER – Owen Nolan’s road back to the NHL has hit a dead end.
The 39-year-old former all-star was released by Vancouver on Sunday after the Canucks lost 4-3 to the San Jose Sharks in a pre-season game.
Nolan had a goal and an assist in three pre-season games with the Canucks as the native of Belfast, Northern Ireland attempted to resurrect his NHL career after playing last season with Zurich in Switzerland. The first overall pick of the 1990 draft had 885 points in 1,200 NHL games with Quebec/Colorado, San Jose, Toronto, Phoenix, Calgary and Minnesota.
His best season was in 1999-00, when he had 44 goals and 40 assists in 78 games with the Sharks.
The Canucks also released former NHL forward Niko Dimitrakos from a professional tryout contract Sunday night, one day after doing the same to Steve Begin, and two days after cutting veteran goaltender Manny Legace from his tryout.
Vancouver also sent goalie Matt Climie and forward Antoine Roussel to its American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago after Sunday’s loss.
The Canucks also lost a couple of players to injury, as defenceman Aaron Rome broke his hand and minor league forward Steven Pinizzotto dislocated his shoulder in Sunday’s game.
Rome, who has played 105 games over the past two seasons in Vancouver, was injured blocking a shot in the second period and did not return.
“He ll be re-evaluated tomorrow, but obviously it’s going to be some time, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of Rome’s injury.
Pinizzotto, who played all five of his seasons in the minors, was hurt after a first-period collision with big San Jose defenceman Douglas Murray.