Can Virtanen and McCann help the Utica Comets?

Thomas Drance
May 04 2015 12:12PM

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks have loaned out their two first-round draft picks from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft - forwards Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann - to the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, who advanced to the second-round of the Calder Cup Final this weekend.

Virtanen and McCann saw their CHL seasons end this past weekend when their respective teams were eliminated in the conference final by a pair of clubs that are probably Memorial Cup bound. Beating the likes of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Connor McDavid's Erie Otters is a tough task, but so is cracking an elite AHL lineup this late in the season. 

Can the addition of either Virtanen or McCann, or both, help the Comets in the short-term?

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Report: Oilers out, Canucks still in the running for Matt O'Connor

Thomas Drance
May 03 2015 04:31PM

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

Hot shot NCAA unrestricted free agent goaltender Matt O'Connor, 23, had reportedly begun to narrow down his list of suitors and the Vancouver Canucks are still in the running.

The 6-foot-6 netminder is still talking to the New York Rangers, the Ottawa Senators, and the Canucks, according to TVA's Louie Jean. That would imply that the Edmonton Oilers, who were believed to be among O'Connor's four finalists last week, are out of the running. 

Jean also suggests that O'Connor's choice hinges on which goaltending coach the young netminder's camp believes can take the young, undrafted netminder's game to the next level.

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Nation Drafts 2015 charity playoff pool update

Thomas Drance
May 02 2015 12:35PM


The Nation Network isn't accustomed to playoff success. What else do you expect from a blog network based out of Edmonton?

We're experts in the draft lottery though, and we know a thing or two about playoff pools - particularly the Nation Drafts charity playoff pool that we run annually. With the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs already in full swing, let's take a moment, look back at round one, and check out the progress that the Nation Network's poolies are making in the competition! 

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Canucks sign forward Joseph LaBate to entry-level contract

Thomas Drance
April 30 2015 03:09PM


The Vancouver Canucks have come to terms on a contract with forward Joseph LaBate, a fourth-round pick of the club back in 2011, the club announced on Thursday.

LaBate, 22, has played the past four seasons for the Wisconsin Badgers of the NCAA. Though contract details haven't been released by virtue of LaBate's age we can confidently assert that LaBate's signed a two-year contract.

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Canucks reassign Baertschi to Utica for Calder Cup playoffs

Thomas Drance
April 27 2015 10:41AM

Photo Credit: Segei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Vancouver Canucks' season is over, Sven Baertschi will have an opportunity to help the Utica Comets win the Calder Cup.

Baertschi, who dressed for Vancouver in Games 5 and 6 of the club's first-round playoff series loss to the Calgary Flames this passed week, was reassigned to Vancouver's top AHL affiliate on Monday, the club announced.

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