October 12 2016 05:00PM
Each year, a new crop of rookies plays their first ever National Hockey League game in the blue, green and white of a Vancouver Canucks jerseys. Sometimes these players are part of the future of the franchise, taking the first strides of a long NHL career. Other times, they’re warm bodies filling an empty spot in a midseason lineup, with the small hope that something might click at the NHL level.
Last season had plenty of instances of both, with a total of nine players getting their first taste of NHL action. Among them were future core pieces of the Canucks, like Jake Virtanen and Ben Hutton; players whose futures have yet to be decided, like Brendan Gaunce and Andrey Pedan; and players who were there just because, like Alex Friesen.
Let’s look ahead to the 2016-17 season and speculate on which Canucks prospects might make their NHL debuts this time around.
October 12 2016 03:44PM
So I was reading Thomas Drance's piece on the Canucks over at Sportsnet the other day and I couldn't help but play the video of Benning talking about the Gudbranson trade.
What really struck me was how he describe the trade coming together:
"...it came together fast...they called us...they asked us about Jared...they brought up Eric's name..."
Now, if you've ever been involved in any kind of business negotiations, you might recognize this as somebody that took a very passive approach to making this deal. Florida clearly had the entire negotiation process mapped out. They decided how they wanted it to go, and pulled every trick in the negotiating book to make sure it did.
But listening to Benning talk, it suddenly became clear that the Panthers pulled off the perfect crime. Benning was had, and he didn't even know it.
So let's take a look at how you get away with plunder...
October 12 2016 01:00PM
Photo credit: Lindsay A. Mogle / Utica Comets
Hockey is back! While the NHL gets underway tonight, the AHL is not far behind. We like to keep a close eye on our friends in Utica, and I'll be handling the Comets weekly reports again. Before we get into the day-to-day and week-to-week activity, there was plenty of offseason activity that has affected the makeup of the team.
This is the first of a five part series that examines the changes in the Utica Comets roster between the 2015-16 season and the upcoming 2016-17 season. This article will cover player departures, those members of last year’s Comets squad that won’t be returning in September, and how their exits will affect the team.
October 12 2016 11:00AM
Welcome to the first of this season's edition of What Would You Do Wednesday! I'll be your host today and every other Wednesday, J.D. Burke.
That was quite the Canucks pre-season. Lots of shaking and moving throughout the lineup. One of the professional tryouts is all but signed; one of the kids made the veterans more than a little uncomfortable with their job security. It's the kind of thing you hope for with internal competition at training camp.
Vancouver's camp wasn't without casualties, though. Anton Rodin appears headed for injured reserve after re-aggravating his knee injury. Emerson Etem is on a one-way ticket to Utica. And in a move that strikes me as more than a bit odd, the Canucks sent Andrey Pedan to the farm, too.
So, with that in mind, how do your opening night lines look? I'll provide an example on the other side of the jump, so that you know which pieces are in play.
October 12 2016 09:00AM
The CHL season is a go, and the contenders are already separating themselves from the pretenders. And as with any league, these discrepancies usually result in player movement. In that light, Carl Neill's status is especially interesting given his current team's (Sherbrooke Phoenix -- AKA Carl Neills) situation
Drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Neill has shown fairly well for the Sherbrooke Phoenix since the Canucks selected him. But the Phoenix are already looking to rebuild, which is fairly common in the CHL since you only have your players for 3-4 years. That kind of expedited timeline presses teams to maximize value on their assets wherever and whenever possible.