October 01 2015 09:53AM
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
The kids have looked so good, they're making the veterans look bad.
Strong preseason play from centre Jared McCann, 19, left wing Brendan Gaunce, 21, and defenceman Ben Hutton, 22, is keeping a vast array of prospects in the mix for spots on the Vancouver Canucks' opening-night roster. Coach Willie Desjardins likes what he's seeing from the rookies, but has been less impressed with the effort of some of his regulars.
"If guys deserve it, we have to get them in the lineup," said Desjardins after the Canucks' 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. "Other guys have got to step up and play better."
Here's a look at five of those "other guys," who haven't played up to their expected levels so far in preseason.
September 30 2015 06:00PM
Don't worry, guys! Of the two guys on the Canucks named Jannik/Yannick, this isn't the one who completely destroys referees with hits that he's clearly learned from tier-one murderer-on-ice Jake Virtanen.
This is the one who brings his own folding chair to the game.
— Pucks on net (@Pucksonnetca) September 22, 2015
(Yeah, I'm not ready for this season either.)
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
September 30 2015 03:59PM
To be honest, nobody was expecting much in terms of roster changes today. After all, the Canucks have a game against the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow, and the Utica Comets in France to play three exhibition games. Any moves to Utica would shrink the big club's options and likely require a chasing flight.
So for that reason, it was a bit surprising to see Alex Grenier be assigned today, but here we are.
September 30 2015 01:38PM
Photo Credit: Sarah Hobday
The Vancouver Canucks organization simply can't have enough Medicine Hat Tigers alumni in the system.
On Wednesday the Canucks' American Hockey League affiliate, the Utica Comets, signed undersized scoring forward Curtis Valk to an AHL deal for the 2015-16 season. Valk, 22, put himself on the organizational radar with a stellar performance at the Penticton Young Stars tournament in 2014, and was a point per game player with the Kalamazoo Red Wings of the ECHL before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in February.
September 30 2015 12:00PM
Photo Credit: Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
The Canucks are hoping that for a second straight season, they've found a pivot that can defy the underlying metrics to become a building block for the franchise going forward. In trading Nick Bonino for Brandon Sutter, they think they've trumped the house for a second straight season.
What separates Sutter from his predecessor are a series of physical attributes that Canucks management felt were lacking from the Canucks lineup against bigger, faster teams last season. Standing at 6'3, Sutter provides the size they so desperately wanted - his longer stride will go a long way in addressing the issue of team speed, as well. Sutter is also a right-hand shot, an asset otherwise absent from their lineup.
The Canucks are hoping that a new role will bring out the best in Sutter. I think they're in tough and you'll get a good hint as to why, when we break him down on the other side of the jump.