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Training camp kicked off today around the AHL. The Chicago Wolves, like most other AHL squads, received an influx of talent from the Canucks, including winger Zack Kassian and defenseman CHris Tanev. The full training camp roster can be viewed here.
Tanev will likely join defenseman Kevin Connauton on the top defensive unit. Connauton was among the fittest and fastest Canucks (not just prospects, but all players) during some informal testing that was conducted at UBC a few weeks ago.
Kassian will definitely play in the top six, and he should receive ample power play time, too. While many think of him as a power forward, he is more of a playmaker with a mean streak (a bit like Todd Bertuzzi). Kassian has soft hands and is great at finding his teammates. I could see him meshing well with a goal scoring center in the future. He checked into Wolves training camp at 214 pounds – down from the 225-230 he was at last season.
Some of the notable veterans on the Wolves roster: Darren Haydar, Andrew Ebbett, and Andrew Gordon.
There are a lot of players to keep an eye on down there this season. In addition to Kassian, Connauton, and Tanev, the Canucks will be able to get extended looks at the likes of Jordan Schroeder, Steve Pinizzotto, Alex Friesen, Darren Archibald, and more.
Dan Hamhuis is a rock solid defenseman and arguably Vancouver’s most important player (not best, but most important). Earlier this week, he and his wife Sarah donated $100,000 to the Ronald McDonald House. Mike Gillis sure has assembled a collection of upstanding men in the Canucks dressing room.
“I think it’s important for everyone to give back to the community,” Hamhuis said. “We’re pretty fortunate as Canadians to live the life that we have. There are always people who are less fortunate and needy that need help. Whether you are a professional athlete or a regular person, I think we all have something to give. Athletes are a little more high profile and they have more money, so that’s where they tend to go."
Speaking of Hamhuis, he and defensive partner Kevin Bieksa surprised a Midget Triple-A team in North Van by dropping in on their practice. The Canucks’ top pairing even had to defend a few 3-on-2 rushes.
Mike Gillis was on the TEAM 1040 this morning. He’s heading to Chicago to observe the Wolves training camp. He’s looking forward to seeing Tanev develop more of an offensive game. Gillis also mentioned that teams are prohibited to ahve any discussions about any players (other than injured players). He also mentioned that Luongo has bought a house in Edmonton. OK, that last part isn’t true.
Jason Botchford discussed the idea of a Jordan Eberle-for-Roberto Luongo trade rumor/fantasy on the TEAM earlier this morning, too. It is speculated that the Oilers have arrived late to the Luongo trade market – I’m not really sure why, to be honest, as Devan Dubnyk gave them solid goaltending last season. Anyway, it will fuel some interesting discussions in the coming weeks/months at the very least.
The NHL and NHLPA are scheduled to meet all weekend. We’d love some good news, fellas.
Heart of a Canuck made an origami Canucks jersey clothesline for National Jersey Day. Nicely done.