The youth movement is on its way. The Canucks have recalled Andrew Ebbett, Zack Kassian, Jordan Schroeder and Chris Tanev with immediate effect; Kevin Connauton will also be recalled, after this afternoon’s matchup with the also-suddenly-depleted Oklahoma City Barons.
It’s the beginning of what will be an abbreviated training camp, which is expected to begin midweek – varying reports point to Wednesday or Thursday – in preparation for the season to open on January 17th or thereabouts.
The news was first reported on Twitter by the Chicago Tribune’s Paul La Tour:
— Paul LaTour (@platour68) January 6, 2013
The Wolves will play today’s game with just a minimum roster, hence Connauton’s retention.
Both Ebbett and Kassian have had mostly-solid seasons so far. Ebbett was a dependable veteran presence, even if he, like his teammates, struggled to score goals. He’s likely to get a serious shot at the second line centre spot while Ryan Kesler continues his rehab. Kassian struggled somewhat with consistency, but when he was on, he was a force, using his size and skills to dominate his shifts. Like many young power forwards, he’s still sorting out just what he can do, but he’s in a great spot to move forward. Think Todd Bertuzzi after his first half-season with the Canucks.
Chris Tanev is a well-known quantity. He stuggled to start the season, but once he found his groove, he was comfortably the Wolves’ number one defenceman. Expect him to be an opening night starter for the big club.
Jordan Schroeder came into Wolves camp with an apparent fire in his pants, impressing everyone with his fitness and attitude. Like Ebbett and Kassian, he’s had a few nights off and you would like him to have scored more, but his skills were always evident. He’ll go up against Ebbett for the Kesler spot in the near term; when Kesler returns, it’s a question mark on whether he can stick. His hockey sense has always been outstanding and he’s a good skater. But can he play a role other than second line centre?
Kevin Connauton has found himself digging the puck out of the net more than he would like so far this season, but there’s no denying his size or skill with the puck. with a couple spots available on the Canucks’ blue line, there’s a good chance he sticks to start the season.