In the preseason opener, Hunter Shinkaruk impressed. Can he keep it going? (Image via Darryl Dyck)
The second of six preseason games for the Canucks goes tonight, as the Edmonton Oilers come to town. There were some positives to take away from the Monday night opener, including the other 1st rounder, Hunter Shinkaruk, who lit the lamp in impressive fashion.
I was in the building on that night, and as you may have expected, the crowd was scattered and relatively disinterested. It was probably a combination of being the first preseason game, manly notable Canucks not being in the lineup, and the game quickly becoming lopsided in San Jose’s favour.
I’d expect both the crowd, and the level of play to be improved tonight. Read on past the jump for the expected lineup, and some more notes in advance of the game.
Puck-drop: 7 PM PST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
(s/t to Elliott Pap).
Roberto Luongo is expected to be between the pipes, which is cool, because it’ll be fun to see the response he gets.
The Sedins will also be making their preseason debut, with Zack Kassian tagging along for the ride. It’s not really an audition, though, as by all accounts Kassian is pretty much assured a long look on the top line to start the year. Still, you’d like to see the supposed physical and mental improvements he has made over the summer be put into action.
After playing next to Burrows and Kesler in the opener – and impressing – Shinkaruk will play next to Richardson and Hansen. Given his play over the past few weeks (including the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, and now in camp) Shinkaruk has people buzzing about the potential of him sticking around to start the season. With Booth’s uncertain status it’s certainly possible, and I wouldn’t be against an audition for the first handful of the games, but ultimately, I don’t think he’s ready for the NHL just yet. I’d like to see him steamroll the WHL this season before legitimately considering him as a viable option next fall.
Brendan Gaunce, a noted Canucks Army favourite, moves to the wing tonight. Tyson Giuriato notes that Gaunce played much of last season there, and that he enjoyed it because it allowed him to be more creative offensively. I personally liked what I saw from Gaunce on Monday night; he’s certainly not flashy, but he did a ton of good things. Watch real closely for what he does tonight (hint: zone entries!).
Meanwhile, the Oilers will be fielding a nearly complete lineup, as the likes of Hall, Eberle, Perron, Hemsky, Smyth, Ference and Darnell Nurse will be suiting up. Also, Canucks fans will have another chance to let Justin Schultz know how they feel about his "decision". Never forget.
During the game please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section, and/or follow along on Twitter. It’s a party and you’re invited!