On Monday of this week, the Vancouver Canucks announced the roster for their upcoming rookie camp in Penticton for the Young Stars tournament.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) August 27, 2018
I looked through the list of players to see who, if anyone, would be attending without the benefit of either an NHL contract with the team or an AHL deal with the Utica Comets. I will not include recent second-round draft pick Jett Woo in this conversation, as I am more interested in players of the undrafted variety who could leave a lasting impression and possibly find work in Utica down the road.
In previous years, players such as Michael Carcone, Alexis D’Aoust, Ronalds Kenins, and Troy Stecher have turned strong performances at this camp into NHL or AHL deals with the club.
There are a total of seven players on the invite list who are looking to parlay their camp into a possible deal down the road. The list includes four forwards and three defencemen. Today I will concentrate on the forward group.
Right out of the gate, Eggenberger has a great name, but a great name alone cannot guarantee long-term NHL success…just ask Link Gaetz. If Eggenberger’s name sounds familiar, it is because he was previously invited to the Canucks Development Camp this offseason but had to pull out due to a minor injury.
Been advised that Nando Eggenberger picked up a minor "knock" in training the other day – thus is no longer attending #Canucks development camp.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) June 28, 2018
Elite Prospects has Eggenberger listed as a six-foot-two, 185-lbs, left-shot forward who can play either wing. The Swiss product will turn 19-years-old on October 7th and will be plying his trade with the Oshawa Generals in the 2018/19 season for his first taste of action in the CHL. He put up three goals and two helpers to give himself five points in 36 games with HC Davos in the NLA.
CanucksArmy’s own Ryan Biech wrote an article on Eggenberger heading into the 2018 draft.
Up next we have Owen Hardy of the Vancouver Giants. The six-foot-one, 201-lbs product of Nanaimo BC is listed as a left-shot, centre/left-wing and he turned 19-years of age in February of this year.
Hardy has played in 166 WHL games for the Giants, picking up 21 goals and 25 assists to give himself 46 points over three seasons with the club. Last season was his best, however, as he put up a career-high 23 points in 56 games. The forward stepped it up with three points in seven playoff games this past season.
Following up Hardy is 19-year-old Isaac Nurse. The five-foot-ten, 165lbs right shot, right-wing is a cousin of Oilers defender, Darnell Nurse. The Hamilton Ontario native has spent the past two seasons playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL. He picked up just two goals and six helpers in his 54 game rookie campaign with the club but blew up somewhat last season with a 17-goal, 30 point effort in 68 games.
Nurse was another player who was invited to the Canucks development camp this year and apparently impressed enough to get a longer look.
Last, but not least, we have Anthony Salinitri. The five-foot-ten, 168lbs product of Windsor Ontario is listed as a left-shot centreman. He turned 20-years-old this march and would be eligible to play with the Utica Comets/Kalamazoo Wings if he were to really impress at camp.
Salinitri was drafted 172nd overall in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. He has been a solid point producer over his OHL career, putting up 165 points in 245 games with the Sarnia Sting. Last season he tied a career high with 58 points in 67 games. If he doesn’t earn a deal with the Canucks or another team out of camp, he will likely be headed back to Sarnia for an overage season.
Reid Gardiner and Tanner MacMaster will both be in Penticton this year as well, but both have already secured AHL deals with the Utica Comets for the upcoming season. I would imagine that MacMaster would start in Utica, while Gardiner may have to work his way up from the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL.
I wrote about the Gardiner signing when it happened and have provided a link to that piece below.
I was under the weather when MacMaster signed his AHL deal and didn’t write anything about him at the time, but I have talked about him in my piece from development camp and again in the pending rookie class article.
Stay tuned for part two of this article on Friday when I will go over the three defencemen who will be in camp without a deal.