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No Miller or Benn at the final day of camp as Canucks prepare for Wednesday night opener

The Vancouver Canucks took to the ice on Tuesday morning for their final day of training camp, but were missing a couple of bodies as both J.T. Miller and Jordie Benn didn’t participate in the morning skate.

The team will travel to Edmonton this afternoon and face off against the Edmonton Oilers in their season opener of the 2021 NHL regular season.

In the absence of Miller, Jake Virtanen found himself skating on Pettersson’s line for the first time all camp.

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There were high expectations for Virtanen at this camp and he has secured himself in a top-nine role for the Canucks with the ability to move into the top six if an injury or illness were to occur.

As for Miller and Benn, the only update Travis Green gave was thatΒ “those guys weren’t available today.”

The team ran through some energy drills where they chased the puck in, moved it around the boards on a cycle, and then had limited shots on the goaltenders. It seemed like Green wanted to get the players’ legs engaged as they moved into game action just one day later.

Travis Green also confirmed that Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter would be the assistant captains for the team and they would not be replacing the missing assistant captain with Chris Tanev’s departure.

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Green would later go on to say that we could expect to see some different matchups for Pettersson compared to last season. With the addition of Hoglander to the Horvat line, it could put higher-quality competition up against the Pettersson line.

On the back end, it was another day for Quinn Hughes and Travis Hamonic to gel together. The duo now has two practices under their belts and looks to be a pairing for opening night action against the Oilers.

Tuesday’s camp brought some questions about Miller and Benn but head coach Travis Green would not give much information on the two absent players. This would obviously be a huge loss to the Canucks if they have to begin the season without one of their top-line players and power play producers.

It looks like the defence core is all set with Hughes-Hamonic being the late addition to the Nate Schmidt-Alex Edler and Tyler Myers-Olli Joulevi pairings that we have seen for most of camp. This is a defence core that is much improved from last season and if they are able to stay as healthy as they did last year then they should be just fine in this Canadian division.

We did see Loui Eriksson and Jack Rathbone on the ice today, as both players look to be two of the strongest candidates to be on the taxi squad for the Canucks. There could be a really bold move if Eriksson is thrown down to the AHL but he should be on the taxi squad or main roster, depending on what J.T. Miller’s situation is.

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As for Rathbone, he will get NHL games at some point this season. The kid has shown that he belongs and gave us glimpses of excellent high-end potential as camp went on. Rathbone has higher potential than a player like Juolevi but for now, the fit with Juolevi just makes more sense. Rathbone has room to grow and develop and should be a useful piece on the Canucks defence core for years to come.

The Canucks also assigned seven players to their AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets.

  • Jonah Gadjovich, Left Wing
  • Lukas Jasek, Right Wing
  • Kole Lind, Right Wing
  • Will Lockwood, Right Wing
  • Josh Teves, Defenceman
  • Jett Woo, Defenceman
  • Jake Kielly, Goaltender

It looks as though Brogan Rafferty, Justin Bailey, and potentially Mikey DiPietro will be a part of the taxi squad for the Canucks. Names like Marc Michaelis, Loui Eriksson, and Jack Rathbone could be in the mix to make the 23-man roster or find themselves just one injury away from game action as part of the 6-man taxi squad.

It’s another Canucks training camp in the books and another one that we here at CanucksArmy were ecstatic to be a part of.

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I think I speak for myself and David Quadrelli when I say that we have had another incredible experience being at a Canucks training camp, and hope you’re all pleased with the content we brought.

The season kicks off Wednesday at 7 pm against the Oilers and this Canucks team will have plenty of storylines to watch as the season goes on. We will be there every step of the way to cover it.

Let’s do that hockey!