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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Poolman’s best pairing, which prospects will play in the preseason, and Dudh Soda

Well, we made it folks. It’s almost time for some hockey, and some actual on-ice play to talk about!

Training camp is just three sleeps away and who even cares about Christmas at this point?

The 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks are about to take the ice for the first time as they kick off a three-day camp at the Abbotsford Centre.

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This will hopefully be our final mailbag in which we talk about Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes not having contracts and that makes me happier than when pumpkin spice latte season hits.

For the final time without on-ice hockey to talk about, let’s see what the great people from Twitter asked this week.

Newcomer Tucker Poolman is a quiet defenceman who leans heavily towards the defensive end of the spectrum. I’d imagine that he is going to be the partner of Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the Canucks’ second pairing. When it comes to five-on-five ice time, he may be the team leader but at the same time, he might be a good safety net partner for Jack Rathbone and that would have him near the bottom of five-one-five ice time out of the defencemen.

The mailbag question is about where his skills will best be utilized and my thought process behind the answer is that his skills will be best used alongside Rathbone. Poolman can move better than Hamonic and is more defensively responsible than Tyler Myers. The best six man defence core that I can put together with the Canucks’ defencemen is Hughes-Hamonic, OEL-Myers and Rathbone-Poolman.

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That’s a lot of minutes for OEL-Myers and those in the analytics community are ready to take their victory laps on how bad they could be defensively. Myers lacks the defensive skill in tight as he has a bit of a clunky stick and OEL struggles at defending the rush. It’s not a great combination in their own zone but if you want to take a positive spin, their offensive zone work would likely look strong.

During the 2019-20 season, Myers played a good amount with Quinn Hughes and the two had strong goal differential numbers. Last season was a different story as the Hughes-Myers pairing had a 3-14 goals for to against ratio.

Poolman will probably end up playing with OEL but it wouldn’t shock me to see him be the veteran guiding Rathbone into the NHL. Either way, he will use his skill set to be the calming presence on a pairing and allow his partner to take more chances in the offensive zone.

It doesn’t hurt that he never takes penalties, either. That’s going to be a nice change to the Canucks’ defence core. He has taken 13 minor penalties in 120 NHL games including only one penalty last season in 39 games.

Out of our top-15 prospect rankings list: Vasily Podkolzin, Jack Rathbone, Jett Woo, Jonah Gadjovich and Will Lockwood will definitely play preseason games.

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The big question will be the playing status of Danila Klimovich. On Thursday, Abbotsford GM and director of player development Ryan Johnson told Sportsnet 650, “we have no preconceived plan for him,” when asked if Klimovich will play in the AHL or QMJHL this coming season.

I’d have to imagine that Klimovich will get into a couple of preseason games just to see how he matches up with the speed of the game. If he plays well enough, that may be the difference between him going to the AHL or the QMJHL, but the overall sense that I hear from the organization is that he will be in the QMJHL this season. If so, he is only there on a loan and can report to the AHL at the end of his season in the Q and jump right into pro with either Canucks team.

Viktor Persson and Arturs Silovs may see a game but I’d doubt both do. I’m assuming Persson heads to Kamloops pretty soon but he might be at main camp.

Silovs may potentially split a game at some point over the seven preseason games but the Canucks will prioritize getting Thatcher Demko, Jaroslav Halak and Mikey DiPietro game action.

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Yes, all their games are available on AHLTV and the year pass for one team costs $89.28 CAD.

Pettersson: 2 x $7,000,000

Hughes: 7 x $8,400,000

Just my predictions, no insider information here.

A lot will depend on if he gets power play time and if he plays alongside Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson or Jason Dickinson but I’ll just take a shot in the dark here and say he scores 11 goals and has 22 assists for a 33 point season over 78 games.

Watch out for him in the playoffs though, playoff Podz is a different beast. His hands grow two glove sizes and he dominates.

It’s funny, I was just talking about this with someone the other day. We all expect Jason Dickinson to be the third line centre, and he probably will. But we have heard time and time again from Jim Benning and Travis Green that they like Dickinson’s versatility and that he can play the wing. Don’t be shocked to see him in the top-six at some point this season with Miller being the one who drops down.

Oh, and when Miller drops down, the Canucks third line goes up to one of the best in the league.

Imagine trotting out a third line of Höglander-Miller-Podkolzin to feast on the opposition’s third defence pairings. This has officially grabbed my attention.

Very unlikely.

If the Canucks have to pay Pettersson over $10,000,000, they better damn well have him locked up for eight years.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Hughes gets a one or two year deal if they go long on Pettersson.

If they finish last in the division, I am leaving CanucksArmy to go write about the Toronto Blue Jays. They seem fun.

I’d be more surprised if they finished last than if they finished first. I think they will be the second or third best team in the division. The Canucks have made big improvements to their lineup. Their forward group and goaltending are both arguably in the top-5 if not, top-10 of the league.

So, for those who don’t know, I also work for the radio station Sportsnet 650 here in Vancouver. I press buttons to make others talk and last Thursday I worked The People’s Show.

One of the hosts, Randip Janda has been pumping this drink called Dudh Soda for a while now and I thought that I would give it a try.

I would absolutely drink it again. Maybe next time I’ll have some watermelon with mustard to go with it.

It kind of tasted like strawberry milk with a kick. Surprised me for sure. I’m now a fan.

Because he doesn’t have enough Twitter accounts named after him.

This one definitely took more than 15 minutes.

That wraps it up folks, it’s been a long offseason but we made it. Training camp begins on Thursday and CanucksArmy will be there on all three days of it to bring you the coverage that Canucks fans deserve.

Thanks for bearing with us through a long offseason that had its ups and downs. Let’s have fun this year with a team that looks to be much more competitive than we have seen in the past.

As always, I appreciate your comments and reactions to the articles. Except the dumb ones on Facebook, but it’s fine, they only read the headlines and say something stupid. If you’re reading this sentence, you are a real one.

Lets have a fun year.

Cheers, Faber.