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11 different forward line combinations for the Vancouver Canucks and 3 for the Abbotsford Canucks

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Faber
By Faber
10 months ago
We are getting to that point of the offseason where training camp is viewable but still just far enough to not have excitement for the season. NFL preseason kicked this past weekend and that just makes me feel like the beautiful fall sports season is upon us.
It’s that time of the year when fans, media, bloggers, podcasters, uncles, aunts, Twitter fanatics, and level-headed and likely good-looking Reddit users all have their ideal Vancouver Canucks lineup.
Whether you want to see Ilya Mikheyev or Brock Boeser back with Elias Pettersson, Vasily Podkolzin in the top-six, Nils Höglander in the lineup, or maybe even the return of The Lotto Line — everyone has a lineup and believe me when I say that I probably have 11 that I like.
In fact, I totally have 11 lineups and let’s dive into each of them a bit.
We are only going to do forward lines. Myself or someone else will dive into defencemen.

My best guess

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
Vasily PodkolzinJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierPius SuterConor Garland
Dakota JoshuaTeddy BluegerNils Höglander
This is just my best guess. I see Ilya Mikheyev going back with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko and Mikheyev will work his tail off to get the most offensive opportunities for the Canucks’ two deadliest scorers.
Vasily Podkolzin on the second line is my big swing. I can see a strong relationship developing between head coach Rick Tocchet and new dad Podkolzin. Podkolzin is a coach’s pet from everything we have heard and I have to imagine that Tocchet’s pet is going to be a pitbull. If Tocchet can unlock Podkolzin into playing free and letting it rip, the young Russian will have a big bounce-back season. I like Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller together in the offensive zone as well. I can see them being a duo we see a lot of this season.
I dropped Anthony Beauvillier out of the top-six but into a spot where he should be able to create a lot of offence with Conor Garland on the opposite wing and Pius Suter down the middle. Suter can finish and this line is a strong, offensive bottom-six unit.
Dakota Joshua makes the cut for our fourth line and Teddy Blueger will see a lot of penalty-killing time while doubling as the fourth-line centre. The final forward took a bit of thinking but I ultimately went with Nils Höglander. After getting some seasoning in the AHL, Höglander is coming back with a hunger and that will impress Tocchet at camp and ultimately earn the young Swede a spot in the opening night lineup.
I’ve got Sheldon Dries or Phil Di Giuseppe as my extra forward.

Boeser back on top

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierJ.T. MillerIlya Mikheyev
Vasily PodkolzinPius SuterConor Garland
Dakota JoshuaTeddy BluegerPhil Di Giuseppe
There’s a lot of offensive potential on the top line but Boeser would need to be back to his rookie scoring pace to be successful in this role. The third line is intriguing here with Podkolzin needing to be the horse that pulls the buggy and we moved PDG onto the fourth line.
Beauvillier would need to produce in this specific role. Mikheyev and Miller have almost opposite strengths and that opens up Beauvillier to play free on the second line and seek out high-danger scoring opportunities.

The Lotto Line

LWCRW
J.T. MillerElias PetterssonBrock Boeser
Andrei KuzmenkoPius SuterIlya Mikheyev
Anthony BeauvillierTeddy BluegerConor Garland
Nils HöglanderDakota JoshuaVasily Podkolzin
It’s just kind of interesting to see it typed out in front of you.
Putting Suter into the 2C spot felt kind of dirty but that’s a move that needs to take place to see the return of The Lotto Line.
I went with a fourth line that has some offensive potential in Höglander, Joshua, and Podkolzin. This line has some fun upside but won’t get a ton of ice time, especially late in games.
This is also probably one of the better spots for Kuzmenko to be a floater and kind of cheat for some offence. Suter and Mikheyev are high-end defensive forwards and that would open up a lot of time and space for Kuzmenko to cook up a chicken, banana and Pepsi dinner on a nightly basis.

Chaos combination

LWCRW
Nils HöglanderElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
Andrei KuzmenkoJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierPius SuterConor Garland
Vasily PodkolzinTeddy BluegerTyler Myers
Don’t ask.
Don’t tell.
This line combination is simple here to get Tyler Myers in as a forward.

Conor Garland not at 3RW

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
Conor GarlandJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierPius SuterVasily Podkolzin
Dakota JoshuaTeddy BluegerJack Studnicka
Maybe Jack Studnicka switching jersey numbers to 23 will help him find a spot in the lineup.
This lineup combination puts the three Americans together on the second line and gives Garland a good chance to get back to being a strong five-on-five contributor.

What if Tanner Pearson is fully healthy and NHL-ready?

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
Anthony BeauvillierJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Vasily PodkolzinPius SuterConor Garland
Tanner PearsonTeddy BluegerDakota Joshua
It’s going to be very hard for Tanner Pearson to come back from injury but it is 2023 and sports-related recoveries from surgeries have definitely come a long way in the past 20 years.
This could be the best lineup we see from the Canucks if Pearson can get back to being close to full health. We will have to see what Pearson looks like at training camp.

Purely looking for fun vibes

LWCRW
Nils HöglanderElias PetterssonVasily Podkolzin
Andrei KuzmenkoJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierPius SuterIlya Mikheyev
Sheldon DriesTeddy BluegerConor Garland
The thought of Höglander, Pettersson and Podkolzin having success is a tremendous vibe.
We’ve got a full-on shoot first and ask questions later trio on the second line.
Beauvillier and Mikheyev make for a nice duo to surround newcomer Suter on the third line.
Sheldon Dries provides good vibes and we snuck him into the lineup on the fourth line with Blueger and Garland.

What if Podkolzin evolved into a centre and was actually good at it?

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
Conor GarlandJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierVasily PodkolzinNils Höglander
Tanner PearsonPius SuterTeddy Blueger
The team feels so much deeper if Podkolzin were to make an unrealistically successful transition to centre.
It’s just not very likely to happen. We might have a better chance of seeing Tyler Myers at forward.

Bringing the Swedish House Mafia trio to the fourth line

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonBrock Boeser
Ilya MikheyevJ.T. MillerConor Garland
Anthony BeauvillierPius SuterTeddy Blueger
Nils HöglanderNils AmanLinus Karlsson
For those who don’t know, the Swedish House Mafia line was a trio of Swedes that the Abbotsford Canucks assembled last season and they created magic at the AHL for a two-week stretch.

BAH GAWD, that’s AATU RÄTY at THIRD-LINE CENTRE MUSIC!

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
Anthony BeauvillierJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser
Vasily PodkolzinAatu RätyConor Garland
Nils HöglanderPius SuterTeddy Blueger
Perhaps young Aatu Räty shocks the world and steals a job at Canucks training camp.
It creates a lot of scoring potential throughout the lineup. Maybe we will see this kind of centre group for the 2024-25 season.

J.T. Miller is better as a winger

LWCRW
Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonIlya Mikheyev
J.T. MillerPius SuterBrock Boeser
Anthony BeauvillierTeddy BluegerConor Garland
Dakota JoshuaSheldon DriesAidan McDonough
Asking Suter to go into the top-six is a tough ask but he’s got great wingers for a second-line position in the lineup. Miller would need to see his game improve dramatically by heading back to the wing for this lineup to make any sense.
We also snuck Aidan McDonough into the lineup — he would need to have a hell of a training camp but it’s certainly possible.

A few AHL lineups

I’m having fun writing this, so I’m just going to give a couple of AHL lineups too. I hope you don’t mind.

My ideal Abbotsford lineup

LWCRW
Aidan McDonoughNils AmanLinus Karlsson
John StevensJack StudnickaTristen Nielsen
Arshdeep BainsAatu RätyDanila Klimovich
Josh BloomMax SassonJermaine Loewen
We’re giving Aidan McDonough the best chance for success here as we slide him onto the top line with a pair of Swedes in Nils Aman and Linus Karlsson. Aman was impressive in his 17-game AHL stint and Karlsson led the Abbotsford Canucks in goals with 24 goals and was the only Abbotsford Canuck to play in every game last season.
The second line is just a solid AHL line. Tristen Nielsen brings pace and is always hungry for action, he is also hungry for a shot at the NHL now that he has an NHL contract. Jack Studnicka heading back to centre is what the AHL can do for his game.
Our third line is exciting as heck with three top-10 prospects in the Canucks system playing together and looking for offence together.
Josh Bloom starts on the fourth line in this lineup but is ready to move up when the big club calls up a winger like Karlsson, McDonough or even the multi-tool forward Nielsen.
A name you may not recognize here is Jermaine Loewen. If you are a fan of the Kamloops Blazers or Jamaican hockey, you absolutely know who Loewen is and if you’re Jack Rathbone, you know Loewen too well.
Loewen is going to help fill the role that fan favourite Vinny Arseneau held last season as the protector of the youngsters. Loewen is 6’4″ and 220 pounds. He will drop the gloves with anyone and though he doesn’t bring a ton of offence, he will certainly help toughen up this Abbotsford Canucks team. Loewen captained the Blazers back in 2018-19 and has now played in 148 AHL games after working his way up from the ECHL.

PDG and Dries make their triumphant return to Abbotsford

LWCRW
Phil Di GiuseppeSheldon DriesLinus Karlsson
Aidan McDonoughNils AmanTristen Nielsen
Arshdeep BainsAatu RätyDanila Klimovich
Josh BloomMax SassonJohn Stevens
In this scenario, Tanner Pearson and Ilya Mikheyev would need to be healthy and with the NHL club for opening night. We’re going to have Jack Studnicka be the 13th forward and that means that Phil Di Giuseppe and Sheldon Dries are sent down to the AHL.
PDG and Dries have been dominant in their time with the Abbotsford Canucks. PDG has 68 points in 79 games while Dries has 66 points in 56 games — including 36 goals in those 56 games.
I doubt either of these players loves this lineup but they would likely drive a hell of a top line here with the leading scorer from last season, Linus Karlsson.

Kids eat for free

LWCRW
Arshdeep BainsNils AmanLinus Karlsson
Aidan McDonoughAatu RätyDanila Klimovich
Jermaine LoewenJohn StevensTristen Nielsen
Josh BloomMax SassonMarc Gatcomb
We’re going to believe that Bains and Karlsson take a step in their careers and can drive an AHL top-line with Aman down the middle.
The second line is all about offence as we put the team’s best two snipers on Raty’s wings.
As for our third line, this is just a line that is going to be safe and keep the young kids safe. Loewen will keep the game under control, Nielsen will do the opposite and John Stevens is just a solid AHL centre, who can play throughout the lineup and kill penalties while being a good leader off the ice for the youngsters.
Josh Bloom and Marc Gatcomb are an interesting winger duo as both players play physically and are still in the process of adjusting to being full-time pros.
Well, that was fun to write and hopefully fun to read for you.
Let me know a line combination that you like and take a run at an Abby lineup if you’re up for the challenge.

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