Faber: 10 takeaways from the Canucks’ first game at the Young Stars tournament
Photo credit:Abbotsford Canucks
By Faber2 months ago
After a wild Friday night that saw the Vancouver Canucks’ young stars team dominate the Calgary Flames’ young stars by a 7-1 count, we are looking back at our notes as well as what we heard around the rink over the past two days to give you 10 takeaways from the first game of the tournament.
We’ve got a lot to get to, so let’s dive right in and we will update you with the game times for the remaining two Canucks’ games at the conclusion of this article.
Here we go!
Aidan McDonough was dominant offensively
The 23-year-old winger was dominant on Friday night, especially in the offensive zone.
McDonough controlled the puck with confidence and looks like he has trimmed down a bit from when we saw him last season.
“I think I took a step,” said McDonough when he was asked about a full offseason of preparation to be a pro instead of an NCAA player. “I think it allowed me to have a bit more confidence out there. I was holding on to the puck a little bit longer than it did last spring when I was in Vancouver. But I still think I have a lot of work to do. [That was my] first game in the last six months so it was a good step but I still think I’ve got a lot more to work on.”
We will see McDonough compete for an NHL job next week in Victoria at training camp and he’s off to a good start with a dominant performance on Friday night.
Arshdeep Bains, Max Sasson, and Marc Gatcomb were wearing a letter for Friday’s game
Two returnees from last year’s Young Stars and a newcomer with Max Sasson were the designated leaders for the Canucks on Friday night.
We didn’t see a captain named for the first game. And we have seen captains named at prospect tournaments around the league.
Bains, Sasson and Gatcomb were the designated alternate captains for Friday’s game.
We’re not sure yet if there will be a rotating cast of captains throughout the weekend but these three were the guys to rock an ‘A’ on Friday night.
Quinn Schmiemann is the tough guy
We were all wondering who was going to be the prospect to drop the gloves and try to show the coaches that they had some grit to their game.
Defenceman Quinn Schmiemann was that player for the Canucks as he dropped the gloves with
Schmiemann was on a second pairing with Filip Johansson in the game and the pair looked strong in the offensive zone but certainly wasn’t as dominant in the defensive zone. I thought they were just okay in this game but Johansson wired a slap shot on the power play late in the game to give him a nice statline for the night.
Nikita Tolopilo played well but wasn’t tested often
You may remember last year’s Young Stars, where Arturs Silovs put together a big shutout to begin the tournament in a tremendous youngster battle between the pipes with Calgary Flames prospect and two-time AHL goaltender of the year, Dustin Wolf.
This year’s kickoff off the tournament wasn’t quite as exciting and Tolopilo wasn’t tested much — only seeing two shots in the first period.
“I know he’s a big body and it makes you feel comfortable with him in net,” said head coach Jeremy Colliton in the postgame media availability. “They had a little push in the second period but it was a good outing for him.”
The biggest save of the night came on a defensive breakdown in the aforementioned second period.
This clip also helps lead us to our next takeaway.
Marc Gatcomb built off his momentum from last season
After an excellent AHL playoff run, Marc Gatcomb came to the Young Stars tournament and was probably the best two-way forward in Friday night’s game.
He scored the prettiest goal of the night off a toe drag that led to a snipe of a shot.
This play was made on a wonderful pass from Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman and 2023 draft pick, Sawyer Mynio.
Some more information on Karel Plasek and Dmitry Zlodeyev
We were surprised to see both Karel Plasek and Dmitry Zlodeyev on the roster for the Canucks at this tournament.
Each of them played last season in European leagues. Zlodeyev and his KHL team terminated their two-year contract and a source told CanucksArmy that both Plasek and Zlodeyev are here at Young Stars with the intention of earning a spot on the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL.
With the Canucks rekindling their ECHL club, the Kalamazoo Wings, Plasek and Zlodeyev look like they will be staying in North America this season.
We will have to see how things play out at Vancouver Canucks and Abbotsford Canucks training camp.
Plasek is in the final year of his entry-level contract, and Zlodeyev will require an AHL contract to stay and play in the AHL or ECHL.
Josh Bloom and Aatu Räty were a solid penalty-killing duo
The first pair of forwards over the board to kill penalties was Max Sasson and Arshdeep Bains but they were followed by Aatu Räty and Josh Bloom.
Räty and Bloom were a great pairing. They both played with a ton of aggressiveness but were able to still maintain good positioning as a forward duo on the penalty kill.
Killing penalties is going to be a big part of Bloom having success in the AHL this season and from a long-term viewpoint, it’s great to see Räty, one of the Canucks only centre prospects, killing penalties.
The power play had a ton of success moving the puck
Akito Hirose, Filip Johansson, and Aidan McDonough were three players who we really liked on the power play.
When we first saw Johansson on the left half-wall, we were wondering if there may be a better forward option to play in the position but he made those thoughts disappear real quick when he wired a one-time home late in the game.
Johansson didn’t show well in his very short AHL stint last season but his commitment to the Canucks is showing with him making the trip from Sweden to Abbotsgotd last year and now with him in attendance for Young Stars. You can bet that he will get a solid opportunity for ice time in the AHL this season and could end up playing his way up to the NHL for a few games.
Jeremy Colliton really is the right coach for the Canucks’; AHL team
Simply put, Jeremy Colliton is an NHL-calibre coach.
The Abbotsford Canucks have a good one here and Colliton does a great job talking about the game that just happened.
If he’s like this with us dumbass media members, imagine how good he is with the players.
We’re excited to see Kirill Kudryavsev tomorrow against the Jets
The 2022 seventh-round pick was not in the lineup for the Canucks on Friday night but Kirill Kudryavtsev should be playing for the Canucks throughout the remaining schedule this weekend.
Kudyavtsev impressed at both the Young Stars tournament as well as Canucks training camp last year and he went back to the OHL and performed exceptionally well on a poo Soo Greyhouds team last season.
We would have liked to see the 19-year-old play in all three games at this tournament. Because, well, it’s the Young Stars tournament.
Expect to see Kudryavtsev in the lineup Sunday and Monday.
Another fun note. Kudryavtsev’s nickname around the rink is ‘Eagle’.
The Canucks are back in action on Sunday with a 2:00 pm PT game against the Winnipeg Jets youngster and then they will wrap the tournament on Monday with a 1:30 pm PT battle against the Oilers’ young stars.
We will have you covered throughout the tournament with boots on the ground in Penticton.
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