Faber: My best lineup possible from the 40-man Canucks development camp roster

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber
11 months ago
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Let’s have some fun and cook up the best lineup we can from the 40-man roster at Canucks development camp.
We’re obviously going to take a lot of our positioning from the previously watched in-game action from these prospects but will also take into account what we’ve seen in the small sample size at Canucks development camp.
It’s also just a fun experiment to see how the prospect pipeline shakes down by position.
Let’s ride.
First Line: Josh Bloom – Max Sasson – Jonathan Lekkerimäki
Josh Bloom is an excellent forechecker and worker bee of a winger. He would work well with a sniper like Jonathan Lekkerimäki. Max Sasson is growing into a strong AHL centre and is likely to see some top-six time next year in Abbotsford. Sasson is good in the faceoff dot and worked well with skill players in Abbotsford.
Second Line: Christian Fitzgerald – Dmitry Zlodeyev – Lucas Forsell
We’ve used two centres on this line as Christian Fitzgerald can play all three forward positions. We’ve elected to go with Dmitry Zlodeyev as the centre because he is very good in the faceoff dot and Fitzgerald has good hands around the boards. Lucas Forsell crashes the net as much as he breathes and this line would be funnelling pucks toward the net at every chance they got.
Third Line: Vilmer Alriksson – Daimon Gardner – Jackson Kunz
There’s a lot of size here on our third line. Vilmer Alriksson is 6’6″, Daimon Gardner is 6’4″, and Jackson Kunz is 6’3″. We’d love to see these players be able to add penalty killing to their toolbelts before they go pro. Gardner is the one to watch this coming season as he makes the jump from the USHL to the NCAA with Clarkson. He tore his MCL in the preseason of the 2022-23 season and if he can make a smooth transition to the NCAA, we will begin to be pretty excited about him as a prospect.
Kunz’ shot looked good on day three of Canucks development camp and we will see what he does in his third NCAA season. As for Alriksson, we are intrigued to watch the 6’6″ winger work next season. Let’s hope there’s more than just height in his toolbelt.
Fourth Line: Lynden Breen – Ty Mueller – Matt Perkins
Ty Mueller has looked impressive through the first few days of camp. He’s got a nice release and seems to have good puck possession skills. We have Mueller flanked by Lynden Breen, who has looked pretty good during development camp. Breen has completed three seasons in the NCAA with the University of Maine. He’s a good maritime kid and we will see what happened with him when he goes pro — Breen had 21 goals in 36 NCAA games last season.
Matt Perkins hasn’t really caught our eye at all over the past few days. He’s off to the NCAA for his freshman year after finishing up the 2022-23 season with 15 goals and 29 assists in 60 games with the Younstown Phantoms of the USHL. He was selected in the fourth round by the Canucks in this most-recent draft.
First Pair: Akito Hirose – Tom Willander
The defence is certainly a lot more fun to put together. There’s some NHL talent to be mined from here and we will kick things off with Akito Hirose and Tom Willander as our top pairing.
Hirose’s calmness and positional awareness will open up space for Willander to utilize his best skill — his skating. Both of these defencemen can make all the passes that you need to make to be an NHL player. Let’s see how good Willander can get over the next couple of seasons.
Second Pair: Jacob Truscott – Cole McWard
The idea here is to let Cole McWard cook. That’s exactly what Jacob Truscott does for his pairing partners. McWard looks to have the best point-shot of the defence at this development camp and we will be interested to see how well he looks in Abbotsford next season.
As for Truscott, he’s off to captain the Michigan Wolverines and it’s likely that he is turning pro at the end of the 2023-24 season.
Third Pair: Elias Pettersson – Hunter Brzustewicz
This is another good fit here with Hunter Brzustewicz being the offensive driver while D-Petey cleans up everything in the defensive zone and can be sneaky good with his offence if he gets time and space.
Starter: Nikita Tolopilo
He’s been the best goalie at camp so far and should get a decent amount of games in the AHL this season. 6’6″ and flexible — Tolopilo is going to enjoy working with Ian Clark as much as Ian Clark is going to enjoy working with Nikita Tolopilo.
Backup: Aku Koskenvuo
Another monster in the crease, we will ride with Aku Koskenvuo as the backup. He’s got to earn some starts this season at Harvard but it will be difficult as the goalie he is battling with for starts has been with Harvard longer than Koskenvuo has.
The Canucks’ scrimmage is tonight at 6:00 pm out at the Father Bauer Arena at UBC. We will have full coverage of the scrimmage and put a wrap on development camp on Thursday’s edition of the Canucks Conversation Show which is LIVE on YouTube.


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