Monday Mailbag: Potential WHL training camp invites, the AHL veteran rule, and projecting where Podkolzin will play on opening night

Photo credit:Matthew Henderson
By Faber
2 years ago
The Canucks were busy last week. They signed Conor Garland and over 17 others in free agency, and Jason Dickinson has now filed for arbitration. While all that was going on, there was also news about Danny Klimovich and other overseas prospects.
There are about a dozen roads we can go down this week on the mailbag so let’s jump right into the questions from Twitter. David Quadrelli is off this week as he is watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the first time because he was eight years old when the movie came out.
Let’s see what the wonderful people of Canucks Twitter had for questions this week!
Our first question comes via a direct message from @JakeZTank on Twitter.
The Canucks signed a bunch of depth guys, and by my count 8 of which would qualify as Vets. AHL limits vets to 4, how are they going to make it work?
Here is the exact rule from The AHL website: Of the 18 skaters (not counting two goaltenders) that teams may dress for a game, at least 13 must be qualified as “development players.” Of those 13, 12 must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (including AHL, NHL and European elite leagues), and one must have played in 320 or fewer professional games. All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the season. 
At this current roster, the Canucks will only need to bench one veteran each game. Devante Stephens, John Stevens, Sheldon Rempal, Sheldon Dries, Chase Wouters, Danila Klimovich, Will Lockwood, Carson Focht, Jett Woo, Brady Keeper, Vincent Arseneau and Guillaume Brisebois are all under 260 professional games. That gives the Abbotsford Canucks a total of four defencemen, eight forwards and three goalies with Mikey DiPietro, Arturs Silovs and the newly acquired Spencer Martin.
Madison Bowey and Nic Petan are over 260 games but under 320.
Brad Hunt, Phil Di Giuseppe, Justin Dowling and Kyle Burroughs are all over 320 games.
Simply put, you can have five guys with over 260 games played. One of Petan, Bowey, Hunt, Di Giuseppe, Dowling or Burroughs will have to sit and the Canucks will need to add one to four more players with less than 260 games played. The exact number of players with under 260 pro games that they will need to add depends on where Danila Klimovich (KHL, QMJHL, NHL) and Will Lockwood (NHL) will end up playing.
It’s complicated, but the Canucks are looking good as a lot of their signings are under 260 games and qualify as those 13 “development players“. They will need to add a few players with under 260 professional games. I’d like to see them go after some more graduating WHL players similar to Chase Wouters.
I think the easy answer is Luke Schenn or Brad Hunt. Each of these players has a chance to make the Canucks out of camp, both will definitely play NHL games this season and both are on cheap contracts.
I’m going to go off the board a bit and say Danny Klimovich. The Canucks signed their second-round pick to an entry-level contract on July 28th and he immediately left his trial contract in the KHL to prepare for coming to Vancouver. The kid has good pace to his game and looks like the type who will compete at training camp. I’m not too confident in him making the NHL out of camp but from what I’ve seen of him lately, he can really skate and shoot while also being a strong kid and not shying away from contact.
I hope that Klimovich can come into training camp and look good enough for the Canucks to consider putting him in Abbotsford and giving him a run at North American hockey. As long as he doesn’t play 10 or more games in the NHL, his ELC contract will slide until 2022-23 and from there it will be three more seasons of cost-controlled play.
Seeing Klimovich in Abbotsford would be an amazing sight for local fans and it will put butts in seats at the Abbotsford Centre.
I won’t be betting my paycheck on it happening but it wouldn’t shock me to see Klimovich land in the AHL as well. If he’s good enough to play in the AHL, it’s likely the best spot for him to develop his game as he will be just an hour away from the big club in Vancouver.
From day one, Vasily Podkolzin should at least be a third-line player. I’d expect us to see him alongside Bo Horvat at some point during training camp and perhaps a preseason game or two. The interesting part for me is going to be if Podkolzin gets penalty killing time under Travis Green.
Green typically leans on veterans for his penalty kill group but Podkolzin has two years of shorthanded experience in the second-best league in the world. It will be interesting to see if Podkolzin’s KHL experience will mean enough to Green.
Right now, Tyler Motte, Brandon Sutter and Jason Dickinson seem like the three locked-in penalty-killing forwards. After those three, we could see players with experience like Tanner Pearson or J.T. Miller but I’m curious as to how long it takes until Podkolzin is killing penalties. It’s one of Podkolzin’s best skills as he is ferocious on the boards and at defending the point while also being a fearless shot-blocker.
My prediction for five-on-five is to see Podkolzin alongside Jason Dickinson and one of Tanner Pearson or Nils Höglander on a third line. If he rips it up in camp and forces his way into the top-six, a line of Podkolzin-Horvat-Garland would be a fun one to watch.
There absolutely are! There are a few WHL guys I’d like to mention and a pair of scorers from the QMJHL.
First off, after finishing his WHL career with the Vancouver Giants, it makes a ton of sense for the Canucks to invite Tristen Nielsen to camp and maybe even sign him to the AHL. Nielsen had 32 points in 22 games with the Giants and could be one of those development players that the Abbotsford Canucks need for their team.
Kaid Oliver is from White Rock and is a slam dunk to invite to camp to fight for an AHL job. Oliver is 6’0″, 190lbs and had 25 points in 23 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings last season.
After scoring 21 goals in 22 games, it would be a mistake if the Canucks have not reached out to Lynden McCallum of the Brandon Wheat Kings yet. His scoring took a huge jump in his final year of WHL hockey and the Canucks should bring this kid in to compete. He will get an AHL job somewhere, so why not make it here in Abbotsford? He’s 6’1″ and has some room to build muscle as he becomes a pro.
The two QMJHL players I’d take a swing on are Bennett MacArthur and Brett Budgell. Both were near the top of the Q in scoring and would be the type of players you’d like to see invited to camp.
Well, that wraps it up for this week’s mailbag! Be sure to look for the call for questions every Sunday on the CanucksArmy Twitter account. Now we all wait for the Pettersson and Hughes deals to come down the pipeline.

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