Scenes from skate: A full recap from day one of Vancouver Canucks training camp

David Quadrelli
7 months ago
It was a somewhat-hectic day out at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for day one of Vancouver Canucks training camp from Victoria, BC. Ilya Mikheyev was a late dropout from camp due to “personal reasons” although his agent Dan Milstein did tell Matt Sekeres that he expects his client back by the end of camp.
Here were the groups for day one of training camp:

What we saw

Here’s what we saw from group A first:
Like every NHL head coach since the beginning of time, Rick Tocchet said not to read too much into the lines at training camp, but this is Vancouver, and Tocchet also said he had a pretty good idea of who might play with who this season, so here we are, reading!
Filip Hronek with Ian Cole?! Tyler Myers with a depth defenceman!? What does it all mean?!
In all seriousness, Cole wasn’t shying away from contact and net front battles at all, which is the exact reason the Canucks brought him in. It was good to see, and although we’re not actually reading that much into the lines, it’s likely safe to bet that at least at some point this season, we’ll see Hronek and Cole together.
Nils Höglander got a look on the top line alongside Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, which was certainly interesting. He’s got a great chance to make the roster as he’d need to pass through waivers to be sent down to Abbotsford, and if he’s in the lineup, the Canucks will obviously want him to score goals. Depth matters, and if a top six forward goes down, Höglander may be among the first options to jump up and play on the first line.
Another big takeaway from group A is that Nikita Tolopilo is very tall and has very long limbs. A huge shoutout to JPat for getting tons of video from the drills at camp posted on Twitter! Let’s go through some of the tape!
Here is a Pettersson breakaway goal to make your day better:
And Sergei Gonchar teaching the next generation:
First line Nils is here to stay:
Scoring goals is great, but let’s not forget that the Pettersson line is also likely going to be used in more of a matchup role this season. That wall work and attention to detail away from the puck are really going to matter the most when it comes to Höglander’s ability to stick at the NHL level, no matter what line he’s on.
As for group B, here is how they lined up:
The key takeaways for me here:
-Arshdeep Bains getting a shot on what will likely be an NHL bottom six line seems like a huge vote of confidence from the coaching staff after a big developmental year in Abbotsford.
-Vasily Podkolzin skating with JT Miller and Brock Boeser seems like something to keep an eye on, and as you’ll read shortly in the what was said section, Miller likes playing with Podkolzin.
Check out this hustle from Brock Boeser. Have we ever seen Boeser move like this?
One area the team focused on was their work in the defensive zone, something that shouldn’t go unnoticed. There was plenty of work on systems and D-Zone coverage, which isn’t super common on day one of camp.

What was said

A good number of player’s spoke, and Elias Pettersson’s quotes were significant enough that we felt they deserved their own article, which you can read by clicking here.
We’ll try to save you the time and just pull the quotes that JT Miller gave, which win our award for most insightful of the day.
JT Miller talked about how much teaching there was on day one from Tocchet and his staff.
“It was great. It was different. It’s just a little more different than the coaches we’ve had in the last couple years. But it was definitely educational, a lot of systems out the gate, a lot about the D zone, as you probably saw, it had a really good pace to it, a lot of competing, a lot of battles, which is always fun to get back into since you’re not doing a whole lot of that in the summer.”
Miller also noted that the pace and intensity didn’t look like most first days of training camp typically would, and attributed that to how early the team got into town for their informal skates. The 30-year-old centre also talked about skating alongside Podkolzin, who Miller says reminds him a bit of himself.
“I’ve definitely had a lot of talks with Vasily. I’m not going to get into details but he reminds me of me,” said Miller. “Young and sent down, having to learn to play the right way and learn to play in the NHL. I was a strong skater when I was young and was a bigger guy like him. He’s had to do a lot more in the sense of learning English and then learning and understanding but you know, he’s still so young. He seems like a mature player for his age, which is awesome. He’s coming in, obviously he looks great again, like he always does, so I’m excited to see him again this year.”
We’ll be back tomorrow for another full day of coverage here at CanucksArmy and still have more to come today as well! We’ll also be putting out a new episode of Canucks Conversation this evening!

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