WWYDW: What line or pairing are you trying out at Canucks Training Camp 2022?
Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet who picks up all the pucks at the end of practice.
Speaking of practice, we’re about to be talking about it more than at any other point in the NHL season (and more than anyone this side of Allen Iverson should ever talk about it). That’s because it’s Training Camp SZN, where the drills count as much as the exhibition games — and sometimes more.
At least there will be a lot of fresh eyes on the ice this year for the Vancouver Canucks. Heck, the Canucks added so many new coaches and personnel this offseason that there’s a real chance that you, yourself, were hired.
If so, congratulations! Have fun at Training Camp!
If not, oh well. We still want to hear your opinions, anyway.
Training Camp is all about sorting out the locks from the cuts, but it’s also about forming those locks into the rough shape of an opening night roster. Before the Canucks kick off the 2022/23 season, they’ll need to put together some brand-new line combinations and defence pairings, and so they’ll be experimenting as such all Training Camp long.
And now’s your chance, too. This week, we’re asking:
What line combo or defence pairing would you be trying out if you were at Canucks Training Camp 2022?
Let it be known in the comment section!
Which Canuck needs to have the most impressive Training Camp?
You answered below!
I’m going to go with Boeser.
If he’s going to be a top-six winger and 1st unit PP guy, he’s needs to get off to a good start and hopefully get 30-35 goals.
Beer Can Boyd:
Training Camp is most important for those players on the bubble of making the team. I’d say Will Lockwood and Kyle Burroughs are two who absolutely have to stand out, or they will wind up in Abbotsford.
Höglander. With the additions of Kuzmenko and Mikheyev, there’s no room in the top-nine. Also, Höglander’s still on ELC, so Abbotsford is a real possibility.
Older prospects who are on the cusp of the NHL: Rathbone, Lockwood, DiPietro, and Karlsson. They are fast approaching “make it or break it” territory.
They are all waiver-exempt and will likely start in the minors, but they need to look like early call-ups. If they don’t, then management will begin to wonder if they are surplus to requirements.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
There’s a lot of players fighting for roster spots, but I’m looking at Pettersson.
With our signing of JT Miller, we are clearly looking to compete, and with the questions around our defense, our only real win condition is if our core players take a big step up in their development. If our okay players become good, our good players become great, and the great become elite. I think the potential is there, and if players like Petey lead the charge, we could find our way into the contender conversation.
I think Kuz needs to have an impressive camp. Coming from the KHL, the changes can be dramatic. With all the hype and hope put into the FA signing, having a great camp and being in a solid middle-six position would be fantastic.
The veteran or established players really don’t need to show a lot at Training Camp, and they probably won’t get prime ice-time in pre season games either.
Players trying to make the team or show they can play in the top-nine forward grouping, or top-six in defence, or even earn a roster spot at all, need to impress. I think the list of defensemen is a lot longer than that for forwards, as the Canucks have a plethora of bottom-pairing defenders vying for top-six jobs or perhaps top-four minutes.
For this, I look to forwards Höglander, Kuzmenko, Joshua, Lockwood, and Dickinson.
For defensemen: Poolman, Keeper, Rathbone, DeKeyser, Burroughs, Dermott, and a darkhorse with Johansson.
For goalies it’s Martin and Delia.
Too many to name here, but Höglander most must find his mojo again. Rathbone and Lockwood are in tough and quickly running out of time to crack the big club once and for all. And consider Spencer Martin, in his quest to prove he can add solid support to Demko in the blue paint. The big guns will remain as such, but it’s the peripherals who have the toughest task to make the Canucks. At least it’s more competitive than it used to be.
So many choices, but I think Dickinson has the most to prove, followed by Höglander, Lockwood, and Pearson. Also Poolman, if he is healthy.
I would say that Jett Woo, DiPietro, Rathbone, and Lockwood need to really impress the current management group to have a future in playing hockey in the Canucks organization, whether it be AHL or NHL.
One player I hope that really stands out is Klimovich, so much so that the Canucks trade another winger for a young right-side defense to make room for him in the lineup. Which would give the team some much needed cap relief, and someone to help with defence depth.
Anyone on the fringe of the roster needs to have a good camp. But two guys who need to steal a job are Höglander (to land in the top-six) and Rathbone (to make the team and be given opportunities to make a difference).
Hands down, it’s Höglander. He needs to prove he is a top-six player and have a great start to drive value. If we are all in with the Miller signing, having a desirable trade piece in Höglander is invaluable, or a player to push the top-nine. If he does not have a great camp, he will go from a top-six role two years ago to becoming a “what might have been.” Massively important for him and the team.
I agree with the commentators that have Höglander at the top of the list. Potentially, he could be in the top-six or demoted to the AHL. He hasn’t made the best impression on the new coach or management team. He either confirms or challenges their view of him in the preseason. It will be much more difficult for him to change their view with a bad camp.
Most important to me is who comes in the best shape of their career…I’m talking about you, Brock and Elias.
With much faster skaters this year, it will be obvious who can’t keep up.
Boeser has always been too slow, and Pettersson was slow for the first 40 games last year.
Who is the whipping boy now that Juolevi — and before him, Jake — are not here.
Based on last year, it’s Höglander. Boudreau just seems to have a dislike for the kid, but Hogs comes to play, so he won’t be a step behind.
If I had to guess, Dickinson is the guy who won’t be with the team by Christmas.
It’s very important for all players to have good camps. It’s critical to a number of players hoping to move up soon: the new Russians and the 4th line options, including Höglander.
For the team as a whole, the player I hope shines is Pettersson. This is the year he should emerge as a true star of the team and cement himself as a pivotal piece, and worthy of a long-term contract. When Pettersson is producing, the Canucks are winning.
Nils Höglander. I fear that, if Höglander doesn’t present well in camp and preseason, he may not make the starting 12 forwards, which may hold back his development. For me, the best case scenario would be for him to be a top-nine forward this season.
I’m going to go a little out of bounds with my call and select Elias Pettersson. After having lousy starts to the 20-21 and 21-22 season, I think Pettersson needs to show he is taking the offseason seriously. In his recent interview, he didn’t make excuses. The media tried and he shut them down. He is the guy that needs to be the best player on the ice for this team to make the playoffs.
With this team lacking big time with size, strength, and physicality, he needs to force the team to have him in the lineup.
As far as Höglander goes, he needs to be traded, or at minimum reassigned.
ALL the best players have to make a statement at camp, in preseason and throughout the next 82 games!
If they don’t? Well…
Recent articles from Stephan Roget