WWYDW Preseason Predictions: Who will be the Canucks’ SECOND-leading scorer in 2023/24?
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2 months ago
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Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet to exhibit the innermost thoughts of its own readership.
Speaking of exhibition, that’s what time it is right now. The Vancouver Canucks have already begun playing through their preseason schedule, and before we know it, the 2023/24 campaign will have officially kicked off.
But before we get to that, there’s still plenty of time left on the clock to get some preseason predictions in…and what better place to do it than here?
In this short-term series we’re creatively calling Preseason Predictions, we’re going to pitch some questions at you and ask you to come up with your best guesses, along with as much supporting evidence as you can muster up.
Today, we start with a fairly simple one.
Barring catastrophic injuries, most would lay their money on Elias Pettersson being the Canucks’ leading scorer in 2023/24, as he was in 2022/23. So, we’re not going to waste time asking you to predict the Canucks’ leading scorer, just for the comment section to be filled up with Petey-centric responses.
But the Canucks’ SECOND-leading scorer? That one is definitely up for grabs, and so that’s what we’re going to ask about today.
And, hey, if your answer to this question happens to be Elias Pettersson, well isn’t that plenty interesting in its own right?
This week, we’re asking you to predict:
Who will be the Canucks’ second-leading scorer in 2023/24?
Make your guesses in the comment section.
Last week, we asked (in a pre-emptive Preseason Prediction):
Which prospect has the best chance of cracking the Canucks out of Training Camp?
You answered below!
I don’t think any prospect will make the team out of the gate. The dance card is full.
If there was an opening then I would have three choices: Aidan McDonough, Akito Hirose, and Arshdeep Bains.
I think Bains is really close to earning an NHL spot. He has a great hockey mind and strong work ethic. If he can continue to work on his speed, I don’t think anything will stop him.
McDonough has an NHL caliber shot and a big body. He still needs a year to adapt to the high speed of players in the AHL and NHL, but I could see him making the team next year.
Akito Hirose is my most likely candidate to make the Canucks out of training camp. He is a calm, collected, and a smart hockey player. He is very good at getting his shots/passes through traffic. If he was an RD, he would make the team easily. As it is, there is already a log jam on LD, so I think they will develop him in the AHL and give him call-ups at the end of the year.
Akito Hirose. From the small sample size, I love his poise, vision, and hockey smarts.
I think Aidan McDonogh makes it out of camp, if anyone. Barring training camp injuries though, I’d put his odds at no better than 50/50. The rest of the prospects they’re going to be more careful developing, except Hirose, and he’s on a crowded left side. So, Hirose is unlikely to make it out of camp.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
The most likely scenario, by a large margin, is no prospect makes the roster out of training camp. That’s a good thing. The 13th forward and #7/8 D-man are press box jobs. The prospects are not better than the veterans at this point. The prospects need to play and contribute to the success of an Abbotsford team which ranks much higher in the AHL than the Canucks do in the NHL.
There will be some call-ups; several if the Canucks slip out of the playoff picture. Unless that happens, there would need to be a lot of forward injuries before a prospect gets a shot. If Hogs and Podz make the team, there are many veteran forwards ahead of the prospects.
An injury to a top-four D-man is a scary proposition. The drop off is huge. There is a small chance Woo or McWard gets a look if there is an injury to a right side D. Hirose has NHL level skills, but Junior A size and strength. He might get a look, but I think there would need to be two injuries on the left side before he gets more than a game or two in the press box.
The only prospect I see with a remote chance of beating out the veterans is Silovs. I don’t think it will happen, but there is this slight chance he is just that much better than the veteran options.
Well if one essentially rules out a forward due to the glut of forwards they have, and barring any more trades before the start of the season, I think one should look to the D as the most likely place a prospect stands a chance to make the club. RD looks set with Hronek, Cole/Soucy, and Myers, so I would look to the LD. Hughes, Soucy/Cole, leaves one carrot seemingly available. So, who are the LDs that stand a chance?
Wolanin, Brisebois, and Hirose are probably the “top-three” on the left side. Wolanin is 28 and Brisebois is 26, so hardly prospects, so that leaves Hirose. He played well at the end of last season, he played well in the Young Stars Classic. His biggest issue might be his size and strength over a full season as he is a “bit” undersized, but Hughes isn’t a giant by any means so it shouldn’t be much of an impediment.
On RD, I think Juulsen is ahead of Woo who is probably ahead of McWard. If Myers is eventually moved, I think that would signal the re-signing of Bear (clearly an upgrade) so after all my musings, I think it’s Hirose who stands the best chance, followed by Woo, as Juulsen is also not a prospect at 26. If I include forwards, I’d put McDonough in third spot. He played well in the YSC as well, and may get a chance if a wing gets hurt in training camp. And Raty fourth if it’s a centre that gets hurt.
Out on a limb, particularly since yesterday’s trade, but I will say Silovs. He plays outstanding while the others are mediocre or injured.
Such a good question. Assuming Juulsen being 26 is too old to be considered a “prospect,” so I am going to go with Noah Juulsen gettin hurt (again …) and Jett Woo being the beneficiary who gets a nice start to his career from there. Jett Woo might even edge out Noah Juulsen in head-to-head competition, but I have to think management wants to give Juulsen the job to start the season because he has had so many injury setbacks, so Woo might be depending on another owie to sideline Juulsen for another month or four.
The roster is pretty much set. Unlikely that any rookies break camp with the big club.
It would be nice to get 1-2 rookies incorporated into the team each year. I believe that they bring energy and enthusiasm to a team, and it keeps the atmosphere fresh and veterans on their toes. My personal vote would be Bains, because he has proven all that he needs to prove at the AHL level, as well as opening up a spot in Abby for a younger prospect. Do not have a second pick for someone straight out of camp, but I would love to see Wolanin , Hirose, and Woo make a limited appearances to get their NHL feet wet, too, at some point in the year.
They trade Myers, McWard makes the team out of camp.
Before the DeSmith acquisition I would have said Silovs, but things have changed now. Hirose may have the best chance at unseating Wolanin for the third spot on LD, but the competition is stiff for that role. Any forward would have to outplay Studnicka, Di Giuseppe, Dries, and probably one of Podz, Hogz, or Joshua. They would likely have to be good enough to stay on the ice and not be in the press box every game as the 13th forward. Management will want prospects playing in games, so older players like PDG will likely make the cut by default — barring a miraculous performance out of the gate.
The odds are low for any of the prospects to make the team out of camp, but Hirose probably has the best chance.
I don’t honestly see anyone from the Young Stars Tournament making a mark in the NHL this year; the Canucks have several more established or experienced players ahead on the depth charts. A few guys like Raty, McWard, or maybe even Klimovich may get a few games in, but only as injury fill-ins.
Since Podz, Hogs, and Aman are ruled out for the purpose of the question, I will say the answer is no one. There are no prospects that have a chance of cracking the Canucks out of camp. Juulsen and Wolanin do have a chance, but I put them in the same category as those that were ruled out, so the Canucks will be icing a line up of known players.
Part of this has to do with the team having a degree of experienced depth at all positions, but the other is where they need to be to try to be as close to the cap ceiling as possible to start the season.
Due to the waiver rules, Hirose is likely to play in Abby, while others battle for the 7th D spot. Not sure why they signed Irwin when they have Wolanin (who looked good in the small sample size), Brisebois, Hirose, Rathbone (Last chance? Maybe the sweetener to move Myers?). If there was a dark horse to slide into the top-seven, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Juulsen, who looked good with Hughes, can skate really well, and is a natural right-side d-man.
Same issue with McDonough, he can be sent down without issue, so a spare forward spot is likely going to Aman, Dries, Studnicka, or Di Guiseppe while he gets top line minutes in Abby for now.
I don’t think any prospect will make the roster, but in answer to the question, I think Hirose has the best chance to crack the 23-man Canucks’ roster. Honourable mentions: McWard and McDonough.
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