WWYDW: Which prospect has the best chance of cracking the Canucks out of training camp?

Photo credit:© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
6 months ago
Welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet that has been training for this moment its entire published life.
Speaking of training, Vancouver Canucks Training Camp 2023 is ON, with the Penticton Young Stars Tournament having just wrapped up this past weekend.
Our own Chris Faber was on the scene as several Canucks prospects did indeed star in a young fashion, and it’s safe to say that a large number of them impressed.
But ‘impressing’ and making the NHL team are two entirely different things, and everyone is aware of the roster constraints facing the Canucks as they enter the 2023/24 campaign. There simply aren’t a lot of jobs up for grabs, and so any prospect who is going to rise up the depth chart and claim one for themselves is really going to have to work for it.
Chances are, however, that someone will. Someone always steps up.
For the purposes of this question-answering session, we’ll rule that the likes of Nils Aman, Vasily Podkolzin, and Nils Hoglander don’t count as prospects, each having already played significant time at the NHL level.
From the rest of the pack, we’re asking you:

Which prospect has the best chance of cracking the Canucks out of Training Camp?

Let it be known in the comment section.
Last week, we asked:

What is the singular best thing about Quinn Hughes?

You answered below!
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
There’s a lot to like about Hughes, but maybe the singular best thing is his drive. Two years ago, everybody questioned his defensive game and then came back the next season and silenced the critics. That kind of dedication and determination is what you need to win a Cup.
It’s always an uphill battle for an undersized defenseman, but Hughes has such an extraordinary talent and high compete level than I wouldn’t be surprised if he found a way to re-write the book by playing a modern style of shutdown defensive hockey.
If you’ve got the puck, and Hughes does a lot, then the opposing team isn’t going to score. Solid defence combined with exceptional offensive puck possession take him into the upper echelons of young NHL defensemen. It’s not complicated. If Hronek can do that, perhaps to a slightly lesser degree, and stay healthy, this team’s defence should be OK. Hronek and Hughes both need solid partners (not exceptional!), and if that happens they have two very good to excellent D pairings. Hughes is the leader.
He’s best suited to be captain of this team right now for one main reason: his calmness under pressure. This team has been too noisy for the last three years and it has exhausted the organization.
There will be continued pressure with Petey’s contract, rising cap, and lack of on-ice success to-date, not to mention the meddling from ownership and the high profile of the team in the market. The captain can’t be reactionary (ie. Miller) or put too much pressure on themselves (ie. Pettersson).
Quiet, confident and calm Quinn is the answer.
defenceman factory:
Vancouver media drones on endlessly about Hughes’ attributes. It is socially unacceptable to even mention some of the gaps in his game or to point out when he makes a mistake. At this rate it will soon start to sound like the SNL bit with Chris Farley and George Wendt about Da Bears and Mike Ditka.
The thing to like most about Hughes as captain is there is nothing to really dislike about him.
He is a great player with a strong work ethic. He signed a decent, longer term contract
and wasn’t too greedy. (People seem to forget he held out to get it). He doesn’t have an ego and doesn’t act like a prick. He doesn’t run his mouth or talk like a neanderthal. Seems like a good guy you wouldn’t worry about too much if he dated your daughter or hung out with your son. In a room full of 20-somethings he might be the one you notice least.
When one thinks about the great captains, there were times they all pushed, pulled, and carried their teams through playoff battles. Hughes may one day be that guy. We all hope he will rise to that challenge when/if it comes.
If the Canucks move into contention, every team they face in playoffs is going to focus on controlling Hughes. There will be a player on each team dedicated to hitting Hughes on the forecheck. No reason to suspect he will falter under that pressure, but I want to see it before believing he thrives on it.
Hughes is not comfortable with the status quo and that is the best thing about him.
This has an enormous impact on him from a personal level, as even though he is already one of the best skaters and offensive defensemen in the league, he is still striving to be better. There seem to be a very short list of what he can do better, but knowing that he has said he wants to score more and continue growing defensively will have a positive impact on his teammates and sends the message not to rest on one’s laurels.
Killer Marmot:
Hughes thinks his golf swing is powerful enough to pulverize a golf ball. This is the sort of small-dog syndrome the Canucks could use.
Jay Walker:
Best single thing is Hughes’ cool under pressure. The only other Canucks defenseman I recall with that level of cool was Paul Reinhart. Whether it’s the great play, or the simple play, it’s almost always the best available play. I think he’ll bring that same attribute as the captain.
The best thing about Quinn Hughes is the fact he has brothers. Growing up with brothers tends to make men ultra-competitive and scrappy, which Quinn is, despite his smaller than average stature. If the Canucks want to make a splash and build a winning team over the next few years, they should seriously consider trading Petterson and whatever else it would take, to get the other two Hughes brothers off of New Jersey.
Craig Gowan:
To me, it’s his skating that sets him apart from most players. It’s his skating that allows him to overcome his diminutive size; to carry the puck out of his end; to rush up the ice; and to avoid checks with his great edgework. His passing and Hockey IQ are also great attributes, but the first thing that strikes me about Huggy is his skating.

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