Thursday was the final day of on-ice sessions for the Vancouver Canucks’ development camp and it was all about game-action.

The Scrimmage

We saw a few periods of scrimmage action followed by a shootout that featured every player at camp.
Let’s start with who we thought stood out positively at Thursday’s scrimmage. After not looking like he was head and shoulders above the rest of the prospects in the first three days of camp, Linus Karlsson was shining bright on Thursday.
Karlsson scored a pair of goals in the scrimmage and dangled his way around defenders throughout the skate.
We made it clear that Karlsson didn’t exactly impress us up to Thursday at this development camp. He had flashes of good play but he feels like a player who needs game-like action to really showcase his strengths. Karlsson does a great job of anticipating scoring chances and finding the right paths to take toward the net that allow him to get enough space for his shot to be released.
Karlsson didn’t necessarily look quick throughout the four days but he was able to find space on Thursday and had more scoring chances than anybody else in the scrimmage. When ‘grade A’ chances presented themselves, Karlsson was able to finish.
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We’re not that confident in Karlsson’s foot speed being NHL-ready but his willingness to go hard at the net and be able to battle in corners should give him a good opportunity in the AHL. The Canucks have been busy adding depth in free agency and a lot of that depth is expected to start in Abbotsford. We should see players like Karlsson mixed into the top-nine forward lines and be used on the power play.
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It’s possible that he gets into NHL games this season but he will need to work hard with skating coach Mackenzie Braid to add some agility to his game. He looks like he could be strong enough to compete at the NHL level but we will have to see how the pace is for him.
Tristen Nielsen had himself a good day. The AHL sophomore winger/centre had two goals and one assist in the opening 20 minutes of the scrimmage. He was using his speed to beat defenders and we saw some grit late as well. Nielsen was a nice pick up for the Canucks last season and though many people will point at Danila Klimovich being benched in the AHL playoffs for Jett Woo, we actually think that benching Nielsen for Woo was a bigger mistake when it comes to icing the 12 best forwards possible.
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Now one year older and with a year of pro hockey under his belt, Nielsen should be a reliable piece for Abbotsford’s depth and his speed is always intriguing.
One of the defencemen who we really liked on Thursday was Jonathan Myrenberg. We wrote about him early Thursday and he got us even more interested in following his play this season after showing extremely well in the scrimmage. We thought he was by far the best defenceman on the ice for the entire scrimmage.
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“He always keeps his head up, it’s definitely good,” said Mikael Samuelsson when asked about Myrenberg’s play at the scrimmage. “I’m impressed by him, I knew he saw the game well and I think it’s because he keeps his head up a lot.”
Samuelsson will be in constant communication with Myrenberg all season long and is very happy with him going on a loan to the Allsvenskan to get more minutes.
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“I spoke to him already about it and he doesn’t see it as a drop-down,” said Samuelsson. “He looks at his career and he needs to get ice time, and what he does out of that ice time — it’s up to him. But why are you going to be in SHL if you don’t play? It’ll get you a couple of more dollars in your pocket, but that’s it. He shouldn’t even think about that right now. He is thinking about his career and how to be the best he can be in three to four years. That’s going to be his focus.”
Myrenberg was intercepting passes like Champ Bailey in 2006. He was using his size and length to out-muscle players off the puck while also reaching loose pucks in the neutral zones and corners. We were impressed by his size and as a right-shot defenceman, he is going to see a boost in our ‘prospects to watch’ lists this coming season.
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At just 19 years old, Myrenberg is still in tough with Allsvenskan play this fall and if he shows well, there may be something to this fifth-round pick.

Notes on a whole bunch of players

Let’s just run through a few quick notes from the final day of camp because commenter MGK said, “It would be nice to hear about the other players at the camp, not just a select few,” in Wednesday’s recap of day three.
Chad Nychuk was good Thursday, he looked like a player who I’d like to see in Abbotsford for training camp. He had 21 goals last year with the Brandon Wheat Kings and is a 6’1″, left-shot defenceman who skates well. I thought he was more impressive than Kamloops Blazers captain Quinn Schmiemann, who the Canucks signed to a two-year deal in the AHL last month.
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Schmiemann looked like he could skate up ice with the puck and do a good job of breaking out the puck but I didn’t see the raw skill in the offensive zone match what I saw from Nychuk. I thought he was excellent with the puck on his stick in drills and in the scrimmage. I’d like to see Nychuk get an AHL deal in Abbotsford.
Ty Young looked good in the scrimmage while Aku Koskenvuo didn’t look as good today.
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Daimon Gardner moves really well and is a big boy. He’s got a lot of work to do before his hands are ready for pro hockey but there is high-end physical potential there. I’m starting to see why the Canucks liked him in the fourth round. He moved very well and is a big body. Gardner needs a lot of help with development, I’d hope that the Canucks spend a lot of time and effort on this kid.
Defencemen Joni Jurmo and Jacob Truscott impressed at the scrimmage. Jurmo was carrying the puck around a lot and he had a couple of strong shots on net as well.
As for Truscott, he was one of the most physical players in the scrimmage and that surprised me a bit. I haven’t seen him be that aggressive at Michigan but he is growing in size and should be in a bigger role with Michigan next season after a lot of turnover in their roster.
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Chase Wouters was good all week long. One of the best people you’ll meet in hockey and he should be in a big role with Abbotsford next season. I’m confident that this kid is going to work his ass off and get a shot to be an NHLer one day. He does a lot of things right on and off the ice.
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It was nice to see Max Namestnikov out at Canucks camp. He will likely be returning to the OHL as he is only 18 years old. Namestnikov is the little brother of Vladislav Namestnikov and is represented by Dan Milstein of Gold Star. I liked his speed and skill at the camp but he’s going to need to be extremely consistent and he lacks some of that right now. When he was on, he was one of the most fun players to watch. He’s only 18, so there’s quite a long road to go but at 5’8″, he needs to lock down being consistent to get a sniff at pro hockey in North America.
Danila Klimovich ripped a couple of strong shots, scored a between-the-legs goal in the shootout and wasn’t great defensively at the scrimmage. He threw the body around at times but needs to be committed to defence if he is ever going to be an everyday NHLer.
Puck Viking asked, “Any word on if Jake Livingstone is getting an invite to any of the Canucks camp or what camp he will end up at?
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I didn’t see his name on any team’s camp roster, so I shot him a text and will try to update you on Twitter. Ask in a comment if I forget, I’m full-time here at CanucksArmy now. I’ll be reading as many comments as I can.
Matt Hatter asked, “what about Nils amon?”
Nils Åman is a big boy who can skate. I’m super curious to see if he is willing to go to the AHL or not. I think he would be a truculent force in the AHL and if he can play a step ahead of the pace in the AHL, he might be a bigger version of what people hope Will Lockwood could be.
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As for the diacritics that I’ve seen people mention in the past. Yes, Jonathan Lekkerimäki has an ‘ä’ on his jersey and Nils Åman doesn’t have a ‘Å’ on his jersey. I’m told that it’s about how the NHL recognizes the name that is provided to them. Most of the time, we simply go with what the Canucks send to us. Which made things even more confusing because Åman had his diacritic on the roster but not on the jersey.
Maybe they just didn’t have the Å ready for a jersey. They have some time before Young Stars in Penticton.
Parker N asked, “How are Jurmo and Namestnikov looking?
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Both move extremely well and look good in a development camp format. We will have to see how Jurmo looks in game-action this year and maybe we will see Namsetnikov at camp again next season after he goes back to the OHL (he’s only 18).
I liked both of those players a lot at this camp, they both have speed and skill.
Well, that’s it for the wrap-up of the final day at Canucks development camp but we will have more to come as a full view of the four days will be broken down. I also happened to have a great chat with both Ryan Johnson and Mikael Samuelsson about development.
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Quads and I talked about the final day of development camp here on YouTube if you want to check out the video and shout out to all the people that came up to us at camp and said they like the videos! We will keep them coming over on The Nation Network YouTube channel.