Hey Canucks fans, we’ve got a busy week ahead of us.
The Canucks wrap up the Young Stars Classic with a 2:30 PM game against the Edmonton Oilers to crown the champion of the tournament.
We also have the Jake Milford golf tournament on Monday, media availabilities on Wednesday, and then training camp begins on Thursday and goes all the way through Saturday.
Then, we have two preseason games on Sunday as the team has a split-squad, double-game against the Calgary Flames.
It’s officially on! The season is fast-approaching and we’ve got a lot of on-ice content to indulge in over the next seven days.
We’ve been out here in Penticton for the last few days, covering the Young Stars tournament. Penticton has been an excellent host for this tournament and from what we’ve heard in conversations around the rink, it sounds like this tournament is going to be back for years to come.
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In the meantime though, we’ve got a mailbag to get to. There are some good questions this week, as there usually is.
So, without wasting any more words, let’s rip open the bag and see what the wonderful people of Canucks Twitter and the comments section had to ask this week.
Chase Wouters and Tristen Nielsen both had their moments last year where you could envision them making it to the NHL one day. They are absolutely long-shots but there are translatable skills in each of these two players’ games that could warrant an NHL contract one day.
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As much as we like the way that Nielsen plays (because he’s got that dog in him). We think that Wouters’ skills could one day get him an NHL contract. Wouters has a phenomenal approach to the game of hockey and how he works to improve and learn and adjust to being a player who makes an impact on a lineup. If Wouters were to continue to develop, he may be able to play himself into a centre who can contribute on a fourth line.
To answer your specific question about one of these two players earning an NHL contract this season, we find that pretty unlikely. Nielsen has shown well throughout the summer in development camp and now has two goals and an assist through two games of the Young Stars Tournament. If the 22-year-old explodes offensively this AHL season, he will definitely draw more attention from the organization but for now, he has obviously shown a ton of speed.
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Nielsen did battle injuries last season but still found a pretty good transition from the WHL to the AHL. He had a hat trick last season and we will have to watch and see if he can be a consistent scorer in the AHL next year.
We are expecting to see the Canucks run with J.T. Miller, Bo Horvat, and Elias Pettersson down the middle this season. With the top-end talent down the middle, ice time will only be part of the indication of which line is the team’s top line this season.
There are multiple lines that look like they could have a 10+ goal differential this season and that is great news for the top-six group. When diagnosing which line is the top line for the Canucks, you will likely have to look at the wingers — one winger specifically — Brock Boeser.
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Out of the deep group of wingers, Boeser likely has the highest potential for offence this season. Another player to keep an eye on is Conor Garland, who tied with Miller for the most points at five-on-five last season. We expect to see Pettersson and Boeser back together but if we see a trio of Garland, Miller and Boeser — that would be a top line in our eyes.
If we see a Garland-Miller-Boeser top line, this is our projection for the lineup.
LW
C
RW
Garland
Miller
Boeser
Kuzmenko
Pettersson
Mikheyev
Pearson
Horvat
Podkolzin
Höglander
Lazar
Dickinson/Joshua
It’s also very possible that we see more balance when it comes to five-on-five scoring and see a lineup that looks like this:
LW
C
RW
Garland
Miller
Podkolzin
Mikheyev
Pettersson
Boeser
Pearson
Horvat
Kuzmenko
Höglander
Lazar
Dickinson/Joshua
The good news is that there are a lot of options. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has talked about the versatility on the wings and how many of his wingers can play both sides of the ice. The additions of Curtis Lazar, Andrey Kuzmenko, and Ilya Mikheyev bring even more flexibility to a lineup that is going to rely on their forward group and goaltending to get them to the playoffs this year.
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Give me your lineup in the comments section!
CanucksArmy mailbag is number one.
It would be a bad season if he gets less than 65 points, an average season if he gets 65-85 points and a good season if he gets 85 or more points.
All three of these options are possible but I think Miller gets somewhere around 78 points.
Regressing from last season is very possible but if players like Pettersson and Boeser take a big step offensively, Miller’s potential regression will not affect the team as much as some may worry about.
If Miller doesn’t regress, and Pettersson and Boeser go off next season — welcome to the playoffs, Canucks fans.
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This trip had a lot of Door Dash orders, it’s just been a busy weekend and I haven’t been able to get out as much as I hoped.
I had tacos from Tequila Vallarta that were pretty good and the loaded tots or tacos at Neighbourhood were excellent.
Two things would need to happen for Arturs Silovs to have a real opportunity to be the backup behind Thatcher Demko for the 2023-24 season.
First off, Silovs would have to be the clear-cut starter in the AHL, and likely have that role before the halfway point of the season. Silovs has only played in 11 games over the past two seasons. He has a lot to prove and the two-year contract for Spencer Martin is more of a true idea of when Silovs’ expected date of arrival to the NHL should be.
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The second point would be if Martin completely falls off in his first NHL season. Martin showed incredibly well last season, posting a .950% save percentage over his six appearances.
Having a .950% save percentage is probably a pipedream for Martin but it wouldn’t come as a surprise to us to see him hover around .906-.911%. If Martin falls off with something like a sub .890% save percentage and Collin Delia is not the answer, we might see Silovs get a chance to fight for the backup spot in 2023-24 but there are a lot of things that need to happen to even make it a real possibility.
Expect to see Silovs push for the backup role to begin the 2024-25 season if his development continues to go well.
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It’s his shot.
Danila Klimovich’s playmaking is underrated but his shot explodes with NHL pace when he gets off a good shot.
Once he can consistently get good shots off, he will be a scary scorer in the AHL and hopefully be able to get that shot off in the NHL at some point in his career.
With Jack Rathbone likely going to the NHL, and Madison Bowey now a part of the Montreal Canadiens’ organization, the Canucks don’t really have a standout option to be their quarterback on the first power play unit.
Noah Juulsen is the leading candidate to be the scoring leader but Wyatt Kalynuk is a newcomer who had seven goals and 20 assists last season. Kalynuk might end up sneaking into power play one and be a guy who gets a lot of points from the potent power play.
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Quinn Schmiemann may be another one to keep an eye on if he gets onto the power play but he’s a long shot.
I’d guess it’s Juulsen or Kalynuk who leads Abbotsford in scoring from the backend.
That wraps-up another Monday Mailbag here at CanucksArmy. Next Monday will be an interesting one as we will have a training camp to discuss as well as two preseason games to chat about.
It should be a fun week and enjoy your Monday as we make our way through it!
Be sure to get your #MM questions in and use the hashtag so I can find them in the comments section.
See you all next Monday.