The Vancouver Canucks’ Young Stars squad will play its first game of the Penticton tournament against the Calgary Flames at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.
You’ll be able to watch a live video stream of the game on Canucks.com.
Let’s get into four things to watch for in Friday’s Canucks/Flames clash!
The goaltending matchup
Friday night might be the best goaltending matchup that we see throughout this tournament.
The Canucks have confirmed that they will send Arturs Silovs between the pipes. As for the Flames, they are likely to send top prospect Dustin Wolf into the crease.
Both Wolf and Silovs spent their seasons in the AHL last year and each organization has very high hopes for their backstops.
We expect to see Silovs play the entire game but Abbotsford Assistant Coach Gary Agnew told us that it will be up to goalie coach Marko Torenius to make the call.
Agnew spoke about Silovs’ rookie season in the AHL and what he is expecting from the youngster this coming season.
“[Silovs] was in a tough rotation last year and then went down to the [ECHL] and played in Three Rivers and did a really good job,” said Agnew. “I think he’s got a lot of talent. He’s athletic. He’s big. Of some of the games he played for us in Abbotsford last year, the game in Ontario comes to mind for me, he was really good. He’s the guy that’s going to have to step up and take the bull by the horns so to speak, and get the job done.”
Silovs has experience in the AHL and should be the goalie who sees the most ice time throughout the weekend. The hope is that this tournament gives him confidence before a busy three weeks as he prepares for the AHL season.
After this weekend’s tournament, Silovs will be at Canucks main camp in Whistler and then off to AHL training camp in early October.
Friday night should be a good one for the goalie freaks out there. Enjoy the show.
Put the power in power play
The Canucks have a lot of talent for their power play units this weekend.
Friday morning’s skate saw the team work on their man-advantage groups and we liked the potential in the units that were on the ice.
Both units have quality power play specialists on them.
Danila Klimovich and Linus Karlsson should be the main shooters in their units. The two point-men are also pretty exciting as both of the Abbotsford Canucks’ defencemen signings out of the WHL will man the quarterback spots on their power plays.
Quinn Schmiemann and Chad Nychuk both have some offensive potential and will likely be battling each other for ice time in the AHL this season.
Nils Åman’s size and speed on display at five-on-five
The player to watch at five-on-five is going to be Nils Åman. The big, speedy centre will be one of the top minute-munchers for the Canucks’ forward group.
He should see time on both special teams units but were more intrigued to see him skate at even-strength.
Director of Player Development Ryan Johnson is high in what Åman will bring to the organization and it starts with a good performance this weekend.
“I like him at centre,” said Johnson when we asked him about Nils Åman. “He’s good [at] faceoffs. He’s smart and is on the right side of pucks. You look at him statistically and you go ‘okay, well,’ but he makes smart plays, distributes the puck, he’s a big body that can get to the net and be trouble just because of the way he skates. He’s got size and reach. So there’s a lot to like about him down the middle of the ice.”
This will be Åman’s first time dressing for the Canucks in a game aside from the scrimmage at development camp.
Johnson told us that he expects Åman to be the type of player that grows with other youth in the organization.
There’s a good skillset in Åman’s game and Friday is a great first opportunity for him to showcase his talents.
Can Klimovich find the back of the net?
The Canucks’ highest-ranked prospect at this tournament is 19-year-old Danila Klimovich. We’ve seen a ton of great shots from him in practice and during drills but the kid has not been able to make that shot shine in game-action just yet.
Klimovich spent the entire summer in Vancouver and worked out in North Delta alongside NHL and AHL pros. Spending the summer in Vancouver helped prepare him for a sophomore season where expectations will be raised from last year.
We asked assistant coach Gary Agnew about how staying in Vancouver all summer could benefit Klimovich.
“I think it’s critical,” said Agnew. “It’s a bit of a culture shock for him coming in last year. Parachuting in and not knowing the language and then trying to figure out how to play pro hockey it’s a growing experience, and he’s incrementally getting better. That’s what has to happen. He looks good out here. You’ve got to be able to play in the five-on-five game, which he is fully capable of, so it’ll be fun to watch him because he was probably one of the youngest players in the American League last year and with the culture shock and everything that he had to go through, I think it was a great learning experience for him, but I’m sure he was frustrated at times too with trying to figure everything out.”
Klimovich is scheduled to speak to the media on Saturday in his first media appearance since last year’s main camp.
From line combinations that were reported on Thursday, we expect to see Klimovich alongside Tristen Nielsen and the aforementioned Nils Åman.
Here’s a projection of what the rest of the lines will look like on Friday night.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 and the game will be available to watch on the Canucks’ website.
We will be in the postgame media availability and report back on the biggest stories that come from the games at this tournament.